Jakartan luxuries

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February 5th 2012
Published: February 8th 2012
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Yesterday was a lovely end to the week. My colleague sent her driver (who spoke no English at all) to pick me up at 9am to take me to a highly recommended spa. For less than $75 I had three hours of a massage, body scrub, body mask, and a mani/pedi. It was so relaxing! The place was beautiful, with private spa rooms complete with a shower and tub. And the scents of burning oils strategically placed in corners were delicious.

After the spa, I had lunch by myself at a Thai restaurant called La Na Thai. Some of the best pad Thai I have ever had. My American colleague who is here for another project later met me at the restaurant, and we went shopping at an antique market. The market was a long line of tiny stalls filled with all sorts of unique items, from chandeliers to creepy woodcarvings to antique cameras. All of the vendors were men, most of who were smoking unfiltered cigarettes as they invited me “just have look” in their shops. It started to downpour at one point, and a vendor motioned me into his shop and pulled out a tiny stool for me to sit on until the rain passed.

The driver then dropped my colleague at a rug shop while he took me to a department store called Pasaraya. It’s a 10 or so story building with a different department on each floor, but it was recommended because the 5th floor has batik clothing (traditional Indonesia patterns with characteristic dots). I paced around all of the vendors’ sections there, trying on skirts and dresses, but nothing fit unless it was XXXL. I am a beast here in Indonesia—very tall and much thicker than almost everyone. Thus, their clothes are tiny. I did manage to find a beautiful navy and green skirt with a batik pattern.

After the shopping spree, I met my colleagues at a gigantic mall call Sanayara. There was a 21 screen movie theater where we saw the latest Mark Walhberg film, Contraband, at the request of my Indonesian colleague. The theater was brand new and air conditioned and clean, and tickets were the equivalent of $5. The mall was bright and gorgeous, with Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, and Burberry stores, among others. Jakarta is truly a place for high-class people (as well as the extremely poor). But I feel incredibly plain next to some of the women I’ve seen strutting around in tight miniskirts, spiked heels, and designer shades, carrying designer handbags. My long skirts, hiking pants, and Keen sandals seem a bit out of place here.

After dinner we had miso ramen soup at a Japanese restaurant in the mall, one of dozens of restaurants available. I was still exhausted from jetlag, but it was delicious. Luckily my hotel is right down the street and I could crawl into bed quickly.

This morning I have been enjoying the luxuries at my hotel, Hotel Mulia, which is Chinese owned and has 1000 rooms with 80-90%!c(MISSING)apacity each night. I worked out in the impressive fitness center, ordered room service for breakfast, and took a long bath in the gigantic garden tub. I head to Bogor in West Java this afternoon by car. I hope it is as nice as my experience in Jakarta.


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