I live most of my lifetime in Jakarta. If you don’t know where Jakarta is then you should look up at your atlas. Or google earth it. It’s a pretty big place. In fact it’s one of the biggest cities and one of the most populated cities in the world. By this time, I hope you know where Jakarta is. Because I’m gonna share with you a thing or two about this Big Durian.
It’s not the best place to live in. It’s located in the tropic, so there are only 2 seasons: the dry one and the wet one. Decades ago at school we were taught that dry season starts from March till September, and October till February is the wet season and you have to prepare the rain coat and umbrella. Thanks to the global warming, thunderstorm still hit the city yesterday (if my calendar is right, the month is April). The drainage system sucks so rain will affect the traffic. I’m not saying that during the dry season the traffic is bearable, but rain usually worsens the traffic condition that during the Morning Prayer Jakartans usually ask universe for extra patience just to bear the bumper to bumper traffic jam.
Depends on the distance between your residence to your work, commute time varies from 30 minutes to 2.5 hour. Traffic starts from the suburban areas to the central business district area. There are trains, buses, motorcycles, bikes, and cars in the road. The traffic image is not pretty. I usually have to check out the Traffic Management centre twitter account first before going to and from work to know which route has less traffic. Otherwise the bad mood stays for the rest of the days/nights.
There are lots of Jakartans who love this city so much that those 2 things don’t stop them from making this city a nice place to live in. The city has lots of big and beautiful modern parks. Though not a very sociable person, I like to see how people mingle in the park. The haves and the have-nots enjoy the park all the same. In the morning, people come there to have a morning exercise. On Sunday afternoons, a chamber (yes, chamber) orchestra regularly performs there. The parks can be rented for art exhibitions and weddings as well.
The old town of Jakarta –famously known as Batavia- is one cool place that the city has as well. We still have to do lots of restorations and renovations, but currently when I step into it, I instantly felt like I’m in the early 1800s when the Dutch still occupied Batavia. Beautiful old buildings, museums, and cafes are perfect. I used to hang out in this area on Sundays. In the morning I join the historical morning walk with a historian as my guide, sipping cool drinks in the café before hitting the museum, and on Sunday afternoon having a photo shoot with my goofy friends.
And one must not forget the only biggest jazz festival in Asia. The annual Jakarta Java Jazz Festival is held in the first Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in March. Musicians all over the world come to Jakarta to attend this event and thousands of people (including tourists) come to see the performers. Come March, and Jakarta looks and sounds a whole jazzier than ever. Perfect.
These are not the only 3 good things about Jakarta. There are a whole lot more reasons why I sometimes drift away and think about home when I’m away. Like right now, I’m thinking it will be nice to go to Chinatown area and hang out there for a Saturday breakfast with my ma. Ah, if only I were there. I miss being there. I miss home.
Next week, I’ll go to that park where the chamber orchestra plays. My dog will sit quietly there as usual. And I’m going to really suck the air into my lung and commit it to my memory that I am in love with this city.