Sunday, 26 August 2012

Gelora Bung Karno Stadium

Being married is all about sharing caring and making sacrifices and what more can a married man do than to agree to get up at 6am in the morning and go with the wife jogging, despite drinking the night before and desperately needing a lie in and a chance not to wake up before 8am, still that can happen next time. 
So up at 6 off we went to find somewhere to jog and that place happened to be at the main sports stadium of Gelora Bung Karno at Senayan. 
Every Sunday now in the city in the morning is now car free which means from Senayan to Thamrin only TransJakarta buses can enter. Push bikes, roller blades, skateboards, and people on foot are also allowed but cars and bikes etc have to find other ways around the city. Now that's OK today as there are still lots of people coming home from Pulang Kampung but next week it will be more crowded.
Anyway, after paying the security guard 5000 rupiah ( I think it was only meant to be 2000, but it helps prevent my helmet get stolen) we headed to the stadium. 
The place is locked and you can not get inside it, which is a pity but instead you and countless others get to go anti-clockwise around it for as long as you want. 
My wife went off running or something and I staggered round taking in the morning air and the sounds of peaceful people not shouting or screaming and which was very refreshing. Totally ignored by all I was free to take some pictures and I even managed to walk around the outside of the stadium twice. 

The walkers / runners

Social at 7am

Nice Statue

Ball Seller

Inside the stadium through the fence, it looks quite nice.

It appears that if you need free medical check ups then Sunday morning there are free consultations, there are also keep fit classes, Tai Chi sessions, more badminton than is probably necessary, bikes and runners and walkers and promoters promoting allsorts as well as the never ending vendors selling food and drinks all the way round from behind the fence. 
However for me, the best thing was that the whole area around the stadium was completely free of litter, nothing on the floor, no-one throwing stuff about and people seemed to be more aware to keep the place clean and tidy. If only this could manifest itself to the rest of the cities open spaces.

Anyway after an hour, we went back home and I went back to bed thoroughly tired out from watching everyone keeping fit. 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Food Stalls

Whilst out and about I came across a wide range of food stalls and so I thought I would share pictures with you. This post may be updated on a frequent basis.

Soto Ayam or spicy yellow chicken soup which is really very tasty.

Baso Sapi or Beef Meatballs, basically grey balls of no name meat with noodles.

Soups, Meatballs, Rice and things. Cart complete with Awning and chairs

Just drinks, cigarettes and mobile phone vouchers

Coconuts, Ice and not much else. Very nice, very sweet and very filling

Fried stuff, don't know what, Very popular and quite nice

Traditional Icecream and lollies

Empties and more stocks

More returns and stock for later

TransJakarta Buses

Wanting more excitement in life but within some safety for a change, I decided to ride the TransJakarta Busway across the city from Mampang in the south to Kota Tua in the north, changing only once at Dukuh Atas.
For 3500 rupiah you can literally ride all over the city as long as you don't get off the system and you are prepared to shaken, vibrated and squeezed, pushed and pulled, sneezed on, stepped on and basically want to feel hot and sweaty in the company of a bus load of strangers.
The network of bus lanes is huge and is continuing to grow. You can go from Kalideres in the west to somewhere called Pulogandung in the east or from Ancol in the north to Kampung Rambutan in the south.

The system is easy to use and almost friendly. All the shelters are signed with the direction of the bus and if you are lucky there are announcements made before each stop so you know where you are. There are no maps of the network on the buses that I saw but you never know there might be.
As a rule the busway is over subscribed and you normally have to fight your way on and off the buses and then when you need to change bus routes you have to queue in shelters waiting for the buses to come. There are a lot of buses so it seems you don't have to wait that long. At Dukuh Atas you have to change to get the bus for the Blok M Kota route. This passes Harmoni Bus hub which is just not nice when full of people and with no ac and lots of noise never a favourite spot of mine. 
However as luck would have it, you don't have to change as the bus goes straight into Kota which is good.

For some reason getting out of the busway system at Kota involves an underpass and a circular walk down before going back up. As normal the signage is limited and getting back to Busway shelter at Kota involved climbing through a broken fence and then back through the underpass again. Bizarre, there must be another way I am not aware of. 

Still I wont complain too much for the price.  Due to it being the holiday the bus to Kota was completely empty so it allowed me to take in the interior of the bus. The ripped seats, dirty air vents, damaged doors and dirty windows and signs. The buses are so over used they are wearing out fast although I am sure a good wash at the end of the day would help preserve them a little longer. 

As for the drivers, the ones I had stopped for old ladies to cross the bus lane, jammed on brakes due to motorbikes pulling out in front of them and basically seemed to drive carefully across the city. I can  appreciate a little more when reading about the accidents on the bus way how hard it is for the driver to control these things. Trains kills people every day as people cross the tracks with out looking and the bus lanes are no different. More bridges across the 8 lane roads, traffic lights and crossings with enforced rules would help things along. But I guess it will never be the fault of anyone but the bus driver when accidents occur as they should know that motorbikes, people, cars, kids will  consider themselves more important and have right of way in the dedicated busway lanes which are for buses only.
As a motorbike rider who crosses the city everyday I will not ride in bus lanes as bikers treat them as race tracks, the police stop lots of people and they even more dangerous than the rest of the road. I guess they will never be entirely safe until there is 2 meter high fence between it and the rest of the road, I live in hope.

For more information about the busway go here


Monday, 20 August 2012

Idul Fitri 2012 Jakarta

I have again not gone away for Idul Fitri 2012 unlike 4 or 5 million other people in Jakarta, although they are returning to homes in far off towns and villages to celebrate the end of the fasting month, instead I am more than happy to remain behind in Jakarta and enjoy the serene quiet and peace.
The street where I live has turned for the most, into a silent inactive place with no food sellers, vendors, motorbikes, cars, kids or dogs making any noise for the past few days and even the kost on the other side of the road has ceased its nightly music parties for the past 3 nights. In fact its a bit too quiet! Happily however, there is a motorbike being revved for no real reason outside the house as I speak so I think things are returning to normal gradually.
Living in a Muslim community and close to the mosques and surrounded by houses I was somewhat expecting my nights sleep to be ruined on the night the fasting finished, however there was only a little noise from a passing troupe of drummers and the fireworks were lack lustre and of no real consequence at all. I was quite let down. 
I am not sure if it is the fact the area I live in is full of kosts (boarding houses) which means everyone has left to go home that makes the area quieter than normal or perhaps the celebrations are not so merry and full on.
Certainly with Independence Day falling 2 days before the end of fasting and therefore a long weekend for all meant everyone left town a bit earlier which was pleasant.
I took a trip to Central Park to do some shopping and for a change went via Transjakarta Busway. For 3500 rupiah you can ride all over the city as long as you dont exit a station. The trip took just over 30 minutes which is roughly the same time as a motorbike as the driver was in no hurry. We had to change buses once. Both buses were dirty and run down and looked like they took a beating from the continual use every day. The AC was barely working but luckily the bus was not overfull. I used to take the Busway when I was living in Cengkareng as it was cheap and easy to get to the city and it still is but the overcrowding and lack of security despite there being guards on board still make me feel uneasy about being on them and the people are so rude. Pushing to get on and off and fighting for seats. The Busway has introduced a female seating area which seems well controlled on my journey but I guess if people are treated like cattle then they will act like cattle. Certainly all sense of personal space disappears as soon as you get on them and the gap between bus and shelter is fairly wide. 
Still I am taking them for the rest of the week so that will be fun as I plan to ride about and see the city for a change, as I have not done that this week. 
Central Park was full of bored looking, maidless families wandering about in the cool air trying to keep the kids happy. Clearly some of the people wandering around had run out of every day clothes as there is no one to wash the clothes for them so they were wearing what ever they had left. If only I was less sensitive about photographing people I would share pictures with you, but alas I am.
I took a taxi back. No bus. Too much for one day.

So for me the annual celebration in the city is a far quieter affair than normal, the roads are less congested but still seem busier than last year. I will take some photos of my adventures on the bus tomorrow and where ever it will take me and go from there. 

Sunday, 12 August 2012

English Breakfast Jakarta

Been a hot and slow weekend, and I have not really ventured too far from home as I am tired. Work is pretty much full on and so I needed a chance to relax and wind down before getting wound up again for work next week. The good news is that next week, is the final week before the break for lebaran and end of Ramadhan and the big Idul Fitry celebration. Jakarta will empty out, the pollution will lessen and the roads become quieter. The TV news for Indonesia comes from a toll way in Central Java showing traffic reports and motorists who have broken down on their long trip across the country as people go to their home towns and villages and celebrate with family the end of the fasting.
So after work this weekend I took a taxi out to Kemang and visited the only British restaurant in Jakarta, Bangers and Mash.
It does seem that Bangers and Mash has a big following from the Brits here and now I can see why. I will pretty quickly state that I am rather lucky I don't live too close to it or I have to travel past it to my work otherwise I would just get fatter and fatter as the food is great and so I will have to make frequent trips back just for the pies and sausage rolls.
The place itself does look like typical cafes in England I have been in minus the ash trays and dirty sauce bottles and with the lack of AC running it felt hot as well, which was good.
I ate the full English all day breakfast and it was great. I will mention that hot tea did not seem apparent and to be honest it would have completed the meal but still it was good food and a nice place to go. We left with sausage rolls and pies to go!! Which were great. 
I am sure to return as the menu of sausages and pastries need to be worked through and I never saw any scotch eggs which I need to get hold of.

Go here for the website and menu

 Fantasic table mats in Bangers and Mash!

 Full English.............
From there a trip to Starbucks to keep the wife happy and then home for a quiet night in, in front of the telly with a few gins to round Saturday off nicely.

At some point over the weekend I have visited my local supermarkets and have left both feeling rather disappointed as they are just terrible. My local is Giant in Mampang and on the whole is pretty good at service and range and the quality of meat and veg is often better than most I have seen, but I use the word often loosely. So what with it being Ramadhan and fasting month and the supermarkets selling bottles of Syrup and Tins of biscuits galore at the moment, you expect it to be busier and more chaotic than normal. But I did not expect the staff and service to have vanished. The pricing of products has become even more misleading, basic foodstuffs not available and whilst stocking shelves in the day is needed, from experience, leaving cardboard and mess everywhere so customers can not shop or get down the aisles is very annoying. On the flip side Anchor Beer is currently 11,000 a can!
Mampang nearing 6pm

Then we needed to get some more stuff so we went to Tendean Plaza where there is a Carrefour express. The plaza itself is becoming emptier and emptier with the KFC gone. The place must be going bankrupt if KFC moved out! The department store is becoming emptier and emptier and the Carrefour is still busy'ish but the range of produce and meat is getting smaller. The fresh meat was terrible and again the produce was lacking in some basic foodstuffs.
But Carrefour express still has lots of things to get so it was not too bad except for someone else kids constantly screaming and running around the place, knocking things over and getting in the way. Sigh, I should he used to that by now, running a school but no...

And then with the great weather Jakarta is having ( a British viewpoint not necessarily shared by Indonesians) and the full on sunshine days and rainless weeks, it seems the ground water well is soon to be an empty ground water well as the pressure is getting less and less and the water sometimes stops coming out of the taps. I am now considering doing a rain dance to induce rain in South Jakarta. 

Still its the holidays from Friday and Friday doubles as Independence Day, 67 years of freedom from colonial rule and oppression which is always fun and full of noise and fireworks followed by the end of the month long fasting and then more noise and fireworks.... 

I took this picture when I was out and about in West Jakarta, I just wanted to share it with you. No idea where the lane goes and I have no intention of ever finding out.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Bird Markets Jakarta

Had a day out with some teachers and the lovely wife and we headed for a change, east to see the bird market at Pasar Pramuka before doing the usual run of the city (Monas, Kota Tua, Batavia Marina, Jl Sudirman etc) as one of the teachers has asked to do something different and so the bird markets were considered.

From Mampang we headed east and then into Matraman and to Jatinegara. If you follow the busway from Cawang, it is relatively simple to find. The name of the place is Pasar Pramuka and the bird market is behind the main market area.
It is a busy cramped smelly dirty place but lively and noisy mainly with the sound of many different types of birds. We had to pay 2000 idr to get in and 1000idr to drive out.

Outside the market there are lots of cages for sale and you could be mistaken that the market is very small, but you need to walk round the back and then you will see the full market. It is huge and covers at least 3 floors. What kind of birds are in there? Well I saw Parrots, Parrotkeets, Budgies, many chirping birds, ducks, geese, chickens, turkeys, pidgeons, owls etc also bats and monkeys. Mice and other small furry mammals. Never saw any thing highly illegal I guess that is tucked away even further into the market.

After the returning back out into the fresh air we headed in Menteng and the Monas which is around 20 minutes from the market and then into Sunda Kelapa and the Batavia Marina where we had a great lunch, before setting off into the blazing heat and getting lost in Glodok, which is never that bad a thing to do.

I have not had a random adventure like that for a while so it made a change, I am looking to taking the wife on the train from Cawang station to somewhere, but I am not getting yes'es at the moment to that idea. A trip to Charles and Keith might fix that!