Fourteen years ago, I traveled to Jakarta with my parents and brother. I have some memories of the place (which also involves “Kiss Me” looping on MTV Asia) such as going around Pondok Indah Mall, tasting my very first (and last, apparently) satay kambing and ayam goreng, and visiting Taman Safari in Bogor where I got to hold a snake and a white baby tiger. Even at a young age, I already enjoyed traveling.
But now that I am older and wiser (I hope), I became more interested in reflecting about life in different settings and context instead of just popping in and out of territories. There was never a time during my three-day visit that I was not on the look-out for something different to write about. So in celebration of my exploration, I have listed my Top 14 Moments in Jakarta and I hope y’all will enjoy this entry as much as I did writing it.
14 Transit in Singapore
Long hours of transit and early morning flights became my thing. Not that I enjoy them, I actually wonder why the universe is turning me against my own terms of travel comfort but I learned how to deal with them–I have to. I devised some coping techniques during these excruciating hours. Like get through Immigration and visit Singapore. After all, this is also my home.
13 The pungent odor of kretek–the smell of my childhood
Whenever my parents come home from Indonesia, the whole house smells like kretek. Like burnt wood but with a hint of incense or something. When you arrive in Jakarta, the smell of the airport? That’s it.
12 Losing luggage key
Seriously, on our first night. We had to navigate the whole Grand Indonesia Mall the following morning to find a new lock.
11 Hitting the hotel gym
It has been a while since I last went all out on the treadmill.
1o Parents speaking Bahasa
My parents lived in Indonesia during the first years of their marriage. My Dad was a UN Volunteer, my Mom was a fresh graduate exploring the world. I knew that they spoke Bahasa Indonesia well but listening to them having conversations with cab drivers, sales and hotel personnel, and everyone else at that, really made me proud! And regret the fact that having lived almost four years in Vientiane and I can’t even speak a decent sentence in Lao without stuttering.
9 Visiting Grand Indonesia
The mall that never ends. The mall that makes me feel woozy when I look down from the 5th floor. I am not even afraid of heights!
8 Walking in the Rain to Rotiboy
It rained pretty hard during the day but my Mom wanted me to try Rotiboy so bad. We just got out of the gym anyway–it is not like the rain is going to ruin our hair or something. But when we were finally devouring the fluffy chunk of carbs, I thought ‘Okay, the treadmill was a waste of time.’ Rotiboy is some good bread.
7 Momma vs Food at Nonya Suharti Restaurant
My parents believe this is just the place to be. Everywhere else is below it.
6 The Nice People
I could not get over the nice demeanor of Indonesians. My Dad said that they are known for their refined manners and politeness amid adverse situations. That, in itself, is inspiring.
5 Traffic Jam
City traffic is always insane. On the bright side, I get to ponder when I am in the middle of one.
4 Batik Finds
Fabrics, I am all about the fabrics–I want to customize these babies. My parents also approved of my choices so I am quite confident that the patterns are pretty.
3 Luna Negra* (Plaza Bapindo, Citibank Tower)
Did I tell you how much I love this place? Nice ambiance and good food and EFFICIENT SERVICE, what more could you ask for?
2 The Digital Natives Reunion with Dear Maesy*
The best thing of being part of ‘Project Digital Natives With A Cause?’ is being able to meet amazing people from all parts of the world. You are either intimidated or inspired with with they do, with their ideas and perspective on multitudes of topics that a whole week of conversations and discussions can never compensate. Maesy is my big sis in the group; and while she may appear to be ruthless in public speaking and intelligent undertakings, she’s a real hipster at heart HAHA (I’m kidding, Maesy). I am HONORED to have walked the streets of Jakarta with her and talked to a soulmate yet again.
1 Taking Matters Into My Own Hands
Lazy hour at the mall is all that took me to promote my website in the only way I know how. I probably would wear this every time I travel and make use of the long hours walking aimlessly in airport terminals. You’ll never know.
*Many thanks to Tito Mike Tesoro and company, and Maesy for being awesome hosts