Terima Kasih & Selamat Tinggal

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wet traffic stillTerima kasih & selamat tinggal ! Or thank you and goodbye in Bahasa, Indonesia’s native language. The city of Jakarta bid farewell to the AIG much like it greeted us: a hot cup of jasmine tea, a nasi goreng, and a torrential downpour. Unlike the first encounter with mother nature, the AIG had to maneuver it’s way through the flooded streets by foot, a feat that is certainly not recommended to do the city’s less than forgiving ‘sidewalks’. For a video of the flooded streets click here.

Nevertheless, the team made it back in time to pack up and upload one last post. Many thanks to all those who supported us – from the folks on the ground to the our loyal blog readers around the world!

Keep an eye out for us, you never know where we’ll pop up next…


“Laser” Light Show

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Monument-01 Located in the heart of the city, the Monumen Nasional, or National Monument, is roughly 1 square km full of expansive lawns and shade trees. Visible from blocks away is the 433′ (132m) obelisk monument symbolizing Indonesia’s fight for freedom. Completed in 1975, the park has become a destination for families as the city’s largest open area where motorized vehicles are prohibited, although the AIG saw more than a few local workarounds.

Come on a Saturday night to witness a laser light and fountain show, where the tower is lit with a rainbow of colors while crowds lounge on the lawn and partake in volleyball, football (soccer), and the occasional python wrangling.

Props to Goose for nailing the low light camera settings. Monument-02

Fast and Faster Food

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PizzaHut-01Fast food, every brand you know is here in Jakarta.  The corporate giants from the US, Europe and China are all peddling their burgers, coffee and noodles but up close you see something is just a little different.  The restaurants are unexpectedly clean, there is a maitre’d in Pizza Hut and live music in the KFC on weekends…LIVE MUSIC? You see, western fast food isn’t Indonesian fast food; your Whopper and Tater Tots can’t compete with the street on price and availability so they don’t try.  Instead, they entice you with a more upmarket experience, so the next time you find yourself short on time and in the queue for a fast food fix, don’t forget to ask the manager who’s playing on Saturday night. StreetFood-01

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.