Greetings from Jakarta
Finally – I had a little misfortune with my external hard drive, which unexpectedly without any warning decided to give up on me. I do
love ( like is more honest ) technology as long as everything works fine, nothing breaks down and don’t give me any trouble. After screaming at my hard drive – without any change! – I humbly asked my boyfriend to help out as he have a bunch of tech savvy colleagues, who usually can fix anything from A to Z. To my horror, even for these geniuses my poor device was a far too difficult case to handle, leaving me with no other choice than hiring a real data recovery professional. A couple of days later + 1800 HKD charges for the-very-complicated-don’t-know-what-they-did services, I finally got all my data back – including all the pictures for this post. Puhhh, that was close!
So, I have already written a couple of posts from Jakarta but wanted to add a little bit more details about the city in case anyone is traveling through. Be aware – the traffic in Jakarta is absolutely hourendous – and that comes from a person who lived in Beijing. It’s basically impossible to plan anything in regards to normal time reference – a route that took one hour yesterday may take three tomorrow. In contrast to Hong Kong, where everything works on schedule and you know exactly how long it takes to go from point A to B – the lifestyle in Jakarta is very laid back and yes, slow. The – shaking on the head – I don’t know how long time – relaxed approach to life initially drow me crazy. Hallo! VERY FRUSTRATING! Isn’t there anything that can be done to speed up the process? Isn’t there a government body somewhere that is in charge of traffic process and efficiency? Turns out that being stressed about time in a place like Jakarta is not a good idea AT ALL. Turning point – My dad’s approach to killing time in the car is reading books, and then I mean A LOT OF BOOKS (he is finishing his 100-something book ) and this made me thinking I should stop trying to control the uncontrollable and follow the go-and-let-god approach instead. In conclusion – the only way to enjoy Jakarta is not to fight it. Just relax. Enjoy and Smile.
- Old Jakarta – Batavia: Jakarta was know as Batavia during the Dutch Colonial Empire (ending 1942) – and the old part of the city is today still referred to as Batavia. While many other cities in Asia has realised the value to renovate and preserve the old colonial parts of the city – Batavian buildings remains in a poor and tarnished condition. Saying that, this area is absolutely worth a visit – there is plenty of colonial architecture, museums and last but not least, the famous Cafe Batavia – which has excellent food and coffee! If you are brave you can try Indonesia’s famous “Kupi Luwak Coffee”, which happens to be the Worlds Most Expensive coffee also known as the “Poop Coffee”. Yes, you heard right; the coffee comes from the poop of a cat looking animal who eats a lot of coffee beans but for some reason do not digested them. As a result, the beans passes through the animal (no further explanation), where a natural fermentation process takes place and subsequently produces a “unique” and smooth taste of the bean. Anyone keen to try?
- Bogor Botanical Garden – Bogor is located in the outskirts of Jakarta and while it’s only about 60 km from the city centre, it can take a really long time to get there. My advice is avoiding going there in weekend – my mistake! It’s a beautiful and huge park and it will take you several hours to walk through it all. For city people deprived-on-anything-green and nature related THIS IS A MUST – you will be amazed about all the natural colours the earth is capable of producing!
- Textile & Fabric To-Do: There is a large fabric market in Jakarta called Majestic – the quality of the fabrics is not the highest but it has a wide fabric selection with anything from Chinese Synthetics to Indian Cottons. My tip would be to stay away from the imported fabrics from China – I found them to be heavily overprices all across the market. Saying that, you can get some really good deals – especially silk and domestic fabrics. I bought a bunch of tulle fabrics (for a project you will see here soon) – paying 9000 RPS / 0.71 EUR / 0.93 US PER METER (Yes, you need to bargain aggressively). If you want to sew up custom-made clothes, there are plenty of options all over Jakarta – my sister and mom tried one, which even had a little sample factory in the back – Absolutely Fantastic! Wish I could have that space myself. Last but not least, definitely pay a visit to Jakarta Textile Museum where you can take Batik classes – read all about it in my post DIY Chic Batik.
- Furniture Markets – I have to say that the best thing about Jakarta, is the furniture industry and the AMAZING handcraft. My sister, who is an artist, seriously thought about being the study of one of the artisans – that’s how damn good they are! I’m sure there are plenty of places to go to in Jakarta, but since my folks are located in Kemang, I mainly explored the area around Kemang Timur Raya (highly recommend it). In fact, despite better judgement, I ordered a super nice bamboo ladder hoping/wishing/believing I could bring it back to Hong Kong, which obviously did not work. This just to tell you that this place has so much good stuff, you will loose your mind thinking how to re-furnish you place all-over. Some details: the furniture is made-to-measure and my ladder took 3 days to finish at a cost 200,000 RPS / 160 HKD / 15.8 EUR / 20.6 USD – Again, don’t forget to bargain.