For the 9th time I am boarding the plane to Jakarta Indonesia. A13 hours and 3 films later, I step out of the plane a little excited… What makes me feel so at home in this country? Every time I set my foot on this part of the earth, I feel ity as a nice, warm blanket and love the smells in my nose, I feel so connected!

Jakarta, not my final goal, is a world city. I feel a hate/love relationship with it. Twenty-five years ago I lived here with my family and worked as a television producer. I hate it because it’s too busy. You can hardly drive a car normally anymore. So if possible, I grab the Ojek (scooter taxi) but also that is no fun at all, because there is usually a lot of smog in this (now!) Capital of Indonesia. At the same time, I can really enjoy all the “chaos” around me. I cannot find another word to explain. Everyone is busy doing something; sleeping, selling, talking, sweeping, working in all kind of things…too many to mention. And …Jakarta is also a very interesting cultural city with many influences from the Batavian period; various museums, beautiful historic buildings and interesting sights such as the National Monument and Taman Mini (a kind of “Madurodam” of Indonesia).

I continue my journey to the hotel by taxi (Bluebird!) I chose this hotel because I want to sleep near the “Gambir” train station. Tomorrow I will go by train to Semarang. This route takes six hours and I enjoy every moment. The landscape of Java is unfolding before my eyes … One time I rush right past the kampungs (small villages more lika a community) where everyone is busy with everything and nothin. The next moment through rice fields so green that I feel like biting into it… and the last part close to the sea! That is so cool to travel by train along the sea, a very special experience. The train is also very modern; air conditioning, nice seats that you can turn in the direction you want and there is a regular trolley with food and drinks. The train runs incredibly on schedule here in Indonesia! And… you buy a seat in advance (use the very customer-friendly apps of traveloka or!), So you know for sure that you always can be seated.

Arriving in Semarang, also a very fascinating city with a lot of Dutch influences, I first walk through “Kota Lama”, or the old city. I use my dinner at the delicious Bistro “Spiegel” where there is also life music and I can even score a glass of wine! The most exciting building of the Dutch East Indies Railways “Lawang Sewu” (house with a thousand doors) will be credited for next time. The story tells that the place is haunted! 😊 The Spirit House.

I sleep one more night over here in a nice hotel. The next day I catch the plane that takes me to Karimunjawa within half an hour.

If I land, I will be outside within 5 minutes. It is so small and therefore so well-arranged that I don’t have to wait for my luggage. It is already there. Once outside, the first hands are shaken and immediately afterwards the right hand is placed on the heart. I think that’s so beautiful in Indonesia! There are probably more countries where this is being done, but it always touches me. I am already so used to it that I do it (automatically) in the Netherlands too!

My loyal scooter is ready. One of “my boys” is already waiting for me and I get a bright smile when he sees me. Together we drive to Alam Kita, I drive, he on the back with my backpack. We already catch up while driving. Half an hour later I see the (new) welcome artwork of Alam Kita. A beautiful wooden gate with the hand-crafted words “Selemat datang di Alam Kita” or “welcome to Alam Kita.

I am home again!

Sun Salutation,

Margo Niestadt

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