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Photographer's Note

I received some compliments for my latest low quality photo showing a chaotic street in Calcutta. So I start a new journey today by showing you a low quality photo from a chaotic area of Jakarta.

This is just about from where I set out on a six week tour of Indonesia in 1976 (followed by another five weeks in Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore).

It was not exactly from here, but this is somewhere in central Jakarta, not far from the major railway station where I boarded a train to take me across half of Java to Yogyakarta (a city which can be spelled in various ways).

I have only posted one photo from Jakarta earlier,
https://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Asia/Indonesia/Java/Jakarta_Raya//photo921921.htm
the reason being that I found Jakarta a most disagreeable city, the strangest and ugliest major city I had seen so far (now outranked by Kinshasa and maybe one or two others). I didn't feel much need to waste my expensive Kodachrome films on taking photos there, especially not since I was expecting to see several beautiful places later on.

In my diary I described most major streets in Jakarta as looking like they had been created by bulldozers plowing their way ruthlessly through the slums and areas looking like clusters of villages or small towns. Some modern houses made me think of Potemkin villages, mainly flashy façades hiding the squalor behind them.

When I returned to Jakarta in 1999 to report from the first democratic elections, the city had been completely transformed. The central slummy areas were all gone (and pushed to the suburbs), the streets were properly paved, there were modern buildings everywhere and nothing left of the extended small town atmosphere. Parts of Jakarta had grown into a totally congested nightmare of honking cars moving at a snail's pace. One kind of chaos had been exchanged for another kind.

In 1999 I happened one day to be in the area near the railway. I found the tracks moved to bridges high above the streets. The huts once lining the railway, homes to thousands of persons, were of course all gone.

In the WS is a similar photo and one actually showing a train. All photos were scanned from expensive Kodachrome slides.

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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10796 W: 536 N: 20955] (91772)
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