- Crazy traffic
Jakarta has over 200 malls. So far I’ve been to two! There is an upper scale mall down the street from my complex. It’s very westernized with a Starbucks and an English movie theatre. I have also ventured to a huge market mall. I cannot even describe how big this mall is. Inside are floors upon floors of vendors full of bootlegged dvds, knock off designer purses, electronics, fashion accessories, etc. I have gone here a few times as there is also a department/grocery store in the basement of the mall.
Food in Jakarta:
I have ventured out grocery shopping and managed to find a few familiar things (pasta, cereal, bread, fruit). Most kitchens here are not equipped with microwaves or ovens. My kitchen only has two stove top burners - so I’m trying to be creative and see how many things I can make in a pot or pan! I have a feeling I’ll be eating out a lot! :|
So far the hospitality has been incredible! Everyone is beyond friendly and welcoming. Indonesians seem to always be smiling and want to do their best to make sure you are comfortable in their country. I have also noticed that everywhere I go people are very patient with me since I do not speak the language (Bahasa). Often times when visiting a country that is not English speaking, people are quick to dismiss you and ignore when you ask for something. Everyone I have experienced here so far takes their time to try and understand what I am saying, and does their best to help me. I am still hoping to learn some of the language though :)
The money has been one of my struggles this week. I cannot seem to get used to the fact that I am carrying around millions of rupees or that a bottle of water is twenty thousand rupees. $1 Canadian dollar is roughly 9000 rupees. All of the zeros on the price tags have been quite confusing!
Today was my first day to go out and get a taste of the country. Myself and another new teacher who just moved here from the Philippines went to a park called Taman Mini. Taman Mini is a park that has replicas of different houses, buildings, and temples that are found throughout Indonesia. The whole park is suppose to give you a taste of the various islands that make up the country. We saw traditional tree houses, temples that are replicas of ones found in Bali. We took a tour through the museum which consists of traditional costumes from the different Indonesian cultures as well as instruments and other artifacts found throughout the land.
The park also has a reptile zoo and water park. We opted for the reptile zoo today. While wandering through looking at the snakes, and crocodiles, I was so excited to spot a komodo dragon. Komodo dragons are deadly creatures that are native only to Indonesia! Upon looking at it, someone asked us if we wanted to go in and see it up close and pet it..... what probably sounds like a horribly stupid idea, somehow seemed like the best idea ever in my head. So in I went. I was face to face with a creature that could kill me with one quick lick (their saliva is deadly). After this amazing experience, I was feeling pretty brave, so decided I would also try holding a reticulating python! I wasn’t quite brave enough to wrap it around my neck like others were doing. So I just helped the zoo keep by holding one end of it!
My short few days in Jakarta have been pretty great (other than the sickness). I am looking forward to spending the next two years exploring this country and getting to know its culture!
Check back soon to read about my 24 hours in LA!