Day 18. Thursday, March 13, Jakarta, Indonesia

The MS Amsterdam is at sea from Phuket to Colombo, Sri Lanka. This is the Crystal Symphony’s final day in Singapore.

I woke up with a pesky cough, sore throat, and headache, and cut my morning walk to 1 1/2 miles (5 laps). I think a salt water gargle has helped some, but it’s still not right. When I got out on the Promenade deck at 5:30, we were quite close to Jakarta and put lines out at the dock about 7:30. The weather is pleasantly cool, but there is a substantial fog/smog. I try to do all my posting in ways that minimize my band width, and so far the internet has been working pretty well for me.

My tour today was “Obama’s school and Jakarta Highlights”. The school was interesting; most of the rest of the tour not so much. We had about 30 people on the tour, divided between 2 40-passenger buses. Our guide was rather poor in her English skills and pretty hard to understand. By GPS the school was 8 miles from the ship but the drive (with a police escort) was just over an hour.

The school is a pretty simple looking local elementary school with 2 levels of classrooms surrounding an open courtyard and game space. President Obama was a student there for about 3 years and a statue of him now sits in front of the school. When we went in students, all wearing uniforms, were exercising in the courtyard and we went into several classrooms. A table had been set out for us with coffee, tea, and snacks. Late in our visit a game of volleyball was being played in the courtyard.

Our next stop was an antique market. It has two long rows of stalls separated by a stream with very dirty water. It was an interesting collection of stuff, ranging from carvings to victrolas, telephones, instruments, and ship control panels. Our final stop was the “old port”. With thousands of islands, much of the materials are moved around by boat. The classic Indonesian boat is a large wooden model with sails, still used today, although most of the boats appeared to be in rather rough shape. We returned to the Serenity just in time for lunch in the dining room.

The Jakarta “Cruise Terminal” was simply space in a freight port, with cranes and piles of cargo almost under our feet, but no tourist facilities within walking distance. Crystal ran a shuttle to town but it was about a 40-minute drive each way and I did not attempt to leave the ship after returning from the tour.

Published sailaway time was 6:00pm. Captain Vorland came on the PA about 5:25 and said everybody was on board and we would leave soon. Louis sang at 5:40.

Dinner ran a bit long, just giving me time to get to the Galaxy Lounge for the World Games opening ceremony at 7:45. It started with a trumpet flourish, a greeting from the Captain, and a parade of flags, covering most of the nations represented in the crew and passengers. The ceremony continued with songs, dances, and speeches, and wrapped up about 8:30

As today’s parting shot, we are embarking on a string of 6 sea days as we make our way to Mauritius. Only once before have I experienced such a long time at sea on Crystal. With the World Games starting it will be an interesting week.


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