Dec 7, 2012

Jakarta, Indonesia

07 (Fri) - 11 (Tue) Dec 2012 (One night at Bandung on 09 Dec)

Lodging: Calvin's house @ Pluit Muara Karang, North Jakarta

The decision of traveling to Indonesia was in fact based on my suggestion to Calvin, my Indonesian friend
• who started his primary education partially in Singapore
• whose hometown is in Jakarta
• who was one of my group members in ME3101 Mechanical System Design I
• whose final year project supervisor is the same as mine
His ethnicity is Chinese, with subdivision of Hokkien, despite his official name Calvin Sutiono, he has a Chinese name of course - 葉科鱗.

The next step is none other than inviting friends to this random trip. The one who came into my thought first was the adventurous and traveller-wannabe Emilia. Her acceptance to the invitation was a surprise for me, as normally a not very maturely decided or planned trip doesn't attract much participation, which eventually leads to cancellation - well, numerous cases like this, you and I know.

Wilsen couldn't make it unfortunately because he's on his family trip to Taiwan. Susan joined at a latter time prior to the exam period after Emilia's invitation. I like this kind of 爽快-ness.

Day 1

We took Tiger Airways (SGD134.86 each for a return ticket) to Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK) and Calvin took the same flight but exactly 24 hours earlier than ours to make sure that he'll be there before us.

Jakarta is 1 hour behind Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia, and we reached Jakarta at 7:20pm local time. Calvin and his mum picked us up at the airport, located at the west part of Jakarta. His mum is quite pretty, young and cute, commented by Emilia especially.

They bought us noodles (bakmie) and some snacks (fried tofu and fried lard) for dinner to be eaten at their house.

That house that we're gonna staying over for nights is a double storey terrace house with contemporary layout and modern kitchen design with dining seats sticking out surrounding the kitchen itself.

We'll be sleeping upstairs at the living area as the house is newly furnished and they don't really have guest rooms.

Their local way of eating the fried tofu is the repetition of taking a bite of the tofu followed by a bite of bird's eye chili (cili padi). Well, I never touch chili, and so I only tried to have my first tofu the authentic way but for the subsequent ones, sorry, no more chili bites.

I am the only one among people who has extremely low tolerance against spiciness - the irony of being a Penangite.

After getting his car from his dad, Calvin brought us to Pantai Indah Kapuk for supper and after strolling a few rounds there, we settled at Sate Khas Senayan for some local delicacies.

Calvin actually warned us about the myriad number of mosquitoes in Jakarta.

Whenever we're outdoor with shorts, we always had to slap our legs.

Sate Lilit (3pcs) @ IDR20,000 and Sate Ayam/ Kulit Bumbu Blora (10pcs) @ IDR38,000

Otak-otak Jakarta @ IDR31,000 (Their otak-otak is white instead of brownish-orange)

We thought of doing massage after that as we heard from Calvin that it's cheap. Unfortunately, it's too late for the two massage centres that we visited (Nano Healthy Family Reflexology and Happy Feet Reflexology) to serve 4 of us, guess we have to wait until tomorrow.

Martabak Bangka Jaya
Calvin's mum bought us Martabak and so we had a second round of supper after reaching his home. I wished I had an emptier stomach, the cheese Martabak was really awesome! If you experienced the saturated taste of Garrett Popcorn, you'll understand the dense 'cheesiness' of the cheese Martabak we had, simply yummy.

We should call it a day as we've traveled out for a while despite our arrival at night.

Day 2

Teh Botol
Good morning Jakarta, and we went for breakfast at Nasi Tim Pasar Pagi in the nearby district.

By the way, there's a compulsory fee of IDR2,000 to the parking attendants no matter they're legal or not, and to the freelance traffic-officer-wannabes on road, who's to me like highway tyrants.
「此路是我開,此樹是我栽,要從此處去,留下買路財。」, this is exactly what I read from their mind. Haha...

So Calvin has to ask his mom whether there's a hike in the fee everytime he goes back Jakarta and so he can stock up the correct amount of notes in his car.

Teh Botol is a very popular drink in Indonesia and widely available among coffee shops. To me, it tastes exactly like Pokka Jasmine Green Tea, in fact, Teh Botol is a sweetened jasmine tea.

We had steamed rice with eggs as breakfast.

We spent a little time patronizing their market (Pasar Muara Karang).

Indonesian auto rickshaw - Bajaj, like Thailand's tuk-tuk

Another stop for Pempek Palembang @ IDR48,000

Camwhoring at Calvin's house before heading to Central Jakarta.

Monas is an abbreviation for Monumen Nasional (National Monument), it's an obelisk monument standing at 132m tall topped by a flame covered with gold foil.

Previously Calvin has told that Jakarta is a city and there's actually nothing interesting in it, for not much sightseeing stuffs to visit, so one might wanna consider visiting this symbolic attraction of Jakarta, located at the center of Merdeka Square.

The flag bearer statue is on one side away from Monas, at the Merdeka Square.

Our next destination will be Mangga Dua Mall, a famous shopping mall in Jakarta.

Calvin explained to us how terrible the traffic is in Jakarta while driving. Traffic jam happens every single day at least until late night in Central Jakarta, according to him. So I wouldn't recommend anyone to visit Central Jakarta as you're gonna waste your hours in the middle of the traffic jam with random scary strangers trying to sell stuffs outside your vehicle. That's not only annoying but terrifying, as he also mentioned cases like breaking car windows to rob during the jam as the car can't move either way in the jam - smart and cunning robbers.

"The drivers have good reflex", said Emilia and ya probably. Do you know how much shunning we've gone through on his car? And how many times people's car almost hit his? Sometimes road has no lane divider, and to avoid bumping it sort of takes experience and skills. Indonesian makes ful use of car horn, and at least they don't stare at you with anger after driving away because they understand the necessity of honking and sudden overtaking, unlike Singaporean and Malaysian, who follow the traffic rules except for speed limits.

Mangga Dua Square
We reached Mangga Dua Mall in about 45 minutes from Monas.

Ohya, and for KL people who know what double parking is, Jakarta people have slightly more 'courteous' way of doing it - they leave their car gear neutral, so that if a driver's trying to get out but obstructed by a car behind, he/she or the parking attendant can just push the car(s) away. That's just epic.

And then we had lunch at Kolam Medan in the mall before shopping spree.

Gado-gado, Iga Penyet @ IDR40,000

Ayam penyet, Buntut bakar @ IDR43,000

After lunch we split up to girls and guys group and shopped on our own and meet at A&W at 3pm. I didn't find anything that particularly interests me and have extraordinary low price, and hence I didn't buy anything there, but Calvin bought a few T-shirts to be worn in the next few days, rich guy. It's just another Sungei Wang Plaza to me actually.

Girls never make it on time when they're shopping, and we waited them for a while at A&W, before getting back home to North Jakarta.

Driving back home is a pain in the ass for Calvin. It took two freaking hours and you know what, Christina Perri's A Thousand Years was played trice by two different radio stations. Thanks to the outrageous traffic, I got to fall asleep in his car. We would hereby like to extend our gratitude to Calvin who drove us for so long, his right foot must be having spasm.

On the way, Calvin helped us to book a massage session for 4 of us at Happy Feet Reflexology, yeah, gonna have soothing massage for the night.

After getting back to North Jakarta, we had dinner at Pantai Indah Kapuk again, but at a different food chain, called Tekko, which Calvin assured, has better Iga Penyet than Kolam Medan in Mangga Dua Mall.

Paket 1 (Ayam Penyet, Tehu Goreng, Tempe Goreng, Iga, Nasi Putih) @ IDR37,000
Jamur Goreng (Fried Mushroom)

Caramel Adventure (Coffee Snow Ice, Caramel Syrup, Cashew Nut) @ IDR12,000

Happy Feet Reflexology
We're lucky that we reached Happy Feet Reflexology before their premium hour (9:50pm) and we paid a cheaper price for that. Calvin and I went for foot + full body massage @ IDR60,000 while the girls went for Javanese full body massage where they had to strip to only their undies.

I requested my massage to be done by a masseuse instead of a masseur because, erm... that makes me feel less gay? And I think lady should have better skill.

The massage lasted 1.5 hours, with 1 hour of foot massage and 30 minutes of body massage. It's my first time really having my body parts massaged by another person, which made me feel so good, when I can just close my eyes and enjoy the service.

It's common to tip the masseuse/masseur but I didn't just because I was trying to be a little cheapskate, but realizing the the rest of them actually tip made me feel quite embarrassed, so I hope I won't be coming back here again.

Day 3

J CO Burger
It's 5am in the morning, sleepy us having breakfast before departing for Bandung at 6pm from the Cipaganti agency in Grogol. It's IDR80,000 per person per journey.

Please read my blog entry Bandung, Indonesia.

Day 4

After a long journey back from Bandung to Jakarta, we had dinner with Calvin's family at a place near to the bus agency in Grogol.

We went for Happy Feet Reflexology again after that since Nano Healthy Family Reflexology was still fully booked.

Chicken Soto, Beef Rawon and Jamur (Mushroom)

My goodness, just when I thought I won't be at Happy Feet again 2 days ago which I wished to because I didn't tip my masseuse the last time, but this time it's a masseur for me because they're running out of masseuses. However because it's past premium time so we had to pay IDR10,000 extra (→IDR70,000). Nevertheless, I tip my masseur this time.

I prefer being massaged by my previous masseuse as she pressed softer and she did massage my thigh and stretch it. The masseur this time was just forcefully pressing, there're a few times when I need to actually tolerate the pain.

Day 5

Beef Soto for breakfast
It's our last morning in Jakarta, and upon my reminder, we got to taste Kopi Luwak (civet coffee). The coffee beans are initially ground with a coffee grinder and the ground coffee powder was boiled with the coffee maker comprising of two compartments interconnected by a vertical tube. When it's boiling, the coffee moves upwards through a tube inside and when there's no more coffee in the lower compartment, the fire is removed and the coffee from the upper compartment flows down again.

After this is repeated for a few times, the coffee is ready to be consumed. Calvin's mum asked us not to put creamer or milk as that defeats the purpose of drinking an authentic cup of kopi luwak. So we're only allowed to add brown sugar.

I usually drink sweet coffee or 3-in-1 coffee therefore I'm not at coffee tasting, so perhaps to me it's just kopi-o with unreasonable amount of sugar. :)

Calvin brought us to Emporium Pluit Mall to buy some cheap groceries, snacks and particularly, Polo T-shirt. I'm not a Polo T-shirt frenzy and I don't even like to wear that kind of shirt because, well, not fashionable. And so I didn't realize that Polo Ralph Lauren is actually considered branded.

Since there's a 50% discount using Calvin's mum's credit card, I bought one piece for my dad. And you don't know how overjoyed Emilia was, after getting her dream Polo dress, that fits her curvy body figure so well with reasonable price. ^^
Had a little break at Sour Sally.

Last lunch at Nasi Padang Sinar Jaya @ IDR184,000, which was quite expensive. Plus, the least spiciest dish on that table was spicy for me, not really my favorite.

We initially wanted to take photo with Calvin's mum, too bad she has left at that time so we took photo with his stepfather in replace.

Calvin dropped the broken-hearted us for having to leave to the airport for our 8:05pm flight back to Singapore.

We really would like to thank Calvin for hosting 3 of us, not only we saved for lodging, but it's so much safer and more convenient for a local friend to bring us around and speak on behalf of us, as Indonesian language differs from Malay a lot, conversational-wise.

I guess Calvin's fluency of Indonesian language comes from his constant Indonesian speaking with his mum, else, growing in Singapore would eventually make him forget how to speak Indonesian. Further, we understand the Indonesian spoken by the radio DJ in the Indonesian radio stations but only partially from his conversation with his mum, perhaps that's the difference between formal and colloquial Indonesian. Furthermore, he has different accent and he replaces some common words to the Jakartarian style ones (eg. tak boleh becomes ga bisa).

Also, there are some common words that we Malaysians don't mind the relativity of the usage, which Indonesians do (eg. warm is hangat instead of panas, cold is dingin instead of sejuk).

Besides, I supposed due to Dutch colonialism, some words are from non-English European language (eg. free/complimentary is gratis instead of percuma, pharmacy is apotik instead of farmasi).

Once again, thanks Calvin. And it's time to go back not for vacation, but to continue with our respective final year projects. Oh dear...

For more photos, please check out my photo album Jakarta & Bandung, Indonesia on Facebook.

Javin Tham A master's degree graduate in engineering, a musician at heart, loves playing with soft toys.

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