Monday, 11 January // Some local activities

Whew ok. Hi squad. Thank you so much for reading my blog! I woke up feeling a little sick yesterday :( My throat hurt, and I didn't want to get out of bed... so I didn't! I spent the morning working here on the previous two posts on blog and relaxed in my hotel. Oh and I had a delicious breakfast at the Waha Kitchen of Kosenda Hotel: I had muesli with yogurt, some melons and watermelons, and a hot coffee - black. Delicious!

In the afternoon, I went to the Setiabudi District of South Jakarta to meet with my friend Christina (no IG) at Setiabudi One - a shopping mall in the area. To get there, I ordered an Uber and went downstairs to wait for it. The GPS said it was here, but I couldn't find it... and then the hotel guards were so helpful, this one guy stood out in the middle of street like dodging motorbikes and cars to look for it for me haha. Thanks brotha! Finally, my uber shows up and we're making our way through the (moderate) traffic through some off-the-main roads dotted with ramshackle deteriorating small homes as well as multistory mansions guarded behind gates twice my height. The rich and poor live side-by-side in Jakarta - keeps you sane I think. I was getting stressed in the car because motorbikes kept whizzing by so fast in the afternoon traffic. Afraid one of them might hit my car.

Fortunately, arrived okay to the Setiabudi One - it's a short, narrow, and wide mall that is covered but situated in the outside air. I couldn't find Christina so I parked myself at the Starbucks (lol), got wifi, and messaged her with my location. She eventually found me and we went upstairs to a local coffee place, Anomali (like anomaly but pronounced more like animal). Got some iced coffee and we chatted for about an hour until I realized I forgot to eat lunch at it was already almost 4pm, so I dragged her with me to this ramen place and you had to use different chopsticks if you eat pork versus chicken!! Apparently it is because in Islam you cannot use even the utensils that have touched pork. I got ramen. She got ice cream :D Christina grew up in Jakarta and now she works as a content writer here.

We went back to Anomali and got some more coffee but at this point it was really humid out and I was sweating so much so I called an uber back to my hotel, which Christina helped me order since I don't have a SIM card yet, and we dropped her off at an ojek (like taxi but with motorbike :o) on the way back. I relaxed for a few hours, then finally at around 10:30 left to meet up with a friend Ester and her sister in the Kemang neighborhood of Mampang Prapatan subdistrict of South Jakarta. Kemang is an expat neighborhood with lots of foreigners. They were coming from Depok, a city about one hour drive south of Jakarta. 

This experience getting the Uber was a bit easier, but arriving the destination was MUCH harder! We were meeting up to smoke shisha at a Lebanese lounge in the neighborhood called Shisha Cafe. But the address of the lounge brings you to a dead end at the back of a sketchy narrow street. Whoops. And I can't speak Indonesian and no connection. My driver asked a few people where it was located and we drove in a few circles. At this point, I'm pretty set that I'll need to just go back to my hotel and cancel (RUDE!). And then we pull up next to a 15-foot shisha statue. Yep must be it. So I pop out and run inside and Ester waves from some couches to my left. She goes to school in Tennessee and her little sister studies in Perth but is transferring to study in Kuala Lumpur. They're both really nice and really friendly! I still had some residual discomfort from my stressful taxi ride, but the sisters were super chill. Within a few minutes I wasn't stressed anymore. They had already ordered some tea, french fries, and baklava... but I was hungry because I forgot to eat dinner (lol I think I see a pattern) and so I ordered some hummus with shawarma and a jasmine tea. 

Btw I'm listening to the call to prayer as I write this, total boss status on the guy doing the call right now he's a legend.

Anyway, we got some orange-apple shisha from our waiter (who is wearing the most ridiculous costume hahaha like straight out of a bad 1970s Arab-themed porn flick, same thing with waitress). Also the place looks nothing like the pics on the website haha - interior design is kinda tacky and pretty basic architecture, but the couches were mad comfortable. Shisha is good and so is the food. We chat about American stuff, but we have to leave in just one hour since I arrived so late due to the lost taxi driver. Also, I don't think there was any alc in the cafe? not sure why since they have it everywhere else. We get our bill (like 400,000 rupiah - about $40 usd) and then order cars and dip. I listen to this Spotify playlist on the ride home.

Once I get back, I eat some nasi goreng (fried rice) with sate ayam (chicken satay), shrimp (?), and a fried chicken (ayam goreng) at the outside lounge and chat with my waiter about good surf spots near Jakarta. Might go to Tjimadja for some surfing this month.

I couldn't take a lot of pictures yesterday since it was raining most of the afternoon (today also), but here's what I got: