Conquering Jakarta in the first quarter of 2014 has never been a dream for me. I never thought that this trip will make my January awesome. Again, I am blessed to have this kind of experience, a once in a lifetime opportunity.
I stayed in Jakarta for almost 5 days, and I never failed to see its beauty. Though Jakarta is like our typical Manila, where traffic is really terrible, the people there are also like Filipinos- hospitable, kind, and trustworthy. Thanks to my Indonesian friend, Septo Adi Kristanto Simanjuntak, who was my tour guide and he let me stay in his brother’s house for a certain amount of time. So hospitable, right?
My true purpose in Jakarta was not for mere fun only but for a Peace Conference. I arrived 1 day earlier than the conference, so I used that time to explore Jakarta. It was raining all the time, floods are everywhere, but my friend and I did not mind all the endeavors- we went around Jakarta riding a motorcycle but of course, with helmets on.
I just had with me a hundred dollars on my pocket to buy for souvenirs and everything I want. Basically, US Dollars is not the official currency of Indonesia but then it became the basis for all the currencies in the world. Before I left Manila, I asked a money changer kiosk at the airport if how much Rupiah will I have if I have a hundred US Dollar. The teller told me, I will have 750,000 Rupiah. But that was smaller than what I have expected. As I have read in the internet, 1 US Dollar= 12000 Rupiah. So I decided to convert my money just when I arrive in Indonesia. And poof! I became a two day millionaire with 1,200,000 Rupiah!
Before I land, I really asked my friend to bring me to cheap stores so I can buy many things. He didn’t fail me. We went to cheap stores where you can find everything that will amaze you- traditional food, souvenirs, and many more. I bought 9 “I love Jakarta” shirt and it just caused me 150,000 Rupiah, and that is like 540 pesos. Cheap, right?
After we bought the shirt, I heard my tummy complaining. Oh, it was time to eat. I was so hungry that I ate 2 pc chicken at KFC. Oh, I wished to eat traditional foods that time but I was afraid that they will not satisfy my hunger. But yeah, eating in KFC Indonesia was an epic fail. After we ordered, I was dying to look for spoon, fork, and gravy. There was none. I had to eat bare hands with ketchup and sweet chili sauce. It has been a tradition in Indonesia not to use spoon and forks in fast food chains like McDonalds and KFC. And by the way, what you see in the menu is not the actual appearance of your order. You will get bigger chicken, bigger size of drinks, and more rice- which is wonderful.
I bought mum a bag, which amounted to 50,000 Rupiah It’s not what you think that can easily be broken down because of its cheap price. No. It’s handy and durable, believe me. For myself, I bought a pair of shoes, for 35,000 Rupiah, it is a unique shoes cause I haven’t seen this kind of design in the Philippines yet. It is so comfortable and can be worn at all times.
At the end of the day, I felt my back aching cause we toured around Jakarta by just using a motorcycle and yeah, that’s one of a kind experience- stuck in the traffic where your travel is supposed to be just a 30-minute ride but you ended up falling in line with some other motor drivers for almost an hour and a half. Take note, we always park when we go to a shop, but we have to pay a thousand or two rupiah to the caretaker. There was a time that a men obliged us to give him 5,000 Rupiah. But that was fine, I was a 2-day millionaire anyway. LOL
In the evening, we went to Monas tower. I never wanted to be in the tower because I am tired already but my friend have been dying to please me to go to that place. Again he didn’t fail me. It was one of a kind. When I saw it, I was so amazed that I had goose bumps. I concluded that it was once in a lifetime opportunity so I must not fail to take a photo op. My friend asked one of the by standers, who happened to be staying in Monas with his boyfriend. Yes, they were both boys.
We stayed there for almost 10 minutes. After then, we went to Jakarta’s biggest mall. I just forgot the name but it was composed of 8 floors. It was jaw-dropping—very cold, very expensive goods, people in there are elites. But one thing that surprised me, on the 8th floor, they have a sex lounge. Yes, you read it right, a sex lounge where prostitution is legal. My friend told me that you just have to bring your passport, if you are a foreigner, and a just compensation, then you are good to go with hot, sexy, and beautiful girls. I just don’t know whether males are available.
My trip to Indonesia is really unexpected. I have encountered plenty of trials and circumstances just to make my trip possible. Of course, it wouldn’t have been meaningful without the support of the people who really cared for me. My seminar, “International Conference on Youth for Peace” gave me the idea that there are numerous people in this world are also looking forward for peace. Not only youths, but also the middle-aged people. With that, I conclude that peace has always an effort to make everyone united.
In terms tourism, I will encourage you to go to Indonesia. Not because of the traffic, but because of the nice and hospitable people that will accept you no matter what your raise is. I guess, anyone in this world has that unique identity because I have mingled with at least 55 nationalities during the conference. And I am not guilty of not making friends for that 3-day wholesome event.
Indonesia is one of a kind. That’s all I can say, that’s all.