43 hours in Jakarta

Monday 20 November 2023

I'd never had any interest in visiting Jakarta, but with Bring Me The Horizon playing a gig there I finally had a reason to visit.
Buying tickets for show was no easy feat. The app they were sold through had no English translation so in desperation I reached out to a skating page I'd been following on instagram, that happened to be based in Jakarta and they helped me out. I was so grateful - and excited - we agreed to meet when I arrived.

Jakarta surprised me. Polluted, grey and chaotic, yet oddly charming. I liked it because even though it was mayhem there was an unexpected order beneath it all and noticeable level of quality. Modern cars, well maintained shopping centres, and everyone seemed to be wearing fresh, branded clothes. Plus I don't really know what I was expecting but my new friends all had normal office jobs.

Jakarta seems to me, to be a city of contrasts, which surprised me beyond the initial chaos.
Excited to finally meet, I got a motorbike taxi to meet Rossi in the city centre. A big hug and friendly face was very welcome after 18 hours of travel.

She brought along a couple of friends and after introductions, they took me to a street food stall on the side of a crazy road. We ate food I'd never seen before - a curious chicken foot and pork knuckle soup (I think), with cows skin crackers. Odd but exciting. I love trying new food. The delights continued with some kind of sweet tea and chewy pandan cakes whilst we discussed our respective lives on opposite sides of the world.
After dinner we headed to a Treehouse style rooftop bar which was very familiar. Turns out they brought me there because it is often frequented by Westerners. Figures haha.

We ordered cocktails. And then a plate of nachos turned up, which I assume they ordered for me, because none of them knew what they were or how to eat them which was hilarious. Probably like me and the chicken foot earlier on.

An electric storm provided an unexpected backdrop for the rest of the evening. The skies opened and it poured; very impressive. I love thunderstorms.
It's not totally unlike me to sleep for 16 hours but jetlag-induced slumber aside, the next day brought the disappointing news of a cancelled Bring Me The Horizon gig. I suppose this is the contrast I was talking about. The stage the night before had been structurally unsound so they had to pull he show.

At this point I was in a bit of a daze with it all but my new friends came to the rescue. I headed out for a bubble tea and then met Rossi and another friend, Nasi at the Roller Skating rink. Perfect. I haven't posted much about it here but skating has taken over my life recently so I was pleased to get my fix after a few days away from my skates.
Unlike London rinks, it was two stories and decorated with neon lights and art installations. Nasi taught me a new trick and we had loads of fun sharing skills and practicing together. Skating has become my peace during all that's happened over the last couple of months and yet again, it made everything make sense.
We went to the mall for dinner afterwards and then got in Tulus car for a nighttime tour of the city with a bag full of Indonesian desserts. It's even more chaotic in the dark.

So I didn't get to see BMTH this time but what's another gig to a super fan - I'll see them when they're back in London, or maybe elsewhere, who knows! Instead, I left Jakarta with new friends, happy memories and a newfound appreciation of a city I previously had no interest in.
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