Last 9 or 10 months have been difficult for me, from many reasons. I have had to deal with a loss in my family followed by the loss of my job and many other good stuff and bad stuff in between.
I had plenty of time to write, but did not feel motivated. In the UK weather does not really help if you are down 😦 So, I needed to make some changes in my life to make the sun rise on my street again. We are at the sunrise now, but it’s getting better…my head is buzzing with ideas and working with inspiring people for an interesting start-up.
As my blog is mainly about travels, I decided to combine 2 things from now on: travels – as everyone should expect and food. You cannot go on without a good meal or something to keep you going. By food, I mean recipes that I am happy to cook and share with my friends and family whenever I go. All that’s needed are some basic tools so that you can replicate them no matter where you are.
Okaaay…so, just about 2 weeks ago, me and my husband came back from a 2 weeks mini-holiday in Indonesia. Well, I should probably say, Jakarta. I have quickly checked if I have wrote before about Jakarta as this was our 3rd time there. And yes, I have found an older post. You can read it here. The reason to go there was to attend one of our friends’ wedding and to take a break from the “normal life” here in the UK.
If you travel to Indonesia, you will probably spend a day or two in Jakarta. I will not talk about the traffic, it’s the same as it was in our previous trips – horrible. Just stay in the downtown and take the buses to commute, or the Go Jek, Go Grab or Uber will take anywhere you want faster than in a car. If you do want to be adventurous, however, you MUST take a face mask to filter the dust and pollution while breathing.
Jakarta is also notorious for its shopping centers, over the top (in places) houses – I was associating them with the gypsy style houses (no pun intended), many construction sites – sign of a growing economy, fashion and if you know where to look – super tasty food.
In the 2 weeks we have been there, I have tried a lot of delicious food – from starters to mains to desserts. The options and variety is mind blowing. I wish we had something like that or at least a fraction of that variety here in Cambridge.
So what have we actually did in those 2 weeks? Well…nothing much. Jakarta is not a touristic destination. It has an old town with some cute colonial buildings and a main square – where you must pay attention to your belongings. Pickpockets and thefts, I have been told, are a common thing there. There are some coffee shops, ice cream shops and an art gallery. Probably with more investment in the area, more tourists will come – local and foreign.
The really first thing we do when we go to Indonesia is to have a full body massage. I love it. It has some weird side effects on my body, only when I am back to Europe, I can start to see the effects. 🙂 Full body massage or reflexology is a must.
Then we went for shopping for days in a row. It seems that there are so many malls with lots of shops, which in reality they feel like there is a lot of wasted space. Malls are a common place to hang-out for locals, so don’t be surprised if you go to a mall at lunch time or dinner time and it’s full of people everywhere. 🙂
The only times we went outside Jakarta was when we went to Ancol – a sort of a theme park nearby Jakarta and Bogor.
In Bogor the plan was to go to a mountain but because the traffic was so slow, and the weather not very nice – we were nearby the mountain and we could not see it because of the fog – we decided to head to the city. We have visited the presidential park which is impressive. Very well maintained and a nice place to spend some time outside – bear in mind that it’s very hot, humid and in the shadow lots of mosquitoes will be happy to suck your blood, so take some anti-mosquitoes spray or creme and wear long trousers. In the same park there are hundreds of deer. You will not be allowed to walk to them, however, because their pastures are too close to the presidential house. The only way to see them close enough will be to walk outside the park and they will come to the fence.
Ancol, as I have mentioned is a theme park with many attractions for young and adults. The Aquarium is small but nice. You are allowed to touch small sharks and turtles…not sure how comfortable those animals feel when hundreds of people want to touch them. Also in Ancol there is a local market (for tourists), aqua park, a cabin car . Keep in mind that once you buy a return ticket you will not be able to leave your cabin car (unless you want to purchase another return ticket). I have seen plenty of choices for children to play and some nice restaurants too. The beach and the water, in general, were dirty. Do not swim there.
The last and the brightest moment of our trip was our friend’s wedding. It was for the first time, for me, to attend an Indonesian wedding. I have seen plenty of pictures on Instagram with Indonesian weddings and I was super excited to actually attend one. The venue was great, the food I have tried, was delicious. A wedding reception in Indonesia (not everywhere is the same, there are exceptions) is about 3 hours, no longer than that. It is an event for the parents to entertain their families and friends and it’s a very good occasion to show off. It is not a party for the newlyweds, as we have here in Europe. So this new concept may surprise someone who is alien to this tradition. Probably in other countries around Asia is the same as in Indonesia.
For me, the brightest part of the whole process was the pre-wedding lunch. Which felt like THE wedding party and the religious ceremony. Fantastic service and a funny priest who kept the groom on his toes and those present awake and entertained.
I wish my friend and his wife a happy and very very long life together! It was an honor and pleasure to be part of their important day and I hope that when their children get married, the party will be about them – the children – and less about the parents 😛 😀
Travel safe and wise!