Tag Archives: Jakarta

Indonesia’s Top Model

Top ModelJakarta has no shortage of “super mega” shopping malls. They are like small cities and attract shoppers from all over Asia. Places like Mangga Dua are like Costco on steroids.

Everything for sale in this massive complex is sold in bulk at wholesale prices and even importers from other shopping havens like Bangkok come here to take advantage of the deals.

Another mega mall is Blok M.

I visited Blok M to take in this vast gathering place where throngs of people not only shop but eat, socialize, listen to music, play music, and gather to pass away free time.

I took a seat at one of the many food stalls street side. Ordered a plate of nasi goreng with a raspberry fanta and soaked up the ever-building chaos around me. Continue reading Indonesia’s Top Model

Santa Maria in Tjideng

White RoseTjideng was a prison camp for European women and children who lived in what was then the Dutch East Indies. I visited for the first time in 2005 and even though I have no experiences to call my own, in regard to camp life, the emotion that was generated during my time there was powerful.

I have discussed life at Tjideng with my mother and aunts, who were interned in 1942, and have read several accounts from others. I feel I have some knowledge of Tjideng, and what went on there, however coming to grips with the reality of the ground upon which I walked was difficult.  I assumed that the charge of emotion I felt last time would not be repeated during this second visit.

I was wrong.

Continue reading Santa Maria in Tjideng

An Urban Oasis

Oasis JakartaWith a population of 17 million, traffic problems to rival the most populated of cities, and all the logistical issues of any large metropolitan area, Jakarta still appears to be taking a real interest in its heritage.

I was blown away by this. Jakarta has plenty to be concerned with.

Kali Besar and several of the historic buildings that line the canal are in the midst of restoration. These buildings are not only some of Batavia’s founding structures but they are ornate; architecturally stunning.

If you want to see Amsterdam in the tropics then Kali Besar will take you there.

The Maritime Museum and original Batavia fort are also being restored and set for an end of year completion. Tanjung Priok and Kota stations have been revamped.  The whole area is being developed with the tourist in mind. Not a tacky tourist trap but a place where walking is the mode of transport and being side-swiped Continue reading An Urban Oasis

Squashed in a Van with Rappers

JakartaJakarta is a mega-city; one of the largest in the world and sits on the most populated piece of land on earth.  On Java there are around 136 million people, give or take a few.  Even though it’s only one island among thousands it is the center of economic, political, and social influence for Indonesia.  With all those people on one island there is no wonder it can be frustrating to everyone. I was going to say westerners but Indonesians find the problems just as tiring.

Jakarta can be a transportation nightmare and here’s one account.

Jet-lag caused me to wake at 4am.  I went through the rest of the day without stopping. Visiting hotels, restaurants, cemeteries, ports, churches, canals, and basically anything of historic relevance on the northern side of town.

Whatever was on the periphery took me hours, literally.  To get 3 miles in this city can easily take two hours.  Bikes, bemos, becaks, and every other form of transportation clog the streets from dawn till dawn the next day. Continue reading Squashed in a Van with Rappers

Jakarta – A Surprise from the Big Durian

JakartaWhenever you arrive in the tropics the initial reaction is always the same. You step off the plane into the arms of the local weather and frantically try your best to adjust…your clothing, your pace, your attitude.  

The feeling of being wrapped in a warm blanket during the height of summer is not easy for anyone and takes more than a set of Jetway steps to get used to. 

For me it’s about 7 days before I calm down completely and sink into vacation mode. Shedding all residual sub-conscious  ties to work and melting into a relaxing state; free of those exaggerated concerns associated with daily life.

On my arrival, Jakarta  was sitting on a balmy 93 degrees along with what felt like 100% humidity…she was warm to say the least!  

She was ready to burst! 

My plan was a simple one. Eat, sleep, and then sleep some more. The first two I accomplished without a  problem. Continue reading Jakarta – A Surprise from the Big Durian