This is the second in a series that I started and than kind of forgot about. It's about people from far off places that have visited my blog. This last month I got seven hits from Jakarta. Where is Jakarta you might ask? Well, it's the capital of Indonesia. It's located on the island of Java in the northwest corner. It's the 9th most densely populated city in the world, with over 44,000 people per square mile.
Which as you can imagine might make for some traffic problems. Jakarta started as a Hindi settlement back in the 4th century. By the 14th century it was a major port for the Hindu kingdom of Sudan. In 1513 the Portuguese became the first Europeans to establish trade relations with the city.
Jakarta is the third biggest economy in Indonesia and attracts a large number of visitors. Its population is over 23 million making it the fourth largest urban center in the world. In 1998 riots reduced the city to a burnt out shell but within the last decade it has bounced back. Still with the large amount of people living in the city there are problems with pollution and trash as well as the traffic nightmares. October thru January are the wet season where a huge amount of rain can be dumped on the city, creating terrible flooding. In February of 2007 almost 70% of the city was flooded.
Jakarta's nickname is the "Big Durian" after a fruit from the region. The city is a contrast of rich and poor, with BMWs driving by begging children on the street corner.
The ethnic Jakartan called "Orang Betawi" speaks Betawi Malay, spoken as well in the surrounding towns such as Bekasi and Tangerang. This language has two variations: the conventional Betawi Malay and the modern Jakarta Malay. While the first is spoken by the elder people, born and bred in Jakarta, the second is spoken by the younger generation and migrants.
So from what I've gathered Jakarta is not a vacation spot for the casual vacationer, but if you're willing to put up with heat, smells and traffic Jakarta can offer a bustling vibrant city for the right traveler.
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