Markets, an erection and ex-pat beers
01.02.2013 - 01.02.2013
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We checked in to our new hotel last night, very nice and a great location. It must also be located very near to a mosque as we were woken by the 4am call to prayer – TripAdvisor had mentioned the noise from the street could be an issue. It was very soft and melodic though, really made us aware we’re in a foreign country. Right next door to our hotel was a local market. We were there at lunch time and it was packed with locals having lunch (we were the only westerners there). We picked up a couple of $2 t-shirts and 60c DVDs. I also effortlessly bargained a $15 pair of sunglasses down to $2 (footnote, they broke two days later). Apparently Friday is also Batik Day, the day when all government workers must wear batik shirts. Takes casual Friday to a new level.
We then strolled the short walk to the National Monument, known as Monas and also ingloriously dubbed “Sukarno’s final erection”. The 132m high monument was commissioned by then President Sukarno in 1965 (he was removed by General Suharto in a coup the following year) and is Jakarta’s principle landmark. Monas also contains the National History Museum in its cavernous base – 48 dioramas depicting Indonesia’s struggle for independence. The Dutch are not treated favourably and the many uprisings are celebrated while the 1966 Suharto coup and the subsequent communist purge (up to a million people slaughtered) are completely glossed over. The views from the top, however, are outstanding and we were lucky to catch a windy day that seemed to clear most of the smog away. As usual we attracted our fair share of admirers.
For dinner we returned to our favourite dodgy backpacker bar. A few quiet beers turned into a lot more once we hooked up with a table of ex-pats working in Jakarta. The Bintangs flowed, a very enjoyable night.