DCU in Indonesia: There are swimmers, and then there are not

Day 2 in Jakarta has been anything but uneventful. After having our first night’s rest in a bed in three days, we woke up to a mid morning breakfast in the hotel. Shortly thereafter, we headed to the hotel pool for a regen session.

Regen session
This session consisted of everything you’d expect it to, from stretching to water jogging, but it ended with a little fun and games. The group was split into two teams for a relay race. There was some impressive, and equally unimpressive, swimming on display. Many were capable of sporting a relatively decent free stroke, while some brought more entertainment than ability to the swimming pool. We witnessed everything from sharp diagonal turns, to uncoordinated arm splashing, to pure abandonment of swimming and just running on the bottom of the pool. There are swimmers, and then there are not. D.C. United has both.

Practice session
After lunch we left for training at a local turf field. Many abandoned their cleats for running shoes and practice began. About 15 minutes into the session the floodgates opened. It rained like I’ve never seen before. I’m not talking about some Maryland/DC/Virginia rain, this was Indonesian rain. This rain is a whole different breed than anything we’ve ever seen. It was thick, fast, heavy, and unwavering. For 10 minutes we endured the onslaught before Ben finally called it a day and we started setting up for our coaching clinic. But wait, if it’s raining so hard, how can we have this coaching clinic? Great question.

The flood
So, we’re setting up cones and goals for the clinic looking around and everyone’s eyes are asking the same thing, is this for real? And yes, it is. We are having this clinic because the kids waiting under the covered patio are looking out like nothing is happening out of the ordinary. Apparently, this is a daily occurrence during the wet season in Indonesia. Apparently, every day, the force of God is unleashed through rain upon the people of Indonesia. And no way is that going to stop them from playing some soccer. They ran around like it was 70 and sunny while we all looked around for Noah’s Ark.

In the end the clinic went well, and it concluded with some pictures and autographs.

The Embassy
Our day ended at the United States embassy. Ambassador Blake and his family welcomed us in where we were greeted with handshakes and introductions. We quickly made our way to the buffet and ate some of the best food we’ve had thus far on the trip. After talking with some of the numerous guests we took pictures with owners Erick Thohir and Will Chang with the US Open cup trophy (still unsure if this was the real trophy or an imposter). ** Editors Note: I am pretty sure the Open Cup trophy is NOT in Indonesia** As the night drew on, the previous days of travel began hitting everyone once again. Eyes were beginning to glaze, and it was clear we had to head back to the hotel before someone took refuge on the couch.

3 Things I’ve learned thus far in Jakarta:

  • For any trip expected to be around a 30 minute drive, plan a minimum 5 hour cushion
  • Driving is not for the weak of heart, there are no lanes, no rules, no courtesies…Survival of the fittest
  • Goat crossings are to be expected

Here are some photos from Day 2: