Jakarta and its gigantic gap

Jakarta, Indonesia was a fun but strange place to visit. Though, it was a bit of a culture shock because it had a large gap between the rich and the poor, but much worse than any of the southeast Asian countries I visited. Upon arrival, the first thing I noticed was the Muslim influence signified by the women who were completely covered by clothing and the 2am calls to prayer. Let me just say that wearing shorts to breakfast in the hotel was a definite should not do. Just that act alone lead to much staring and open mouthed “omg” from the women.

Many reviews on TripAdvisor strongly advised against any sort of outdoor walking and of course I thought that they were exaggerating. Upon walking out, I was met with a never ending wave of heat, dirt and fumes. Apparently, the street was where the poor slept and ate and walking was not common. I saw a woman sleeping on the ground holding her 6 month old baby (I didn’t take any photos, I think I was too shocked) . The gap between that and the rich quickly became apparent when we hailed a taxi to go to the most popular location in the city, The Grand Indonesian, a gorgeous high rise mall with interior decorations mimicking that of the Bellagio in Vegas.

Compare these two:

Canal next to the hotel

The interior of the Grand Indonesian only a mile or so away.

I’ll admit, as a tourist, the Grand Indonesian was amazing, everything tourists wanted: glamorous shops, large wonderfully decorated food courts and floors of glitter. For a while I forgot what was outside until I went out again to get a taxi. So I apologize if the photos are all of the mall, but I was only in the city for a night and it was such a blur I didn’t know what to think of it. I made aneffort to walk around the city for a few hours at first, but with the dirty air, my vision blurred and my breathing became rather difficult. Hindsight being 20/20, I do feel guilty for having been at the mall, but sometimes that’s what happens when you visit a place as a tourist, you fall into it’s money trap, as I did (that plus it had air conditioning).

Outdoor view of the city from our hotel.

Grand Indonesian interior design

Can you believe this is the food court eating area in The Grand Indonesian??

Singaporean mimicked design in the Grand Indonesian

Beautiful second food court design

Me having Beef noodles and really sugared up green tea, total cost around $5 USD

Bottom line is I learned a lot about the Jakarta that day, it really opened my eyes up and I would definitely recommend making a stop just to experience a totally different world.


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