Fado and Keroncong

There was a beautiful aha-moment when I first realized some vague trace of my country in Lisbon, Portugal. Well, actually it’s the other way around. It’s how the Portuguese left their trace in my country hundreds of years ago.

It’s when I noticed some words similarity such us igreja (gereja in Indonesian), which means church. Also when I first heard its most famous music: Fado.

"Fado car" in the heart of Lisbon, playing Fado music all day long.

“Fado car” in the heart of Lisbon, playing Fado music all day long.

It was an instant “crush”. I’m loving its sound, its soul, and later I figured out that in fact, Fado influenced the original Indonesian music genre: Keroncong, especially in its melancholic spirit through traditional acoustic instruments. Keroncong itself began in Indonesia in 16th century when the Portuguese came in the country. It evolved to the modern Keroncong when ukulele (from Hawaii) was invented and became its main instrument.

What also excites me is knowing the most famous Fado singer Amália Rodrigues, who shares my first name :).

Krontjong Toegoe is the well-known keroncong community in Jakarta which lasts for generations. I found their practice session performing the classic keroncong song “Juwita Malam” on youtube. For your entertainment :).

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Second Sunday in May

ErinsPainting-5-8-10Happy Mother’s Day to most mothers all over the globe! Around 80 countries in the world is celebrating the day today. The day to honour mothers, to celebrate motherhood and the role of mothers in society. And since everyone is related to at least one mother for their whole life, then anyone could participate.

The pioneer of Mother’s Day celebration was coming from the United States where originally was a Christian mother church celebration on a Sunday. Throughout the years many countries adopted it with various background.

Socialist countries usually celebrate Women’s Day instead of the Mother’s Day.

The majority of countries celebrate the day in Spring (March to May), vary from end of March to end of May, where the mostly are in the second Sunday of May. Today! Indonesia, among around 165 countries celebrating Mother’s Day/Women’s Day, has the day officially marked in 1953 at 22 December (this is the latest mother’s day celebration of the year).

Have a great day to all mothers! Enjoy your easy (and lazy) Sunday! 🙂

For more reading, don’t click here, but click here instead :D.

No Reservation: Bromo – Jogja – Dieng

Just recently I did my very first real backpacking trip. I said “real” because although I have traveled a lot with my backpack, it was the first time I did one such trip with no reservation. It was started with an invitation from a good friend and since I’m still in the mood of ‘saying-yes-to-everything’, I said yes and we left the next day. The experience really is worthwhile to share in my blog.

So here we go: a little story of an unexpected journey plus some tips for you.

DAY 1: 24 December 2012

It’s the three of us: Tommy, Ben, and me. Sophie – a friend of Tommy would join somewhere in the middle of the journey. We planned to have a volcanic trip by visiting Dieng Plateau, Mount Merapi, and Mount Bromo. That’s as much as we plan. We went hunting for the bus ticket to Wonosobo, Central Java. Failed! Since it was holiday season, tickets are sold out. Around 4PM we were offered three seats on the last bus leaving from Tangerang. We only had around thirty minutes to catch it and yes, we lost the chance. Around 6PM we ended up in McDonald in Plaza Festival, Kuningan, planning to go via Bandung instead. We booked the seats and settled for a trip at 7PM by a Jakarta-Bandung shuttle car.

Out of curiosity, I casually called the train station asking for tickets to Surabaya. Surprisingly, there were four tickets left. The train would leave at 7.30PM. We discussed shortly and decided to go for it. So we had less than an hour to reach the station. And like those scenes in The Amazing Race show, we hailed a cab and threw ourselves and the backpacks in. We arrived just in time.

We took Sembrani train going to Surabaya at IDR 495,000. Yes, the plan had changed :). We basically change the order: Mount Bromo – Mount Merapi – Dieng Plateau.

Tips: you can have a quite good nasi goreng with fried egg and chicken for IDR 25,000. You can either eat on your seat or in the dining wagon.


DAY 2: 25 December 2012

Surabaya to Probolinggo

We arrived in Surabaya in the morning before 7. Since Ben didn’t have proper shoes, we waited for the closest mall to open and let him get a pair (he eventually got 2 pairs instead). We took an illegal taxi from the Pasar Turi Station to Embong Malang Street for IDR 40,000 – definitely ripped off as a normal taxi will cost around IDR 25,000. I feel bad because as an ex-Surabaya student I should know better. In my defense… well, it was like… ten years ago. Price has gone up. Hehe…

Submarine Museum (Monkasel = Monumen Kapal Selam)

Submarine Museum (Monkasel)

To kill time in the second largest city in Indonesia, we visited the submarine museum or known as Monkasel (Monumen Kapal Selam) which fortunately opens early at 8AM. It is a Russian submarine operational in the 50s and called: KRI Pasopati. It was really a nice experience to finally explore the inside of the submarine (I studied in Surabaya for four years yet didn’t even make the effort to go there back then). The ticket is IDR 5,000 including watching a documentary video in a simple theater.

We continued the journey to the House of Sampoerna by taxi at IDR 22,000 from Tunjungan Plaza (http://houseofsampoerna.museum/e_home.htm). This is a museum of the biggest cigarette manufacturer in Indonesia as well as its first major production facility. There is no entrance fee and if you visit it during weekdays (and no holiday) you can see how the production going. We weren’t lucky since we went there on Christmas day :).

From there we took a taxi to the bus station Bungurasih at IDR 60,000.

We then took the bus to Probolinggo, one of the entrances to Mount Bromo. The bus cost IDR 13,000 (economy bus with AC) and the trip took around two hours. From Terminal Bayuangga, Probolinggo, we continued the trip to Cemoro Lawang, the last village closest to Mount Bromo (approx. 2,300m altitude). The only public transport available is a big car – they call it Elf – that costs IDR 25,000 per person. You might share with up to fifteen people in the car. It takes around 1.5 hours to arrive in the village.

Bromo

We stayed in a homestay at IDR 250,000 per night. The house has six bedrooms, two living rooms, and two bathrooms with hot water. When I said hot water, it was literally HOT water! 🙂 This house we’re staying in has a balcony that gave us a picturesque view of hills – quite “Alpinec.” From there, we can walk less than 50 meters to see Bromo et al lying down very closely and beautifully.

DAY 3: 26 December 2012

Bromo

The view of Mount Bromo from Pananjakan

We took the Jeep tour sharing with three other people at IDR 117,000 per person (or IDR 700,000 per jeep). The quite high price is due to high season and that we took the complete tour of: Pananjakan (the view point for sunrise), the Sand Sea (Lautan Pasir), the savanna, and the crater of Mount Bromo itself.

Tips: from Cemoro Lawang village, you can also walk up from the village to the view point for about two hours. You can walk down to the Sea Sand for about 45 minutes.

If you are too tired to climb up Bromo to reach the crater, or if you just simply want to experience a horse ride, there are horses to rent. Early in the morning it might cost you IDR 100,000. But if you wait until a bit late around 8 or 9AM, you can have one way ride to the stairway only for IDR 20,000. Better wait, eh?

Tips: to avoid the crowd, better to improvise your route. Usually people will do Pananjakan – Bromo – Sea Sand – Savanna. We did the other way around: Pananjakan – Savanna – Sea Sand – Bromo. This way, the stairway up won’t be too packed with people. The downside is: it’s quite sunny.

We left Bromo around 3PM using the same mode of transportation. The Elf took us to Probolinggo, and then a bus brought us back to Surabaya. This time we took a direct bus (PATAS) that cost us IDR 23,000. We continued the journey to Jogja. We took Bus Eka just before 10PM for IDR 68,000 including one meal after midnight. We arrived in Jogja at 5AM the next day.


DAY 4: 27 December 2012

Jogja

We were so happy to find this comfy guest house with a 3m-deep swimming pool. It’s called Metro in Prawirotaman area. It cost IDR 350,000 per night with IDR 75,000 for extra bed – not cheap but it’s quite good deal since we arrive very early in the morning and they didn’t charge us extra. The cheapest room they have is at IDR 150,000 (with standard fan). Metro has a nice breakfast of nasi goreng or toast with fried egg.

Once we lay on bed, we realized how tired we were and we surprisingly slept for six hours straight. We then took a swim and had a walk in town. Visiting the south square (Alun-Alun Kidul) where we tried to break the myth of two Bayan Trees in the center of the square. We had a nice lesehan dinner in Malioboro and spent some time just chilling and talking about random stuff.

DAY 5: 28 December 2012

Park in Kaliurang

The random park we visited in Kaliurang

Early in the morning, Sophie joined the group and that made us even.

The plan for a bit of hiking or trekking to Mount Merapi was dropped due to the weather. We then decided to go to Kaliurang instead. We rented a bike at IDR 68,000 for 24 hours and luckily we had another bike borrowed from a friend in Jogja.

The ride to Kaliurang was very pleasant and refreshing. We randomly stopped at a park there with Goa Jepang (Japanese Caves) in it. Climbed for around 900m to reach the caves – we found only 11 out of 24 caves. It was raining and we were the only visitors reach the caves that day. Fun! But oh, the rain stopped us from exploring other spots in Kaliurang. Most of the time, we were just being lazy and do relaxing activities like walking and swimming. We then spent the second night shopping at Mirota Batik and of course Malioboro Street.

Tips: close to our guest house – in the main road – there are many bars and cafes you can chill out. Some have live music too!


DAY 6: 29 December 2012

Sunrise at Dieng

Viewing sunrise in Dieng Plateau

Day 6 was full of road trip. We took a taxi from Prawirotaman to Terminal Giwangan to get the bus to Magelang. We paid IDR 8,000 for two hours trip. From Magelang we continued with a minibus to Wonosobo. It cost IDR 13,000 at took us around 1.5 hours. The journey did not end yet. We still need to ride a microbus from Wonosobo to Dieng. It cost us another IDR 8,000 for an hour trip.

We stayed in Bu Jono Guest House for IDR 200,000 a night. We also rented a scooter for IDR 70,000. (again, high season price). The guy told us it usually is cheaper. Well well… traveling on year-end is not the best option in economy point of view :).

We had Mi Ongklok for our dinner. This is the famous Dieng noodle that cost only IDR 7,000 per portion. It’s usually served together with beef satay (which we didn’t take!).


DAY 7: 30 December 2012

Dieng map

The map of tourism spots you can visit in Dieng Plateau

We went up to Sembungan Village (the highest village in Java, 2,300 msl) to view the sunrise. It was simply beautiful! Close to the view-point, there is Cebong Lake surrounded by greenish hill. In Dieng Plateau we visited some craters and lakes. There are actually many spots you can go to and have some relaxing time (see the map). To every direction you look, you will see fabulously green scenery. Dieng is famous with its potato production. Grab a box of it for breakfast for only IDR 5,000 (can be combined with fried mushroom too) and showered with BBQ or cheese powder. Yummy!

You can also see the lake more closely by paying IDR 5,000. All entrance fees to the sites are cheap around IDR 5,000 to IDR 10,000 per person. Other than that we need to pay the parking lot for IDR 2,000 per parking.

Tips: if you want to view Telaga Warna and Telaga Pengilon (Warna and Pengilon Lake) in a different angle, you can go via Dieng Plateau Theater. From there you will find a trail that leads you to a big rock on the hill. If the weather is perfect, the lake will look amazing.

The amazing motorbike ride in Dieng ended that afternoon. We took the microbus to Wonosobo and take a direct night bus to Jakarta. We chose the executive bus (Pahala Kencana) that cost us IDR 130,000 per person leaving at 5PM. The bus provides us with small pillow, blanket, meal, and toilet with 2 – 2 seater. The normal bus (AC but with 3 – 2 seater) will cost only IDR 70,000.

We safely arrived in Lebak Bulus, Jakarta at 5AM on 31 December 2012.

Overall, I spent around IDR 1,500,000 for this entire 6 days 7 nights trip. It actually may vary depending on how and with how many people you travel. The more people should be the cheaper (and merrier!).

And now I come to the closing remarks of this post. I am glad I made the decision to say yes to this-seemingly-not-feasible-plan. It was audacious, since I like things to be well-organized. Other than the beautiful mountains and hills that entertained my eyes and lungs, I did learn lots of things from my travel companions.

Indonesia: the paradise for expats

I intentionally write the title and sub-titles in English to attract the flies 🙂 lalu menuliskannya dalam bahasa Indonesia supaya bisa rasan-rasan dengan leluasa (huahahaha…).

Cerita ini bermula dari rasa mulas ketika tahu perusahaan tempat saya mengais ilmu dan uang akan mempekerjakan seorang konsultan berkebangsaan asing dengan upah per hari sama dengan (bahkan sedikit lebih tinggi dari) upah saya membanting tulang (dan gelas-gelas) dalam sebulan. Saya ketawa ngikik saat membantu menulis terms of reference si konsultan sambil misuh-misuh dalam hati lalu menangis bombay di kamar malam-malam mengutuki nasib.

Dengan rasa gundah dalam dada, saya langsung berselancar di dunia maya, mencari, mengais, mengorek, mengumpulkan, dan menyelidiki segala macam informasi mengenai bayaran para expat yang konon sangat pintar dan sangat berpengalaman itu. Saya menemukan beberapa referensi. Namun sebagai pelengkap tulisan ini, saya memilih menyertakan lampiran Keputusan Direktur Jenderal Pajak yang terbit sepuluh tahun lalu: KEP-173_2002 Standar Gaji Expat.

The astronomical figures…

Dalam peraturan yang keluar tahun 2002 tersebut, dilampirkanlah standar gaji expat berdasarkan bidang usaha, level, serta asal negara. Tampak bahwa orang USA ($3000 – 18000), UK ($5000 – $17000), Jerman ($4000 – 16000), dan Belanda ($5000 – $18000) adalah empat kewarganegaraan expat dengan standar paling tinggi dibandingkan lainnya, disusul Jepang, Australia, dan negara Eropa lainnya. Yang menarik lagi, tetangga dari India dan Filipina ternyata standar gajinya lebih tinggi daripada gaji kita-kita sang pribumi.

Silakan klik dan intip file itu sendiri yaa… sebab saya masih terlalu mulas untuk merangkumnya di sini :). Beranjak dari angka-angka yang fantastis itu, ada hal-hal lain yang kali ini bikin perut melilit. Para expat yang terhormat (karena tidak berdarah Indonesia) itu dianugerahi banyak fasilitas dan privilege yang oh-bikin-saya-ketawa panjang-tapi-ngenes. Sebut saja tunjangan tempat tinggal, tunjangan kesehatan, tunjangan sekolah anak-anaknya di sekolah internasional yang notabene mahal, jatah cuti yang lebih banyak dari para pribumi, plus tiket pulang kampung minimal setahun sekali.

The newly rich man alias orang kaya baru…

Tidak jarang para pendatang asing itu menjelma menjadi orang kaya baru begitu datang ke Indonesia. Dengan gaji tinggi plus biaya hidup yang banyak ditunjang, mereka menikmati hidup di sini yang biayanya lebih murah dibanding kebanyakan negara tempat asal mereka. Makan murah, transportasi murah, dan tentu saja rokok murah.

Berbagai keunggulan ekonomi itu masih dikomplemen dengan perlakuan sosial yang manis — berupa kemudahan dan keramahan yang diobral bagi orang asing terutama yang bule. Dengan masih mulas saya mesti mengelus dada menyaksikan bagaimana perempuan-perempuan Jakarta mengejar para bule ini kesana kemari. Padahal kadang si bulenya itu gendut, tua, botak pula hehehe… (ini ceritanya menertawakan diri sendiri). Lebih ancur lagi… kadang si bule udah ada yang punya.

Sudah bukan rahasia lagi kalau perempuan Jakarta “ditakuti” para istri expat karena sering membuat suami mereka tergoda. Ya gimana nggak tergiur… lha wong perempuan-perempuan itu udah cantik, seksi, eksotis, berpendidikan, “ramah” pula (bisa diraba dan dijamah, hahaha… uhuk uhuk!). Kata orang-orang tua sih nggak ada kucing yang menolak dikasih ikan ;-).

Eh tapi ada sedikit pengecualian untuk orang India dan Afrika. Saya mesti berempati dengan dua ras tersebut karena saya menyaksikan tidak mudah bagi mereka mencari rezeki di Indonesia (dalam hal ini sample saya hanya Jakarta). Sebab keduanya mendapat perlakuan berbeda dibanding bule-bule expat. Selain gaji yang lebih rendah, mereka ternyata mesti bersabar karena sopir taksi yang sering menomortigakan mereka. Sopir-sopir seringkali menolak mengantar orang India dan Afrika dengan alasan: mereka pelit dan nggak pernah ngasih tip. Hehehe… nasib ya nasib…

In their defense…

Kalau kamu sudah mengintip daftar standar gaji itu, akan terlihat bahwa mereka yang bekerja bagi Pemerintah dengan dana bantuan luar negeri adalah penghuni tertinggi paradise Indonesia. Kisarannya adalah $13000 hingga $38000 per bulan. Bagi mereka, uang yang cukup buat bayar DP rumah bagus di Jakarta itu dianggap layak sebab toh itu uang mereka sendiri (bukan uangnya pembayar pajak Indonesia). Jadi suka-suka mereka dong kalau gajinya gede (sial! betul juga ya!).

Saya juga pernah nge-date dengan seorang perekrut asal USA. Saya menyampaikan unek-unek soal ketidakadilan yang saya rasakan sebagai pribumi. Eh, dia malah bilang kalau para tenaga asing itu sudah sepantasnya digaji gede sebab mereka memang qualified dan expertise-nya tidak dimiliki pribumi. Plus mereka tinggal jauh dari kampung halaman. Berbagai tunjangan yang mereka terima adalah pelipur lara kehidupan yang nyaman di negeri asal mereka. Saya manggut-manggut saja (karena nggak ada gunanya membantah), biarpun di setiap anggukan saya menjerit “bullshit” dalam hati.

Penjajahan itu belum usai…

Wah, saya jadi ngelantur yaa… yuk mari kembali ke jalan yang benar. Tujuan saya menulis cuap-cuap ini adalah untuk membuka mata kita wahai orang Indonesia untuk nggak menyerah dan nggak berhenti mengembangkan diri. Kita mungkin sudah dikutuk menjadi orang Indonesia yang posisi tawarnya sangat rendah di dunia internasional. Penjajahan belum juga usai. Kita yang berjumlah lebih dari 200 juta jiwa ini masih harus bertarung dengan manusia-manusia unggulan dari mancanegara di kandang kita sendiri.

Tapi hidup harus terus berjalan. Queen bilang: show must go on. Ada banyak hal berada di luar kendali kita, salah satunya ya soal gaji expat yang seakan berada di dimensi lain upah pribumi. Kita nggak bisa marah pada siapa-siapa dan memang tidak perlu marah pada siapa-siapa. Kita juga jangan lantas mengusir mereka dari bumi Indonesia lho… apalagi pakai bambu runcing… soalnya ini bukan zaman perebutan  kemerdekaan kayak dulu.

Let’s see it this way: they are just human looking for a good life. It’s just happened that the good life is in your beloved Indonesia. What about us? the natives? Well, we continue our fight, our pursuit of a good life. Even if have to run side by side with those expensive experts.

Cacao or Cocoa?

Fruit of cacao

Image by Petr Kosina via Flickr

 

What is the difference between cacao and cocoa?

At first, I really thought I was making a spelling mistake when I wrote down “cacao” on a picture I made during my trip to Sulawesi. A friend nudged me and gave me the idea that hey, there are actually two different words for this-thing-related-to-chocolate. So (as usual) I made a google research to enlighten me.

It’s truly amazing how the Internet can help you out in every single question come in your mind, isn’t it?

I found many literatures explaining what cacao and cocoa are. I will attach only two of them and hopefully it answers your curiosity as it had done for mine.

http://www.allchocolate.com/understanding/cacao-vs-cocoa/

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cacao

In short, cacao refers to the tree and the beans. While cocoa is more about the products of the beans, such as cocoa powder and cocoa butter. They are both correct words in English and they can be used interchangeably. From the link I attach above, you will find how the original word “cacao” has been replaced through error to “cocoa.” More interestingly, although Indonesia is one of the biggest cacao producers in the world, I just knew how it looks like in reality a couple of weeks ago :-). What a shameful Indonesian I am!

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2011/09/09/indonesia-track-be-asia%E2%80%99s-largest-cacao-based-producer.html

😉

Random Statistics #1

40% of male tourists visit the Philippines for sex.

Some spontaneous questions in mind were:

  1. Are Philippines girls that attractive?
  2. Are Philippines girls that cheap?
  3. Are Philippines girls that attractively cheap?
  4. Is it limited only to the girls?
  5. Is it a worthy strategy for tourism?

But then I browse the Internet to look for some evidence, or at least to know whose statistics it is. It turned out to be the US ambassador for the Philippines’ statement which does not have sufficient back up to support. He then had expressed his remorse and apology for making such strong statement.

Read the news here

Nonetheless, I am pretty sure that male tourists come to Indonesia mostly for its pretty beaches (beach walking, snorkeling, sun-bathing), its rich seas (diving, surfing), its delicious food (hot spicy sauces and fresh seafood), its tremendous volcanoes (we are in the ring of fire, aren’t we?), and its exotic culture (the dancing, rituals, crafts). It is definitely not for sex (or at least not at 40% rate, hehehe…)

Jakarta: The Metropolitan City of Indonesia

I was a bit surprised when a friend asked me: “Do you think you can live in Bangkok? It is such a big city and dangerous for a girl to be alone, isn’t it?” My jaw dropped and at that very moment I promised myself to post something about my beloved capital city of Indonesia :-).

Here it is.

Bundaran HI. My office is 10-minutes walking from there 🙂

First of all, Jakarta is the second biggest city in Asia (according to Wikipedia). There are many statistics showing Jakarta position among others cities. These statistics use several parameters such as area, population, density, and officials. Mostly, population is the main parameter to award a city as metropolitan. But, in order to exaggerate this posting, of course I pick the best statistics for Jakarta :). Nevertheless, Bangkok position is always below Jakarta.

I realize that international society sees Indonesia as a third world country; therefore, development is fairly poor. Well, it is not. The city of Jakarta is so bright and lively. So please… don’t imagine us living in such a jungle here in Indonesia. I also realize that news about Bali bombings, tsunami, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, terrorist attacks and all have created bad impressions about Indonesia. Well, it is not that bad. We live peacefully here. Conflicts do happen here and there, but somehow we manage to lessen the tension.

Now, let’s talk the bright side of Jakarta, started by the mall. Yeah, baby! Mall!

Mall or Shopping Center

Taman Anggrek Mall. One of my favorites.

Jakarta is a heaven of malls or shopping centers. You will find them all across the city; from the north to the south, from the west to the east. Almost all these malls have movie theaters. Cinema 21 is the most famous and bonafide cinema network in Indonesia. Besides, several malls are connected to apartments or luxurious residences. But well, to save space, I will give you another wikipedia links to refer you to the list of malls in Jakarta. You can click here or here. Btw, my favorites are Taman Anggrek Mall and Grand Indonesia.

Boulevard

We have Jalan Jenderal Sudirman, Jalan Rasuna Said, and Jalan M.H. Thamrin which are famous as the center of business. I guess pictures will show better. 

Jalan Jenderal Sudirman. I live 15-minutes walking from that white building on the left :).

 

Five-star Hotel

Yes, Jakarta does have plenty of choices to stay; from the cheap and poor ones to the most luxurious ones. Interestingly, compared to European hotels, the five-star hotels in Jakarta are relatively inexpensive. You surely can find Grand Hyatt, Ritz Carlton, Mandarin Oriental, InterContinental, Four Seasons, JW Marriott, Shangri-La, Sheraton, Le Meridien here.

Old Town

We were colonized by the Dutch for hundreds of years. This old town is one of archaeological remains which is kept by the government as historical site. Now and then we can see a bunch of history lovers wearing some Dutch outfit and riding old-fashioned bicycle (= sepeda onthel). I was one of them (without “Dutchy” accessories though). 

 

Old Town Area with sepeda onthel and guys in old-army outfits

 

Culinary Paradise

Oh dear, I don’t know how to explain or to list all beautiful places serving great food. Too many to mention. Besides, I must admit that the best place to eat is not at those fancy restaurants, but at the streets food stall :). You basically can find all kind of food in Jakarta. American, Mexican, European, Turkish, African, Chinese (hehe), Vietnamese, Korean, Indian, and the famous Indonesian food from Padang, Sunda, Jawa, Madura, Tegal, uh oh… let’s stop it. I will need separate post to talk about the food only :).

Stage

Jakarta also has plenty halls to perform music concert or other entertainment shows. The famous ones are: Balai Sarbini, Plennary Hall of Jakarta Convention Center, Big Theater Taman Ismail Marzuki, Central Park Ballroom, Balai Kartini, and Ritz Carlton Pacific Place Ballroom.

Balai Sarbini (inside and out)


Downsides

To balance this article, I must remind you that Jakarta is sometimes cruel too. We have extremely serious problem with traffic jam. It is predicted that in 2020 we will face gridlock. Gridlock is the situation where vehicles stuck in certain node and can’t move further. The government now is still trying to solve this problem by constructing flyovers in several main streets and MRT which will be completed by 2016.

Beggars, homeless people, pickpocket, pollution, garbage, flood, muggers, poor public facilities and services are other issues need to be resolved. In my defense, Jakarta is part of a developing country anyway, hehe…

Um, I guess I have given sufficient justification that Jakarta is indeed big and dangerous (and let me emphasize: bigger and more dangerous than Bangkok :D). Nothing else I would say but: enjoy Jakarta!