Tuesday, 3 August 2010

JAKARTA, INDONESIA

Hello everyone :) Jakarta was a fun trip and my first to Indonesia.  If there is a country closest to Malaysia in terms of food and language, that will be Indonesia as we speak the common Bahasa. That still, when we spoke Bahasa Malaysia, they immediately know we were not Indonesians. After a mildly 'culture-shock' trip to Hanoi, Vietnam..Jakarta seems like a dream trip. People at the hotels are super courteous and Jakarta is really at par with cities like Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.  People on the streets speak English fairly well and I have not met anyone rude at all.

This set of pictures were taken from the plane and approaching Jakarta airport, we could see fields of paddy everywhere.

We stayed here, at the Alila Hotel, Jakarta.  Brand new with contemporary designs, and one of my favourite so far.  There are the others 5 stars like Mulia, Kempinski, Grand Hyatt etc., but Alila is value for money, very clean and  service oriented staff. 



Scrumptious for dinner!  We ate mainly here or restaurants.  I must say that due to hygienic reasons, I stayed away from street food.  I had to try their satay (2nd collage), a common and highly popular dish in both Indonesia and Malaysia.  With due respect, I'd say the Malaysian satay are still way much better as ours are always marinated with many spices overnight and flavorfull!


A popular local transport........just like the Thai tuk-tuk, but slightly covered up.



An important note for those wanting to travel to Jakarta, we were advised to sit only this taksi (Indonesia) or taxi. The Bluebird taxis which are easily available everywhere, AND only used by upmarket shopping centres and hotels.  The Bluebird taxis will take you on from one place to another on a shortest route, whereby other taxis may take much longer to reach the destination. Nothing bad will happen if you take other taxis, just you may have to pay much more due to the longer routes.


There's too many things to blog about and to sort on the pictures, but I will blog first on a few items on Jakarta. Seen here an 'ondel-ondel' procession by the Batavia people. Batavia are considered as native of Jakarta. There was a huge group of people both on busses, cars, vans and bikes accompanying this ondel-ondel to somewhere.  Due to time constraint, I missed the ondel-ondel show at the Setu Babakan cultural village. This picture was not taken by me but from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ondel-Ondel_Betawi.jpg and you can go there to read more about the ondel-ondel celebration, a crucial and very interesting celebration by the Indonesians.



These sets were by me.



Ondel-ondel @ airport. Go to http://lang-8.com/51982/journals/188431 and to http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2008/06/23/039ondelondel039-an-almost-extinct-betawi-legacy.html to read more about this unique culture and giant puppets.


A visit to the National Museum in Jakarta shown some very interesting or even scary masks.


Their version of a lion dance at the Museum display (above), and seen here a preparation for a wedding shoot. Groom (below right was a Westerner). The brides maids posing happily for me :)


Mannequin showing a wedding of Jogjakarta...



The entrance into the Museum, very Balinese inspired!


Too many things to write and photos to share. I'll do a separate post on this and this picture is for you, Tracy of Hey Harriet - the host for Shadow Shot Sunday! A puppet made of leather, or wayang kulit. Such puppet are important cultural figures in both Malaysia and Indonesia.  Over here, it is a dying art as you can hardly find any wayang kulit or puppet show unless you are in Kelantan.  Puppets are used to make shadows in the dark accompanied with gongs and lightings, telling tales of Ramayana etc.


When I arrived in Jakarta on Friday evening, the traffic was horrendous...worst than Kuala Lumpur and even Bangkok. However, roads and driving ethics - good, unlike Hanoi. I don't think I could ever get over how the Vietnamese drive, in fact, I am even surprised that I am still alive after a trishaw ride in the town in Hanoi.   Overall, the Indonesians are very friendly, city safe, driving civilized, great food and a shopping paradise for 'fake' branded goods.  Here going back home and in most streets in Jakarta, one can see many people selling things in between jams.


Traveling is still not over for me. I've got a trip to Penang for business this week and am getting weary over all these traveling.  We will blog about his (below) soon. This is a mock house of the people from South Sulawesi, Indonesia and they have a unique culture where they have a huge ceremony for their dead relatives which stretches for week and many animals will be slaughtered. However, if the family do not have the money.....the dead or corpse will stay in the house till the family has the money. At times, it could be week or years...sound very scary?  What can I say, I do love Indonesia now. The food, the people and what interest me the most is the many different culture practiced by all different tribes. For sure, this wont be my last trip there.  Happy day to all.