Had a quick turnaround from my fun weekend in Busan back to work travel – subway to Busan train station, train to Seoul, subway to apt, bus to airport, redeye (in econ) to Singapore, a couple of quick meetings then evening flight to Jakarta. Except for a middle seat which I got changed at the very last minute, everything worked pretty smoothly and frankly easier than trying to fly domestically with connections in the U.S. during the winter – even got my 15,000 steps in killing time in airport. Public transportation is just easier in the modern Asia countries than U.S.
Little time in Singapore and with the smog from the forest fires and my Singapore friends travelling out of town, I wasn’t too sad.
Flying from Singapore to Jakarta is about 1.5 hours, but never really got out of the smoke. Most time in Jakarta in meetings or traffic – some areas very modern while others are similar to slums of Mumbai. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world but a much more open society than the Middle East.
Did get out for about 3 hours and had a bad experience with a guy trying to hustle me relentlessly and dragging me through a maze to a terrible spot where only “his friend” could give me a boat ride back out – it didn’t help that I was dressed like a Gap advertisement (my standard travel attire of torn shorts, t-shirt, and old running shoes attracts much less attention). I taught him a new English phrase and figured my way out on my own and within 15 minutes ended up in a square with a bunch of very friendly people which reminded me that most are genuinely nice and why I like to travel to new places. It must have been middle school field trip day, I was interviewed by 5 different groups for a English class project.
Standard interview – everyone had the same first 5 or 6 questions (why are you here/where from/how long/etc). Then they had their own questions; the girls asked about which Indonesian food I liked, what do I like about Indonesia, are the people nice. Boys were asking about favorite sport/car/hobby/super model. Things are the same everywhere in someways.
Hopefully, next trip to Indonesia for me is to a smaller island, like Bali.
On the Korea front, much sadness with the losses by Texas Rangers and LA Dodgers –people were up in the middle of the night watching games as each team has a Korean player.