the Jakarta adventure begins

Jakarta Travel Blog

 › entry 11 of 11 › view all entries
My first day in Jakarta begin with me going with my friend to see the area where she worked. I ate authentic Indonesian food for the first time and I got to see a glimpse of the city. Before going to Jakarta i did not know what to expect. I was surprised to see very very poor areas in the city as well as some really nice malls that rival some of the best ones here in the U.S. The next few days i spent with my friend and her cousin exploring more of the city. We went to Mangga Dua which is basically a mall filled with vendors that sell items for less than a dollar. Everyone there is trying to make a deal and they are not afraid to bargain with you. From what i was told these vendors sell to tourists at a higher price than they do to locals. Even at the prices they were advertising i thought it was very cheap compared to prices here in the U.S. The quality of the items was definitely not the same as you would expect in a developed country but it was still nice to see things for so cheap. After finding a couple of souvenirs for my co-workers we had some soto betawi for lunch which i thought was really great food. The price was about 4 dollars for two people including drinks, you can't beat that!

After lunch we moved over to the "tech" mall. There you can find all kinds of electronic gadgets, some of them are also very affordable. You can find pretty much any major brand name of consumer electronics as well as off brand items. Being a techie guy i thought i was in hardware heaven, everything i wanted was in one building. Another thing that i saw that was very surprising was that people were selling pirated CDs/DVDs out in the open. They had the latest movies and anime for $0.50 cents a pop. The only thing that kept me from going crazy and buying every item was that i know thats illegal and i would get busted bringing those items back to the U.S.

Our next destination later that day was a phone expo where they show the latest and greatest phones Indonesian telephone companies have to offer. There were some cool phones there but nothing that really took my breath away. All of the companies showing the phones had several attractive girls in stylish outfits showing the phones to customers. After about 30 minutes we walked around to the rest of the expo where i saw about a million different phones. I saw every make and model of phone there. It seems like people go through lots of phones compared to people from the U.S. Several people could be seen with at least 3 phones in their possession so maybe thats why there was a high volume of used phones for sale. The one brand that i did not see there was Blackberry or Iphones but there were plenty of knock offs available. After getting tired of seeing more phones than you could ever imagine we decided to leave and go get some food. On our way to the restaurant we stopped at an intersection with a light (it seemed like this one was the only one that people obeyed in the entire city). While we were stopped waiting for our chance to turn on the road we were approached by several women (at least they seemed like women at first glance) but after talking to my friend i found out they were transvestites. By the way if you are from the U.S. i would not recommend that you drive in Indonesia. No one follows traffic rules and people drive very reckless. I thought i was going do die every time i got in a car or every time i was near the road/street.

For the next couple of days in Jakarta i got to go sightseeing the few decent tourists places there are in Jakarta. I went to some very nice sushi restaurants and one of the fanciest gyms i've seen. This gym is located at the top of a huge fancy mall and has tv's all over the place. It looks like a gym you see on one of those movies that tries to be really hip. It appears people go there more to be seen that to actually work out but nonetheless it is a very nice gym. I also went twice to get full body massages that were 1.5 hours long for only $7 each one. I was shocked to hear that they only charge that much money.

The day before going to Bali my friends brother took me to a 'karaoke' bar. It was a very different karaoke bar than what i'm used to. When you walked into the bar it looked like a typical hole in the corner, once you went upstairs you were greeted by a long line of attractive girls. They must have all been in their early twenties. The idea is that if you want any of them to keep you company you pick the ones that you want and they keep you company for the rest of the night. I was asked to pick one and after a lot of debating and with some hesitation i settled for one girl. She did not speak very much English so it was a bit difficult to talk to her. I basically had to talk to her in one word sentences to try to understand what was going on. Since all the karaoke songs were either in Indonesian or Chinese i did not participate in the singing. After the crowd got tired of singing we headed to a Chinese restaurant for more great food.

Finally, it was time to get ready for my trip to Bali...
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45,200 km (28,086 miles) traveled
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photo by: cicie