Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas in Jakarta

Spending Christmas in Jakarta was to me not the best of choices as I have always managed to celebrate it somewhere other than here (England, Lombok and Bali) but it seemed 2011 did not give me a lot of choice so I decided to move into a hotel and try to enjoy Christmas in Jakarta.

I moved into the Akmani (hotel review here) hotel in the city, near Jalan Jacksa and Sarinah. Not far from Grand Indonesia shopping village, the Monas and Gambir railway station, so it is close to most places and easy to travel out from there. The hotel was nice overall and that helped the day.

A couple of weeks ago I attended the annual works pub quiz at Eastern Promise in Kemang and while I was there, reserved a table for Christmas day as they seemed to have all the trimmings and the food etc to help make the day special. So I was looking forward to that.

I took a couple of days off work before the school finished for the holidays to chill and enjoy some extra time. It also allowed me to go Christmas shopping and get some bits and pieces I needed. I did my shopping in Central Park as it is next door and for a change, it was quite enjoyable. I do like being stared at in ladies fashion stores as I look at skirts and tops for my fiancee. Makes it far more fun.

Christmas Eve came and so I loaded all the presents up and headed into the city. Checking into the hotel I settled down for a bit, before deciding to go for beer and food. I ended up in Ya uhdas restaurant. The restaurant is a great place to eat and drink and the food is mainly european and well priced. The curry was good and the beer cold. The restaurant used to be in Jalan Jaksa but it moved. To get there, go past the Morressey hotel. When you see a Permata bank go right and look for a building with orange and yellow railings and awnings. It always looks closed but it never is.

Stopping off in the local Hero at Sarinah, I loaded up with beer and snacks and settled into the hotel for a night of bad TV, internet and time with my fiancee.  At midnight I spoke to many friends in England, wishing them happy Christmas as they are 7 hours behind and that was good.
At 6.30am I spoke to some sober friends in England as they were just about to celebrate Christmas day and I had already started!
Gifts opened and played with (in the corner), breakfast and then out for coffee and then to Kemang.

The AC for some reason was not working or switched on in EP (Eastern Promise) and that made it more cosy and hot. Our table was ready and the place itself was fairly packed. The meal offer was standard christmas farye for 185+++ but instead of plated food, it was actually a buffet which was really good. The food was hot, well prepared. The turkey and Gammon was really nice and despite no sprouts, everything else I would eat for Christmas was there.

 Ate all my food, and certainly drank all my wine. Thats was nice. The original wine was unavailable so I opted for the house red with arrived in a Jacobs Creek bottle, now whether it was Jacobs Creek I could not tell you but who cares, it was wine and it was good and it went well with the food and it made me smiley and  helped the day along lovely. The food as my place clearly shows was great and the fact EP provided Christmas Crackers as well made the meal far more fun and homely. It was a good choice to go there for Christmas.

Taxi back to the local Hero for more beer and then an afternoon of drinking and TV only leaving the hotel for Pizza and some coffee and then back to the hotel for TV and yes, more beer.
I phoned my parents around 8pm to wish them Happy Christmas, as is family tradition, mum was already on the gin and father was watching Morecombe and Wise on TV so they were happy. For me, this has to be the most difficult time of the year, as I do miss my family and friends back home. However, everyone back home and my fiancee have been wonderful and so the homesickness has been kept at bay.

So, Christmas in Jakarta is certainly not the best place to celebrate it, if you like lots of activity and Christmas spirit. But if you are in excellent company, have good food and fun times then it does not matter where you are as that feeling can still be felt.
Boxing Day (26th December) was spent taking life easy and doing not much. Watching the football now and  thats a nice way to end the Christmas festivities.

Friday, I am back off to Bali for New Year. I am meeting old dear friends from England which is great and it will interesting to see the New Year Celebrated in Balinese / drunken Australian style. Can't wait.
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