Travel

Tomorrow’s Goal

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Graffiti-01Indonesia has a youthful population, and this population will experience a phenomenal change in the opportunities available to them over the next decade.  Disposable income is expected to increase by 75% by 2020, and life expectancy currently averages 71 and improving.  The children of Jakarta today will be the first in their family to worry about the brand of car they drive but until then, like all kids around the world, the most important thing is still a pick up game of football with your friends.Football-01

The Kampung

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The Kampung (village) is the word that describes where most Jakartans live.  Its is the rows of small (usually red roofed) houses that are built up in between the skyscrapers.  Life in the Kampung can feel very removed from the city behind the walls.  Rows of houses often with barely a car width between, washing strung across the divide and a definite slower pace, mainly due to the lack of traffic.  Families live a close knit village life, all in the shadow of the TransJakarta overpass.

 

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Got Water?

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Purified water cups siting in a special holder made for theseUnlike many urban Asian cities Jakarta has a relatively continuous water supply, what it lacks unfortunately is safe drinkable water.  All over the city urban housewives are boiling their drinking water or purchasing bottles for their families thirst.  Every suburb seems to have local filtration shop that will sell or refill a big five gallon jug and smaller bottles are sold everywhere right down to single cups, pre-sealed and put out for the occasional guest.

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Bargains on the Streets

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Street VendorsIndonesia’s street vendors are a very large and profitable sector of the country’s economy.  Some estimates have the sector at about 90 million people or around 40% of the total population.   Aside from food carts and fruit stands on every corner there are independent vendors selling everything you can imagine, much of which you wont even have to get out of your car to buy.  The government has encouraged these entrepreneurs and has designated areas for street vendors throughout Jakarta, some indications are that poverty across the city has dropped by 8% due to this policy alone.  Spotted being sold car door to car door today included; books and atlases, a squirrel, rice cakes and a fully inflated swimming pool chair.

Shopping in Jakarta pt. 2

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Shopping in Jakarta is a study of extremes, you can find bargains on the street or shop like royalty.  Jakarta has some of the most opulent and glamorous malls you will ever see and whether you are searching for high end fashion or electronics you can find it all.  Mall culture in Jakarta is well established and malls are used in some ways a lot like parks might be used in other cities.  One local saying is that “the only parks in Jakarta are car parks” (parking lots) and while there is some truth in this, when the malls are clean, cool and entertaining the AIG understands the appeal, especially on a hot humid south east Asian day.

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Nasi Goreng

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nasi gorengThe fuel that runs the city of Jakarta, contrary to all the blue smoke supporting evidence for it being petroleum products, is Nasi Goreng (fried rice).  Variations on this theme abound but throughout the city from the street stalls to the upmarket pubs and restaurants of Kemang, this dish will appear on the menu.  It fuels the Bajaj drivers, the hawkers, the stockbrokers and surprisingly regularly, foreign product developers.  What you actually get on your plate when you order can vary considerably; chicken, duck, goat, seafood and vegetables have all been spotted in the AIG dinners recently and accompaniments have included prawn crackers, satay sticks, tomatoes and fried eggs.  In all cases it is spicy, tasty and cheap and certainly a dish to remember.

Old Batavia

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rent a bike and a sunhat helmetIn the north of the modern city of Jakarta lies the area of Kota, literally “city” in Indonesian.  Kota is the site of Old Batavia, the original dutch city colony founded in 1620 although the area had been inhabited for many centuries prior to this.  Many of the original buildings of Old Batavia still remain and a visit to Fatahillah square should be on any visitors list.  Get there an hour or so before dusk and you will see colorful Jakarta at its finest, brightly painted dutch bicycles, hawkers,  performers, snake handlers, classic car enthusiasts and of course, some historic architecture.

Shopping in Jakarta pt. 1

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durianJakarta is non-stop, the city hums through all hours and the streets are full of vendors selling everything you could possibly imagine.  Most neighborhoods have at least one area that is the domain of the street stall and often the area is themed.  Looking for an exotic pet?  Maybe a bat, owl or monkey? Those are found around block M.  Feeling edgy? You can shop for swords and knuckle dusters near Glodok and then relax after your shopping with a fresh Cobra blood cocktail on Mangga Besar (it’s cheaper for Python).  Shopping in Jakarta can be an experience to say the least but the old and the new sit comfortably side by side, in part 2 we will show you Jataka’s malls, a consumer experience that challenges Dubai or Singapore for sheer opulence.

Bats

fruit market

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