Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Weekending in Jakarta
It started out something like this:
Email from Daven: Meeting in Surabaya next week. Anyone up for a weekend in Jakarta?
Two of us said yes. And just like that we were set. Kinda but not really. The meeting was canceled and therefore so was our free hotel. Just a teeny bump in the road. And all three of us were able to sneak out Friday afternoon and sneak in Monday afternoon without getting fired.
Things that I knew about Jakarta and Indonesia:
1. One of my (subcontracted) garment factories is there. Have yet to visit or meet any of the staff.
2. My dad went there once. Didn't care for it.
3. Rachel went there last CNY b/c she has family there. She didn't really care for it either but loved the food and the safari.
4. Bali's there
5. I learned a few things from the book Tales of a Female Nomad.
6. I've had Indonesian/Balinese food 3 times. All at the Dirty Duck Diner (Babek Bengal) in HK that no longer exists.
7. It's very dangerous. Especially for tourists/westerners.
8. It's the most populous Muslim country.
So I practically knew nothing about this place except the food is good and there is a good chance I'll get shot. Of course I'll go!
Fresh off the plane, we picked up one thing at the duty free.
And after a couple of hours of loafing about in our room, rockin out to the beats on Powers' computer and drinking the candy, we headed out. By then the restaurant we wanted to go to was closed so we tried some sketchy ass club called Stadium.
I don't even know how to describe this place. It was big. And totally sketch. And like, a one stop shopping experience with a cafe, snacks, kareoke, a club, live music, and massages... totally weird. In my Lonely Planet's review of this place it describes it as an institution, with lots of dark corners and more than likely sex in those dark corners. AH!
We did not last very long at all there because apparently my flip flops were not klassy enough to enter the club. The dude at the door said I should get shoes downstairs and we thought he was crazy. Esp because the boys were in sneakers and yet they still expect the chicks to be in high heels. F you Jakarta! WTF?
We ended up at some other place with a much much better vibe and yet remarkably empty.
But we were comfortable enough and bought a bottle anyway.
And when clubbing in Jakarta don't forget your whistle. Seriously. It's a big thing.
Let me back track a little. When we arrived at this club, we got into another altercation with with the doorman regarding my shoes. But this time they were a lot more helpful than the previous doordude. High heels mandatory for women (while dudes can still wear sneaks... lame!) BUT they had shoes for rent available at the club so you didn't have to walk away. Weird. I know. And I wasn't about to bust the evening for the boys just because of my footwear.
And when us dancing queens were done for the evening, we finally got around to dinner... some fabulous street meat!
BANG ROBBY! Oh wonderful street food. We had some kind of nasi goreng and a tasty omelet which we drenched with amazing indonesian chili sauce. Sooo dericious! To complete the experience, we could hear prayer being announced off in the distance.
At the end of all this, we just wanted to pass out. We taxi'd it back to the hotel and found a gate had been closed blocking the driveway, wrapped in barbed wire. It was serious! I'm familiar with high security at hotels and automatic weaponry at the doors so we didn't think it was a big deal. We somehow made it around the barbed wire, strolled past the sleeping security guards with big guns, and walked right into some kind of parking garage that was under construction with people sleeping on top of piles of materials!
We walked around for a good while and realized we were not in the right place. I really wish I had gotten some pics and video when we were there but we were so confused and just wanted to go home.
The following day we had time to reflect on what a weird situation that was. And with all that high security, why did no one stop three gweilos from wandering around the construction site?