My First Day in Jakarta

I had so many apprehensions before I came here. The terrorist attack that rocked this nation just a few weeks ago has made me used up my year’s quota of prayers for the safety of my family. Thankfully, the Universe always replenishes my positive thoughts.

Dutchy seems unaffected by the bomb scare. Strong typhoons and high-intensity earthquakes back home didn’t seem to bother him. That’s who he is, our Mr. Positivity.Having taken the evening flight Saturday night from NAIA 2, I arrived at midnight yesterday to a quiet Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. It’s cleanliness and simple elegance seems to tell its visitors: “Hey, we mean tourism business.”

I am so happy to be with Wiel, after 1 month of separation. Home is where the 2 of us are. The bonus is: Wiel’s address is located in a nice, peaceful side of the city called Tebet district. I was welcomed by a well-organized cozy 2-BR apartment. I immediately felt at home, commanded the kitchen and organize my writing station in the guest bedroom.We went to Kota Kasablanca for lunch, and randomly picked Penang Bistro. (My eyes were quick, I saw a banner that advertises “Indonesia Tattler’s top restaurant.”) It was a a good lunching experience, not bad for my first time in the city. We picked 3 simple dishes from the menu which turned out to be delightful. (See pics.)In the late afternoon, we lost ourselves among the multitude of people who went to the mall for the early Chinese New Year festivities. And there’s the French grocery franchise Carrefour! (I’m relieved, assured that international food products are available.) When in Paris & Madrid, we would buy our ‘baons’ from these shops and picked pretty parks where the locals go to eat our meals, so as to avoid costly restos.

At the grocery queue, there was a cacophony of sounds: mall music playing songs in Bahasa, shop clerks arguing about something, a marketing person trying to sell her wares to shoppers, the emcee on a nearby center stage belting out a happy remark about something. I told Wiel: “Isn’t it bliss, to be surrounded by unfamiliar sounds and a language you do not understand? I have that feeling whenever we travel in a foreign land. Here, I don’t have to think too much. I just be.”

We plan on staying away from the center today and explore the little tiyangges of the neighborhood. 

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