January 3rd 1984

posted in: The way back | 0

Jakarta museum

The word is still tonight, so one never knows.  With that in mind, Val + I embarked on our 3rd + final shopping spree.  This time we caught the bus to Gajah Mada Plaza, a site with a modern frontage that had caught our eye before.  The front did not prove to be false – the whole place was incredibly modern, even down to the space capsule lift running up + down as a focal point of the central plaza.  Most of the shops seemed to be shut, but we discovered we were early, so we spent an hour wandering around the supermarket (+ buying a few luxuries, such as instant tomato soup), + then changing some money.  We also treated ourselves to a Swensen’s ice cream.  Swensens + Col Sanders seem to be making determined efforts to capture the Indonesian market.  Or at any rate (rather paradoxically) the upper income bracket of that market.  However, judging by the no of empty seats we’ve seen in them, they’re not doing too well.

Walked back to the market, on the way discovering a bookshop.  As well as all the very highly priced books in English, there were some, presumably older stock, at a more reasonable cost, so I grabbed one of these, a novel by Thornton Wilder.  This was a relief, as I’d reached the last chapter of my book.  At the market, we found a mobile post office – a good idea this – + I scribbled off an aerogramme to Mum while Val completed the shopping.  And then home (which is how we’ve come to regard the Jiwa Sabar.)

No, I forget – first of all we visited 2 museums – we’ve  not taken enough advantage of our time in Jakarta, we feel.  The first was the Dutch colonial museum, which had some interesting exhibits, especially some old carved stones, but suffered from having too many rooms with a few sticks of oild Dutch furniture in them.  We were also amused by an Indonesian couple with their baby, desperately taking pictures.  “Baby + mum in front of old painting.”  “Baby + dad in front of old painting.”  “Baby playing in front of old vase.”  The kid was hating it, but I suppose you have to suffer for posterity.

The other museum was the maritime one.  Considering it was but a long stone throw from the world’s greatest collection of commercial sailing boats, there was not nearly enough about the Makassar schooners.  Still, the museum was so enormous that one had to find something to amuse + instruct.  Basically tho’, I felt that they had wasted an opportunity, + that they’d desperately filled the place with padding – posters of maritime signal flags, + a photograph of each ship in the Indonesian navy, display cases of current naval uniforms.  Still, like the other museum, the building itself was interesting, + worth preserving (+ not being looked after all that well.)

Anyway, back to the boat.  After we got back, Val made some pancakes, which were generally very well received.  It is no small matter to break through the cultural food barrier… from either direction.  And later on she cooked a combination of nasi goring + bangers + mash (very sort of in both instances.)  This time tho’, we couldn’t persuade anyone to share with us.  Still, I polished off the b + m, + Val made a dent in the nasi goring.  Between these 2 bouts of cooking tho’, we spent a while sitting on the back deck with some of the gang, chatting + laughing.  We’ve become very fond of them, + will be sorry to part, I’m sure.

A final opportunity to see something of Jakarta, which we really haven’t devoted enough time to, as well as some last minute shopping.

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