We recently moved into our "permanent" house and have been very excited to explore our new neighborhood. The great news is that there are some interesting restaurants nearby and we found the shortcut to the local Grand Lucky supermarket. We can also walk to four different malls, including the one I will be hosting events at as part of my job!
In fact my friends who live in other major cities around the world would be positively jealous at how close we are to these things.
Here's the thing tough. Indonesians don't believe in walking anywhere. I have been told that in their minds only poor people walk. This probably has a lot of influence on the traffic situation in Jakarta.
It is however much easier to explore your surroundings on foot than from the back seat of the car. Since I am not driving myself I have trouble yelling out to our driver " Wait Stop! I want to explore that shop"
And many of the places I listed above are actually quicker to get to on foot. (this would be a good time to go back to the archives and read about Jakarta traffic if you haven't already). Also many times due to one way streets the trip there or back really is farther than if you just hoof it.
Now if you are reading this and you don't work for the State Department you may not know this little fact. We have a guard at our house. We are completely gated in and actually have to knock to have him let us out, we can use our own keys but he usually looks affronted when we do that since we didn't let him do his job. So I give a big shout out to the U.S. State Department for keeping us safe but we do feel a bit like we live in a castle.
With all this in mind....we went out to explore this weekend. On Sunday, Z and I set out once the rain had stopped and headed over to one of the malls. I swear the guard was shaking his head a bit as we headed out on foot. Also the guard down the street who looks after another State Department family. It all went pretty well. We got to mall, did our shopping then headed back for home. Once we left the building though we discovered it was pouring. So we donned our rain gear and headed home. I'll be damned if I was going to get a taxi to go 1.5 kilometers.
This means we arrived at our gate looking a little damp. The guard smiled and let us in but I am sure he was shaking his head and had that "silly American" look in his eye.
I'm glad we can keep him entertained.