Saturday, February 14, 2015

Our city from two sides

Jakarta is such an interesting city of contrasts. A predominately Muslim city, you will see women in hijab but also women in heels and a mini skirt often side by side and on occasion together.  Its also a city of extreme wealth and extreme poverty. A city where you can shop for amazing bargains but also shop for Ferraris in the mall.  

Today was an one of those days when I experienced both ends of the city. 

This morning I joined some of my new friends from work to explore Pasar Tanah Abang, the largest fabric market in South East Asia. It was an amazing experience diving in to the market but better yet with a guide who speaks the local language and knows where he is going. Heru knew just where to take us for great fabric finds and good prices. It was lots of fun to hang out with the group and decide what we were going to have made with our treasures. Now I just need to get together with one of the tailors that have been recommended to me and I will have some great new dresses and skirts.

The market wasn't only a great place for treasures it was a great way for people watching. There were swarms of people, not just shopping but selling all sorts of goods. Everything from street food to t-shirts to toys with flashing lights, bedding to ready made clothing.
I was told that people come from all over the country to shop here and ship thing back home to resell so you will see people from everywhere.

After a couple hours shopping I came home to meet Z for our Valentines "date". T is out of the country and she and I decided to be each others special date for the day. We planned weeks ago we would have afternoon tea at the Dharmawangsa Hotel. Its the best hotel in the city and is across the street from our old house and it is everything you would expect from a beautiful high end hotel. It has the feel of an old British hotel with an Asian twist. The place smells sweetly of jasmine, its wonderful and there is the sound of gamolan music floats through the air.

We had our seats in the tea room and explored the menu. We split the afternoon tea and I had the jasmine green tea and Z went for the white tea.  

They brought us a feast of little sandwiches, Indonesian treats and little sweets and chocolates. It was enak sekali (that's delicious) and quite a contrast from my morning. 
My date was lovely too.

It was an interesting day to enjoy our cities extremes.

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