Out in the open

Today I got on the back of an ‘ojek’ (that’s Indonesian for motorbike taxi, like xe om in Vietnam), such a welcome relief from sterile air-conditioned cars & taxis, with extra-concerned drivers. Ojeks are a little wild, very exciting, and a great way to experience this city, as long as you have nerves of steel. Ojek drivers are crusty old men, with plenty of attitude (though not grumpy like the Indian rickshawallas), and a penchant for ‘weaving’ through traffic, to give you those thrills. And I’m pleasantly surprised to see that Jakarta is not so unbearably hot as to prevent me from wandering outdoors. Pollution is a different story though, but it’s ok to breathe the ‘real’ air occasionally.

Getting back to the story, so I hopped on to an ojek after some satisfactory haggling over the price, we drove off to Kemang Raya, and I spent a fun morning/afternoon darting in and out of shops, cafes and the odd gallery. Kemang Raya is the Xuan Dieu equivalent in Jakarta – expat locality with all the buzz. The city can be as modern as it likes, but the things that catch the eye and beg for a picture are usually the imperfect, colorful, disorganized variety. It’s amazing how these food carts were so color-coordinated with their surroundings:

 

 

And then there’s the graffiti. Worthy of a full post, will happen when I have more pictures, but here’s a teaser.

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