Monas is a tower, much like a cross between the Washington Monument and the Statue of Liberty. Monas is, technically, named the National Monument. It is located in Merdeka Square in Jakarta, Indonesia and is the city’s principal landmark and the final extravagance of former President Sukarno. It stands around 400 feet high and is a tower that has a large sculpted flame at the top which is supposed to be covered with almost 80 pounds of gold leaf. I read that it took over 15 years before the full construction was finished. Notice the rain crowd in the background? I now know what tropical rain forest means.
In Indonesia they call the little alleyways off of the main streets "gangs" although I’m not sure why. This is the gang in the backpacker ghetto where poor wandering homeless people like me stayed in Jakarta. It wasn’t much, but I found it to be all I needed. One thing I will say for it is that it had a lot of character. Rooms were about $15 a night. Jakarta is not the cheapest city in Indonesia.
It was the local Chinese Buddhist Temple in Jakarta. There was a lot of smoke from the incense. I mean a lot of smoke from the incense. I mean like a totally unhealthy amount of smoke. My body went into emergency mode, telling me that Buddha wouldn’t have wanted me to die from incense inhalation overload. My eyes were watering, I couldn’t breath and I started getting a rash on my hands. I got out of there as soon as I could. But, not before I got some pictures.
It is a mosque in Jakarta that is supposed to be able to accommodate 200,000 people for Friday prayers. Who am I to try and count that high? What I can say is that it’s big. Really big. It’s also quite modern and quite impressive as a building and as a religious site. I was really lucky. They were having prayers during the time I went for a visit and I got a tour of the facility from one of the guides at the mosque.
It’s the transJakarta, a unique concept in public transportation I had never seen implemented anywhere else. Jakarta has no subway system. It has the transJakarta. The transJakarta is a bus system. The picture is of a station on the system. The stations are in the middle of the street and you get to them via an overhead walkway across the lanes of traffic. The unique thing about the transJarka is that the buses have their own lanes next to the median and no ther traffic is allowed in it, thus they aren’t hampered by other traffic, only by the traffic signals themselves. The system works really well, they just need a few more buses to make the system really, really efficient.
This was the building where the hostel was located when I first came to Jakarta. I only stayed one night. It was a bit too upscale for me. It was interesting though. The pool was the best part. The hostel was on the ground floor with this amazing view of an amazing pool area. I moved out of the dorm in this hostel the next day into a private room without a pool view in the backpacker area of Jakarta for half the price. There was, however, a substantial difference in the neighborhoods.
Jakarta, according to Lonely Planet, is "a hard city to love. One of the world’s greatest megalopolises, its grey, relentlessly urban sprawl spreads for tens of kilometers across a flood-prone plain with barely a park to break the concrete monotony." I wouldn’t have phrased it that way. I found it to be a very modern, vibrant city without a lot for the tourist to do.