Battling with my demons
Jakarta Travel Blog› entry 5 of 23 › view all entries
I moved to Liz's place in Pangeran Antasari yesterday taking an early morning cab from Elsa's house as I had to catch Liz before she hit off for her Pilates class. I have literally moved from one end of the Indonesian map to the other.
Traffic was light due to the Chinese New Year public holiday but what used up 20 min of the taxi meter and resulted to a frustrated driver and me was again getting lost in finding the exact address. This was resolved by a few calls to Liz, my handy dandy Bahasa dictionary, and my improving sense of direction.
My body wasn't feeling up to going out and opted to explore Chito's, the closest shopping mall to do my grocery and have brunch. As it turns out the mall Liz was so proud of is actually a bit of an upscale priced place. A 40,000 IDR lunch at Delifrance was not an everyday thing for me. But I got engrossed with seeing the items available at the local grocery and finding that they were mostly what I was using back home, cept of course the noodles, snacks, and pastries whch were in popular local flavours like Nori and Goreng.
Liz' place was more quiet, convenient and comfortable since I was left on my own but made me feel more lonely than ever. I did busy myself with reading the paper, finally enjoying a few foreign channels thanks to her cable service, using her laptop for the wonderfully free internet, sleeping out my exhaustion, and forcing myself to eat my microwaved Garlic Ayam Goreng flavored instant noodles for lunch.
She went home earlier than expected due to the public holiday and found me looking messy, still in my sleepwear and blogging a bit.
My waking solitary hours made me question the whole point of this adventure again and how serious I was in this culture change. I badly resorted to quiet time with God.
I agree to Liz' plan to explore the Kemang area instead of checking out the Dragon dance at Pondok Indah mall as both of us were not huge mall fans. This turns out to be a pleasant discovery. It also gave a bit of cardio for both of us as we walked streets that most people might find a bit dangerous.
Kemang is an expat and upper class place littered with jewels of bars, coffee shops, restos and boutiques. We have definitely found a gem of a place to go to for our evenings. Our dinner was at a huge open air food court that had good ventilation and food, ending off with drinks at a posh tiny mall/center that had a food court with a makeshift roof deck garden and an acoustic artist who sang the songs I listed very well. This helped us both shake off the blues.
Today I left home worried about Liz' laptop that wouldn't turn on and the television channels that would not cooperate since I got confused again with the 2 remote controls.
But my adventure today started with a 2 hour Bahasa crash course after negotiating it out with the teacher's newspaper advertisement. Turns out, he owns a training/travel agency that helps out teachers with their work permits and has connections with corporate institutions that needed training. Wahyu was way nicer and valuable than I thought.
Since it was a crash course I took the lead in the topics I wanted to tackle and covered quite a bit in terms of introducing myself during an interview and taking local transport.
I then navigated myself to the preschool where my friend's friends were and again the Blue bird taxi driver got a bit lost, when will this end? I got to chat with Filipinos for the first time. It took me a bit of adjusting to switch to Tagalog seriously, my brain started to stick to either English or Bahasa. Patti and Jan were really friendly, finding out how I was and giving me a bird's eye view of their life as teachers here, not to mention giving me chips, cookies and soda as we sat on kid's tiny chairs and little tables, cute!
An ojek (motor taxi) was the easiest way to the busway going to Senayan and Patti was looking on with concern as I sat sidewards with my skirt, repeatedly asking if I was okay and serious with doing this feat. This mode of transport is more preferrable to me.
I get off at Ratu Plaza mall and notice that it is right beside the English institute office I was interested to apply in, what a kwinkidink! So here I am now maximizing the free internet with my iced tea here at a mall cafe. Not sure if I'll still wait for Wahyu who is passing by this area to meet his Indian client and was helpful enough to give me instructions on what transport to take going home.
I had my first experience of the metro mini buses going home and was so excited to have successfully communicated and find my way to the right bus exit out of over 6.
Today I have decided to take 2 hours of Bahasa lessons. It was brief but helpful as I now have more phrases to use when getting directions and formally introducing myself.
Things I have discovered so far:
1. There are 2 popular Indonesian songs that have grown on me and have become a slight favorite.
2. Gong Xi Fat Cai is our version of Kung Hei Fat Choi in Manila
3. A gentleman is hard to find in public transport, you will be pushed and left standing most of the time during rush hours if you are expecting one.
4. I still find the similarity of the Filipino and Bahasa words amusing, most of the time you just have to change the vowels.
5. Everyday is an adventure and a mission.