Jakarta – Brighter After Dark – A Droll, and Long, Night Out

Just to celebrate the decision of the Canadian Ambassador to make clear the horrendous reality of how badly Ahmadis are treated here, I went out last night and had an excellent time, ending up in a dangdut joint named Puspita. No camera, so no photos, but take my word for it, you’ll enjoy the music and the atmosphere.

As one of my companions, who’s been here twice as long as I have, opined, “This is the real Jakarta!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tvLxwE3Z8I  (in the absence of Puspita pics, here’s a clip from the Lone Star, next door, almost, which is also a very good place)

The broken-heart dangdut faves belted out by lovelies, visible in the dimly-lit bar through a smokey haze, bottles piling up on the tables as his sultry designated hostess lounging hopefully ever closer (she was ultimately disappointed, as he has a wife to whom he’s ever-true!)  his expression suggested a man who’d died and gone to heaven.

We’d been invited to a California ‘wine-tasting’ in a posh hotel, which to me had suggested a few hours of diffident sips, but the generosity of those in charge ensured an endless flow of re-fills, so when it stopped, at 9pm, none of us felt like a quiet home-going.

Off to Blora, that dingy little precinct only a few hundred yards from the glitzy Grand Indonesia hotel/shopping complex.

I’ve visited the Lone Star and the Asmoro, but if you go a wee bit further, there’s the Puspita, and it was excellent, but the wine they offered didn’t impress, so we opted for good ole Bintang Beer.

The consequent saga may be put down to the intermingling of Sauvignon in the party and beer in the club, or to the onset of senility.

What had happened was this –

I came by ojek (motor-bike taxi) from work, thus had my rompi jacket on – rompis are what locals call those sleeveless jackets fitted with multiple pockets, garb both comfy and handy.

When entering the wine-session, security was tight, and even a small coin necessitates a search, so I have learned to pile all my bits n pieces into the rompi pockets and just hand it through the x-ray machine. Once I was through, I put it back on, but another of our group said it was ‘scruffy’ and seized it off me, cramming it into her capacious handbag.

No problem.

However, as stated above, much beer was heaped on a foundation of much wine, not to the point of incapacity, but perhaps focuses became a trifle blurred.

We left late, each on our separate ways, and when I reached home, i felt in my trouser pocket for the house keys.

Aaah, not there, as i’d transferred them to my rompi to ease passage through the security at the wine event.

And that helpful gal had eased me out of the rompi, and she was already long gone home, with said garment still in her handbag ( consolation – at lease she was as de-focussed as me!)

But not much consolation. Way too late to disturb the slumbers of more proper people who might otherwise have afforded me shelter.

Back to the main road, found a taxi ,and headed into town, to find a hotel, cheaper than the one with the wine, and thus awoke on Saturday morn in Blok M’s Blue Pacific!

I’d tried some of the others in the area, not the grottiest but the budget variety, and they were all full, so I decided to give the Blue P a go, though I’d never used it. It’s fine, albeit located in the depths of the red-light area, just along from one of the most infamous bars.

Trudging wearily from full hotel to full hotel, my final walk along that street was punctuated with offers of company, some of them quite tempting, I must admit, but I was so tired, stressed and, yes, a tad de-focussed, that I repulsed each and every advance, politely of course!

The Griyadi BP staff are courteous and efficient, the rooms are clean and in good order, there’s breakfast (buffet – bread and jam, unlimited coffee, white rice and chicken) and free wifi included, and I paid Rp.450,000 for my night on the town!

Oya, my rompi was returned to me on Saturday evening, so I was able to get home at last!

And before closing,  here are some photos of Jakarta after the sun goes down.

——————————————-This 7/11 opened last month.

These 7/11 places sure are sprouting up all over town – this one is right on the main road, Jl. Melawai, in South Jakarta.  Sad to report that another branch, in Salemba, North Jakarta, popular with young Jakartans, was attacked by a biker gang just a week ago.

But in general, this is a city safe to go about in after dark.

I publish these photos from time to time for expats who have returned to their native shores but miss the delight of Jakarta by night! Here are a few more, oldies but goodies!

Blok M Plaza, where we often enjoy meals and movies.

Sarinah, one of the oldest shopping/ entertainment centres, with a good cinema just across the road

Jalan Falatehan, a small street of raucous bars

And here’s a brand-new place!!


Dapur Indonesia ( Indonesian Kitchen) is rather a swish new cafe on Jalan Sabang, that street which nobody calls by its real name, Jalan Agus Salim, the one that runs parallel to Jalan Jaksa and is home to a multiplicity of eateries. I’ve never tried to count them, because the number easily doubles after dark, warungs (food-stalls) sprouting on both sides of the road.

I was actually heading for Ya Udah, an excellent resto, when I spotted the place in the photo, and decided to try it instead.

It’s bright and clean and has plenty of waiters and waitresses happy to serve you.

Its prices are reasonable, Rp. 8000 for an iced tea and under Rp.30,000 for a nasi goreng, (fried rice) but alas, like the excellent Lebanese restaurant across the street, it doesn’t sell beer, so will remain an outlet favoured by families, many of whom arrived while I sat nursing my iced tea!

And I think that’s exactly what the management prefers!  

It’s nice, and a good place to read a paper-back in peace.