Saturday, 16 January // Gallery and Kota Kasablanca
Today Rendi (IG: @rendimuhammad) scooped me at my apartment in his motorbike. I hop on and we drive for about 30 minutes from West Jakarta to the National Gallery of Indonesia (which people call the Elephant Building [Indonesian: Gedung Gajah] since there's a giant elephant statue in front).
Oh -- yeah, I was actually featured on the news in my county in Florida because they requested me to send them a video interview responding to some questions they had about the feeling in Jakarta after the terrorism the other day. I was breaking news :)
On the drive to the national gallery, Rendi gives me a driving tour of some big malls through our route and the presidential neighborhood (realllllyyyy nice houses). It's actually quite nice to ride the motorbike through Jakarta, it's much faster and smoother than taking a car and you have the wind in your face (but also the pollution so...).
So we arrive to the national gallery a bit before the galleries open (I think they were closed for lunch or something? they didn't open until 1pm). We just chill outside, aka sweat outside, until we can get inside the aircon. We visited first the temporary gallery that features specific artists. Really interesting art pieces, they feel sort of rough and unfinished but intentionally so... discussing sort of contemporary issues in Jakarta and Indonesia that are a consequence of the country's past.
Rendi tells me he's moving to Vanatu for a new job he really wanted to get. Shit, that's cool man. He'll move in early February to this little island close to Fiji - it takes almost 12 hours to get there from Jakarta. Have fun dude.
Rendi's friend Tryono (IG: @tryonotaqwa) comes to join us at this gallery. He's the tallest kid in his year in school, but still maybe 3 cm shorter than me. We wrap up in that building and switch to the permanent display of historical and contemporary art in Indonesia. Really nice shit. It's a relatively large gallery condensed across one floor (maybe the same quantity of pieces on display as two or three floors of the Whitney?).
We're all getting tired by the end of this gallery, so we decide we should go to eat at Kota Kasablanca nearby for some Chinese food. On our way out, we see there's actually a second wing of modern media art and we briefly check it out as well. It's weird and cool. These youthful artists blend technology, television, noise, and glass with traditional media arts in exploring the culture of Indonesia as it is influenced by new technology.
We finally leave the museum. I pop on Rendi's motorbike and Tryono orders an ojek (motorbike taxi). The mall is quite far from the museum, so I chill on the back of the motorbike and check out the view while Rendi tries to avoid afternoon traffic. We get to the mall first, Rendi parks his bike, and we go inside to the restaurant. This mall is massive - not as big as Grand Indonesia, but still like 6 floors and each floor seems to go on forever. Rendi suggests I put my backpack on the empty chair at our table. I'm nervous to do it (I don't want someone to walk by and grab it), but I do it anyway to overcome this nervousness. Anyway Tryono joins us a few minutes later and we order chicken feet, cha siu bao, mantou, noodles, and eventually shaved ice as well. I really missed Chinese food so much. It's all delicious.
After we eat, we go to the Nike a few floors up so I can grab some new sneakers. I end up buying a pair of all white Kaishi Runs. It's ok. I kind of wanted something different but they're quite comfortable and look quite clean. I think they were intended to be the successor to the Roche Runs, but nobody liked them so they sent them all to Indonesia... which is probably why they have them in my size ;). I also pick up some socks and a Nike hat.
We go to a phone store so Rendi can get a new case for his phone... and then I realize maybe they can help me top up my data, so I ask them for help. To be honest the phone services here are so confusing it's worse than the US. You have to buy phone credits that you can then use to buy one of like 100 different packages that all have different data allowances, different bonuses, different 4G allowances, different free times, and different prices. Telkomsel is so confusing hahaha. Anyway, so we eventually figure it out and I get something like 3.5GB plus 1GB for between midnight and 9am plus 1GB of 4G for I think 140,000 rupiah (or about $12). So like ok word.
We're all tired and decide to go home. Rendi brings me home and helps me plan my trip to Bandung (I'm going to Bandung later today). His friend works at the De Batara hotel, so I'm going to stay there and take a travel (like a minibus) from the Kartika Chendra hotel to the De Batara direct. Nice and easy.