Monday, June 27, 2011

Amidst The Flora

Hello, sunshine! Have you went to the 2011 Flona (Flora and Fauna) Exhibition (I told you Indonesians like acronyms)? 

I attended an event in Hotel Borobudur, and as I walked along Lapangan Banteng (Banteng Square), I saw the lush greenery of the Flona exhibition calling me. So I took a 30-minute walk into the park. And here are the photos.

The venue is Taman Lapangan Banteng

Abang-None Jakarta? The girl should have been me (Yeah, right).

 Orchids. Oh love!

Cacti. Sold at Rp 5,000 (around 50 cents USD) per pot (except the cabbage-like ones, it's Rp 15,000)

A bee pollinates the flower (practicing my macro shot)

More bees (and more macro shot) :)

Frankentree? (The paper says Lengkeng 4-in-1 since there are four types of lengkeng in this tree) :P

The Menteng area in Jakarta is named after this tree. The vendor says that the fruit is sweet. Actually, many areas in Jakarta are named after the trees, such as Gandaria, Duren Sawit, Kelapa Gading.

The exhibition will last until July 27. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Have A Sleepy Weekend

Source: IKEA's blogs Livet Hemma

How was your week? I'm looking forward to sleeping my weekends away. But I'll be working on Saturday. Ack.

What is your plan this weekend? I'd recommend the design exhibition I posted yesterday. Then, from Galeri Nasional, you can walk to the 2011 Flora and Fauna exhibition in Lapangan Banteng. I love trees and animals, so I'll be going to this event:). 

There is also CouchSurfing Festive, an 11-day event held by CouchSurfing Indonesia, a community that shares living spaces for travelers. Check their Facebook group account for more info. Just key in "CouchSurfing Indonesia".

Oh, almost forgot! The monthly Dutch movie screening on Saturday is Carmen of the North. For younger audience, there is Goelali Film Festival.

Have a fun weekend, y'all *yawn* :).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rada Beda*

Usually: We see the bulb inside the lampshade. A bit different: We see the lamp on the lampshade. Cool.

I went to Galeri Nasional to attend CouchSurfing Indonesia event, and found entertainment as I strolled around to see Rada Beda, an exhibition on contemporary designs, featuring designers from Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain and the U.K. 

The items being exhibited have different shapes from what we usually see. It really challenges our mind and creativity to recognize the items. I had fun that day. I hope these photos give you a good  laugh too:).

Coathanger, made from office chair's backsides, hahaha. I do have a jacket on the back of my office chair:) 

This clothes hanger is titled "Just Married". I heartfully agree:)

Usually: the lamp, the mirror and the coat hanger are stuck on one place. A bit different: They're mobile!

A set of teeth-like brushes and a toothpaste. Can't get any better than these:)


The exhibition will last until June 27.

* A Bit Different

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Old Photos Of Jakarta

Tugu Pancoran in the 1970s. Found here

Glodok (can you spot the 'Glodok Djaja' plaque?). Source here.

The following photos showed Hotel Indonesia traffic circle and the Welcome statue
Source: here

Stadhuis, taken in 1901. Source here.

 Jakarta Kota central station. Source: here

Hoenderpasser bridge, photo taken in 1910. Source: here

P.S. Happy anniversary, Jakarta!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Jaunting In Jakarta

Source: Wikipedia

I read my friend Mariani Dewi's article on Sunday Post and laughed out loud. Oh how true it is. I guess it's just not fair to compare Jakarta with Bali. After all, one is a capitol and the other one is a holiday destination. Sure, I'd recommend Bali too if you're coming for a holiday.

But if you're coming for business and got a few days to spend in Jakarta, I'd like to recommend some places to visit here. I'll try to sum everything in this one post. If I miss something, let me know:) Here it goes...

Like many big cities in Indonesia, Jakarta was started from a port, the Sunda Kelapa port. Back in its hey day, the port was the main entrance to the city but now, it only serves as a timber port. I love to watch the people downloading the stuffs from the boats.

Just a few meters away from the port, there's Menara Syahbandar (The Lookout Tower). In the past, it was used to give signals to the ships coming into the port. Due to massive pumping of underground water, the tower has been tilting and sinking.

Behind the Tower, there's Maritime Museum and Fish Market. There are eight old warehouses too a few meters walk from the Tower. As far as I remember, the museum does not have many collection, the market is not a touristy spot and the warehouses are always under the floodwater. But those are parts of the port area, it would be interesting to take a look and imagine what life was like back then.

If you're adventurous enough, take a walk into the fishermen's village in Kampung Luar Batang.  

Or you can just cross the road and head to Restoran Galangan Kapal VOC (VOC Shipyard Restaurant). It used to be a shipyard, now it's a restaurant:).

I took Sunda Kelapa area as final assignment to get my university degree so I've been to all those spots. Since the port always has activities and there are thugs everywhere, you might want to have a guide or a local (take me! take me!) to the area.

From the port, let's go to Kali Besar (literally means Big River). There are old buildings on both sides of the river. 

Then head to Fatahillah Square, also known as the Old Town, which is encircled by museums. You can stroll in the square, visit the museums or rent a bike to get around. When you're tired exploring the square, hop into Cafe Batavia, go to the second floor and take a seat by the window. If you'd like to see, I've made a post on a tour around the Old Town.
From the square, you can explore Glodok's narrow alleys. People say that Petak Sembilan is famous. But just take any alley you come across and enjoy the experience:). Glodok is also famous for its cheap and complete electronics shops.

The next part of historical path is around the National Monument, where you can observe Jakarta from above. The whole block is filled with interesting places. The Presidential Palace is on Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara. On Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat there's Museum Nasional, or also known as Museum Gajah (Gajah means elephant, and there's a small elephant statue in front of the museum), houses artifacts on Indonesia's history. City Hall is on Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan.

And since you're visiting the world's biggest Muslim community outside the Gulf, I think you'd be interested to see Masjid Istiqlal, the mosque that President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama visited, it's near Jl. Medan Merdeka Timur. It so happened that the mosque is face-to-face with the Cathedral.

After that, why don't you try Italian ice cream at Ragusa? The ice cream shop was founded by two Italian brothers in the 1940s, one was married to the Indonesian cashier and now the shop's management is handled by the wife's brother.  

By this time, you've reached Central Jakarta. I'd suggest you to go to Jl. Sabang, where cafes and restaurants thrive. My favorite is Kopi Tiam Oey, owned by the kind and humble culinary expert Pak Bondan Winarno.

While you're near Jl. Sabang, make a stop at Sarinah. It's one of the oldest shopping centers in Jakarta, and has a wide array of Indonesian souvenirs, such as batik, carvings and other handicrafts. You can get similar things when you visit the regions, but if you can only visit Jakarta, not the whole Indonesia, Sarinah has the souvenirs you need. You can also buy souvenirs at Pasaraya.

Fancy some shopping? There's Plaza Indonesia, eX and Grand Indonesia nearby. But if you like to haggle and want to buy many clothes, Pasar Tanah Abang (Tanah Abang Market) is just the place. I'm not a good haggler myself, but a friend gives a hint: you can ask for one-third or even a quarter of the first price if you buy three or six pieces of clothes.

If you're perusing the malls, do make a stop at The Goods Dept (at Plaza Indonesia) and Level One (Grand Indonesia). Those are where local creative industry claim their space. Some of the stuffs are great! And unfortunately, expensive too (for me)...Other places where you can find creative industry are Manekineko (at Rasuna Epicentrum) and Mazee (at fX) .

The malls have some nice restaurants too. Just take a look around:).But if you want to sample some Indonesian foods, I recommend Lara Djonggrang, Bumbu Desa and Ampera.

While we're on the subject of malls, Jakarta has so many of them. Check them here. I used to think Mall Kelapa Gading is the largest here, but now that we have Gandaria City, Mall of Indonesia and Central Park, I've lost track:P.  

If the big and shiny shopping malls scare you, you may like the friendly atmosphere at markets like Pasar Baru or Passer Baroe, which specifically sells shoes and fabrics and Pasar Kue Subuh Senen, which sells traditional cakes early at dawn (really cheap).

Are you a fan of Barack Obama? Do visit his former school SD Besuki (Besuki elementary), just several hundreds meters away from Hotel Indonesia traffic circle. Or the Fransiscus Asisi elementary school. I've been to both schools (click here to see SD Besuki). Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera when I visited the Fransiscus Asisi school.

If this trip to Jakarta takes place on Sunday, make sure you stop by Suropati Park. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Suropati Park Chamber, a hobby group consisting of students, retirees and street musicians gather and practice their string instruments (violin, viola, cello, guitar) there. They play Indonesian folksongs.

After passing the park, you can continue walking to Jl. Surabaya, a street selling antiques stuffs. Even if there is no place to visit, walking around Menteng area is fun because there are trees, nice pavement for pedestrians and less traffic.

Now that we've explored Jakarta's most historic parts, let's go to the swanky hip area: Kemang. I don't frequent this place as it's always packed and congested. But if you can handle the traffic in Jakarta so far, just give it a try.
It takes some time to fall in love with Jakarta. Hope the list will help you get by:)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Thoughts Before The Weekend

Hello, sweeties! Any plans for this weekend?

I borrowed the June 2011 edition of National Geographic Magazine from my office's library. One of the articles published there is about child bride. And then I got an assignment to cover the testimony of a trafficked victim (I wonder if it's the right terms). The 15-year-old girl was sold by her husband to a migrant worker placement company. It's kinda weird how life gives you information at the same time. It makes me appreciating my life.

Anyway, I'm going to finish reading the magazine and...continue reading the Great Short Works of Herman Melville. I've read past Bartleby the Scrivener and now am tempted to say, "I would prefer not to" to my bosses. Hahaha, just kidding. 

It's definitely a lot easier to digest Melville than Tolstoy. I finally turned the last page of Tolstoy's War And Peace and bid the Bolkonskys, the Bezukhovs, the Kuragins and the Rostovs after spending almost four years to read it, phew. What is the latest book you read?

My friend Ai told me about the launching of a book about backpacking in Indonesia at Gramedia Matraman this Saturday. She can't go but I'll probably go there. 

Hmm I wonder where would she go this weekend? I suspect she goes to FantastiKpop concert in Istora Senayan:). Korean fans, are you coming to that event? Share with me please.
Another interesting event: an exhibition on Italian cartography at Galeri Nasional on Jl. Medan Merdeka Timur. The exhibition will end on June 19.

Have a retrospective weekend:)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dances With Beautiful Girl

An Alaskan tourist dances with a traditional Balinese dancer during the island’s annual festival at Denpasar Cultural Center on Wednesday. The festival presents 334 performance arts, under a theme of “Self Adaptation in a Multicultural World”. (Antara/Nyoman Budhiana). Source: The Jakarta Post

I Love My Hair:)

I can totally relate to this poster:)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Keizoku Wa Chikara Nari*

*It is a Japanese proverb. In English it means "perseverance is a way to success"

Last Saturday, I got an assignment to cover a Japanese speech competition. At first, I thought I would fall asleep during the speeches. But I was so wrong since the participants turned out to have the most inspiring speech themes.

Before I continue babbling, let me just get this straight: I've forgotten all the Japanese words I learned in the Japanese course I took in 1998. I was so lucky that there was a big screen displaying the speech text in Bahasa. Otherwise, I'd be lost in Japanese.

Back to the competition.

The themes of the speeches are varying, from self improvement to the superstitions that both Indonesia and Japan share. Do you know that Japanese also has superstitions that one cannot cut nails at night and that when kids lose their top baby teeth, they should bury it? I just knew  those that day. But I digress.

Let's get back to the title, shall we?

One of the participants used the title above for her speech. She told about how she quitted doing karate in high school because she never won any competition. But when she entered university and took drama class, her lecturer told her about the proverb, which encouraged her to focus on the class.

Her hard work was paid off as she was appointed to represent her class to Japan for a program on drama. Unfortunately, due to the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan last March, the program was cancelled.

"Despite the cancellation, I am very impressed by the proverb because it is true that if you persist on a subject, you will get the rewards one day," she said.

It was a well-written and well-delivered speech I had to wipe my tears. Yeah, I'm a crier *grin*. But you know what? The girl won first prize in the speech competition! She and the second winner will go to Japan for one week in October.

She was so surprised on her victory she broke into tears. And she kept crying throughout the photo session. Aww, it made me cry again. Congratulation, dear girl! You deserved it for being perseverance and telling the audience about it.

I wonder how things are in Japan. I read this several weeks ago. Aren't Japanese people an amazing nation or what? *hands down*

Now will you excuse me for I will be shouting "Ganbatte" (Do your best) and "Ganbarimasu" (I shall do my best) in the next few days *wears sunrise head band while perusing the scholarship websites*.

Have a persevering Monday!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dance First, Fall Over Later

Let's watch a dance performance at Erasmus Huis this weekend. It's free! Reserve your place by sending an email to (Updated: all of the tickets are already taken. Damn.)

Anyway, there's a discussion about batik maestro Iwan Tirta at Museum Textile this Saturday. It is part of the month-long exhibition on works of Iwan Tirta and Go Tik Swan. You can also practice some batik-making there:).

Dear bookworms, there's a 15 percent off storewide in all Kinokuniya Indonesia bookstores (June 10-12). Let's hunt some books:).

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Hello, friends! So sorry for the quietness here. It's been quite busy since M and I found out that D had pneumothorax. Anyway, that is another story and I don't want to bother all of you with the details. This month, to be precise June 22, will see the 484th anniversary of Jakarta. So I'm thinking to do some posts about it.
In the meantime, let's talk about acronyms. There's something about acronyms that Jakartans, or maybe in this case Indonesians, fall for. For quick proof, we call the current president by his initials. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono? That's too long. SBY is enough. I'm not sure why but perhaps it was influenced by the military during Indonesia's first few years of independence and also, because our second president was a military man.

I can find many acronyms during the ways to office. Rusun (Rumah Susun, low cost housing). HI (Hotel Indonesia). Polda (Kepolisian Daerah, City Police). Planggi (Plaza Semanggi, a shopping mall). Monas (Monumen Nasional, National Monument). KPK (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi, Corruption Eradication Commission). DPR (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, House of Representatives). But the funniest event took place when I asked an ojek (a kind of motorcycle-taxi) driver to take me to Bappeda ( (insert region here) Development Planning Agency).

Me: "Bang (brother), I want to go to Bappeda Depok. How much does it cost?"
Ojek driver (OD):  "Bank Pembangunan Daerah (a local bank)? Just hop on, it is near."
Me: "Errr, no, that is BPD. I want to go to Bappeda."
OD: "Bappeda is Pemda (local administrative), right?"
Me: "No. Pemda stands for Pemerintah Daerah. I'm talking about Bappeda, Bang."
OD: "Oh, I see. It's the office that takes care of the land certificates, isn't it?"
Me: "That would be Badan Pertanahan Nasional (BPN, National Land Agency). Mine is Bappeda." (starting to feel frustrated)
OD: "So, is Bappeda meant Dinas Pendapatan Daerah (City Revenue Agency)?"
Me: "No, that's Dispenda." (on the verge to strangle the man. ack!)

I finally persuaded him to just take me and asked so many other people during the way to the agency's office. And yes, I did find the office:).

Do you ever have troubles with acronyms? There should a national movement to ban them:P.