02.11.2011 - 02.11.2011 25 °C
I have never been this overwhelmed before. Not even in the most wretched of states. It all began with breakfast. Can you imagine my delight, my absolute delight, at a breakfast consisting of the most wonderfully flavoured soup (lemongrass, chilli, lime, etc), a plate of noodles, assorted dumplings, prawn crackers, sambal, tropical fruits, and “some other mad shit?” Can you imagine my delight? Ignore the women, I'm here for the food. And to be perfectly honest, the food is beginning to annoy me. This is primarily because I am full, totally stuffed, and yet I want more. Four meals down, four more to go, that's my motto. And yet I can't possibly eat more. But I must! I am sick of it!
Anyway, after breakfast I was picked up by my school's academic coordinator, who took me to the school to show me around. The school is located above a shopping mall, a foul place at best. Not twenty four hours in the East and I am already being attacked by the usual suspects.
Disgusted at this sight, I quickly decided to devour some more food in the hope that it would cheer me up. I picked up this badboy at a fruit stall! The last time I ravished one of these was in Kenya many years ago. Can there be a cooler looking fruit?
After loitering around the mall for an hour or so I headed back to the school, whereby I was introduced to two delightful maids of Indonesian descent. Things suddenly became interesting. These two, I was told, were to take me to various apartments throughout Jakarta and show me the ropes. One of the girls has also put me in touch with an NGO called Sahabatanak, an organisation which helps educate impoverished children in some of Jakarta's poorest areas. You can check out their website here: http://www.sahabatanak.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1&Itemid=3&lang=en
After discoursing with these two for a while, the older of the two (I forget her name) suggested we eat. I agreed, and so she took us to a local waroong, whereby I was able to sample one of her favourite dishes (it was some kind of vegetable broth with sambal and ribs).
After I filled my inwards once more, the older girl asked me what type of apartment I was looking for. “Most of the expats live in this place or that place” (I can't remember the names for “this place or that place”). “I am not most expats,” I replied. I made it clear to her that I do not intend to associate myself with most expats, that looking upon an Englishman in these lands is a great offence to my eyes, and that nothing is more revolting to my ears than the sound of the American or Australian accents on Indonesian soil. “If I wanted to share an apartment with expats I would have stayed in England.” She seemed to understand this and took me to some apartments largely inhabited by the locals. These are much cheaper but do not offer gym facilities, a swimming pool, swipe-card security and some other such nonsense. Also, the rooms are smaller and less clean, the furniture is questionable, and no doubt I will have some trouble with cockroaches. Oh well, my neighbours will be Indonesians and lets face it, when you're living in Indonesia, that's all that matters!
Upon returning to the school it was suggested that I take a taxi back to the hotel. I agreed, then left, but seriously! WHY WOULD ANYBODY BOTHER TAKING A TAXI WHEN THESE RUDEBOYS ARE KNOCKIN' ABOUT!?
They are called Bajaj, which must certianly translate to “three-wheeled death pit” or something. After experiencing a ride in them I can safely say that I will definitely be utilising them again, although under no circumstances would I recommend their use to a friend. Not once, not twice, but thrice did I fear for my life.
My birthdays are usually mental affairs but this one has been mental in a completely different way. Jakarta is a mad place. In the future, I can picture myself loving and despising it in abundant measures, but for now I'm just trying to adjust to something almost beyond reason.
Anyway, its still my birthday so I'm off to grab some food. Farewell for now x