Skip directly to content

Series EN 016

on Sun, 05/24/2015 - 07:40
In the estuary of Ciliwung River
Big Ships Infront of Ciliwung River Estuary

Since centuries ago this town was an important trading point in Southeast Asia, and even became the center of world trade between Amsterdam in Europe, Capetown in South Africa, Cantonese and Nagasaki in East Asia. Of its role in the world trade, the city was never empty of the Junks coming from southern China.

Among tens of junks was a junk sailing from Fujian Province. The over loaded junk with merchandise sailed slowly, docked at the estuary of Ciliwung River, as if she was exhausted after sailing more than one month. Its sail was lowered, rolled by some sailors in middle of the ship. At its bow the ship’s captain instructed the crew preparing to throw the anchor.

The length of this big Junk is approximately one hundred meters and forty meters wide; hence it could sail through the Nanyang (South China) sea heading to the island of Java. Inside, the junk is divided into four decks consisting of spaces filled with goods. The crews also stayed in these rooms equipped with toilets.

The sailors who were on board stood on and get ready to drop the anchor. The sun was rising when this junk anchored near the mouth of the Ciliwung River. Large ships could not be docked to the port of Batavia, Sunda Kelapa that was located in the estuary of Ciliwung river, but had to drop the anchor in front of the mouth of the river and its cargo was transferred into smaller vessels heading to the port.

After lowering the anchor, the sailors on board brought down the merchandises, silk, jars, ceramics, tea and many products from Xiamen slowly down to the small boat while yelling one to another.  That merchant junk became crowded, bustling to unload the goods into the boats that alternately load the goods that had to be brought to the port of Sunda Kelapa. At the port goods will be unloaded and brought by cart to the market.

The wind was blowing breezily on the dull face, a few days the sailor did not sleep well because of big waves. The goods-laden junks did not have passengers, everyone on board were junk’s crew. Among the crew who were busy unloading, appeared a tall young man went down from the junk slowly. His clothes were shabby, wrapped his strapping body. Together with the goods he stepped into the small boat to the mainland. He was the only passenger on the ship. Sea wind was in his face that fatigue. His hair was pigtailed neatly in the back, moved following the motion of the boat sailing slowly in the middle of the Ciliwung river which divided the city into two: the Eastern and the Western parts.

The boat was full of goods. But this young man did not matter, sitting on it. The boat was crashing waves created by the sea breeze.  Batavia spread widely out with beautiful buildings that seemed to take off the restraints of the soul depressed by the Manchu in China. The wide stretch of land was transformed into a hope in the hearts of welcoming a new life.