Travelling around the UK watching our team it is very clear that even just parts of our own country can be so different from one another. Heading abroad those differences tend to become more extreme.
This is my third Asian experience and again, everywhere we have visited has been totally different. Much more than our UK and European travels however, you really do know without any doubt you are in a completely different part of the world.
It's not just the obvious things either. The hot and sticky climate is regularly laced with relatively short but heavy rainstorms. The localised flooding as a result can be incredible with roads turning briefly into rivers.
In a city where the traffic is intense, be it buses, cars, bikes or three-wheeled bajaj, everyone just gets on with it as if the rain doesn't exist!
"Jakarta is a noisy city, the sound and colour in and around the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium was quite something"
Consequently, shorts and flip flop attire had us wading in over the weekend, just to reach somewhere to get refreshment!
A sign by the lift in our hotel advises not to use the facility in an earthquake is not something we tend to read too often but is also a gentle reminder that it is not just rain that can hit this part of the world.
The Indonesian capital certainly knows how to party and being the weekend you won't be surprised to know we decided to get right involved on that front. Both Friday and Saturday nights proved extremely entertaining, with the Kemang and Blok M areas playing host to those Gooners who have made the trip from Blighty and other parts of the world.
Sunday of course was all about the first match of this season's adventure and it was to prove quite an experience.
Jakarta is a noisy city, the sound and colour in and around the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium was quite something.
Overall a thoroughly entertaining way to start the tour and the many smiles on the thousands of local Gooners as we headed away from the stadium confirmed they were happy with the entertainment.
Today has been more about relaxation before early tomorrow morning we head to another country and another city.
Thanks for your hospitality Jakarta.
We will meet again I'm sure.
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