Mangga Dua, Malam Minggu


When my offspring came to stay a while in Jakarta, one of the fave finds for shopping purposes was Mangga Dua, a huge, sprawling place that has parts that almost resemble traditional markets, and shiny modern computer zones. It straddles a busy road, connected by a ‘bridge’ which is really just another shopping precinct.

Those little blue microlets ( no. 39) zoom back and forth all day between Kota Station and Mangga Dua, 10 minutes max, Rp 2500. Our driver back to Kota at twilight time chose to save time by taking the wrong lane! But the on-coming traffic didn’t seem to mind his wayward ways, merely parting, like the Red Sea before the Israelites!

Not being a big fan of shopping, I was nevertheless persuaded to go there yesterday, in search of bargain bedding (not the sort that Ramadan forbids!) and one of those little cooling pad tables that this lap-top is now perched on.

I’d been told not to pay more than Rp.50K, but having the good sense not to shop alone – always take an Indonesian, and preferably hide behind an adjacent pillar while she does the dealing – the cooling pad was ours within minutes of our arrival, only 40K!

Since good prices should benefit both sides of the bargain, we got a plastic cover for the key-board there too, as I tend to distribute crumbs, cigarette ash and even occasionally Whiskas over-flow, as Ibi Cat often joins me here, this corner of the living-room being the centre of the domestic universe! 

The Food Court – there are several – had a large Smoking Forbidden sign standing prominently within its area, so I dutifully refrained, until I saw several other diners, housewives, idlers, etc., lighting up, no single word of reproach from the numerous staff.  I remarked on this, and was reminded that ‘This is Indonesia!’

Getting the king-size sheets etc was slightly more complicatied than the computery things, for the only nearby hiding-place was fully occupied, so I wandered round to the far side and hung over the railing, watching the ebb and flow of commerce. This was no great hardship, for the sales-girls are mostly young, pretty and well-packaged, while many of the shoppers were of similar description. 

Bedding acquired, starting price Rp.250K, down to Rp.190, we headed for home, but the bus I usually get home from Kota was not to be seen, so it was a Busway ride to Komdak, then, as the goodies we’d purchased were getting heavier, a luxury taxi the rest of the way. 

A longer day than might have been, had the demos not made traffic tiresome, but nonetheless a pleasant one.