Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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Archive for the ‘Indonesia’ Category

Jakarta, Indonesia

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia, located on the northwest coast of Java. It has an area of 225 square miles and a population of 8,490,000 (maybe even more due to the excessive number of immigrants). For a foreigner to come visit Jakarta, you will be surprised how overwhelming it is to live in this city with the new sights, sensations and challenges. Getting around the city is a huge task especially with the worst traffic jams you could possibly imagine. It requires a lot of time and patience to really get to know the city, the various streets and routes from one place to another. No doubt that the people of Jakarta is the most friendly ones you could find, they are very open and most delightful to welcome foreigners. It is true that people in Jakarta are the most patient people in the world, having to face the horrible traffic every single day.

In Jakarta, people tend to have private transportation rather than utilizing public transportation even though they have a busway system which has helped citizens who work in the city to get around easily. Jakarta is overpopulated with people, automobile, motorcycle and malls.

Indonesians in general love to socialize and they do that whenever or wherever is possible. It is a routine that most people would go out every Saturday night to malls, to shop, to see a movie, to socialize. We have over 20 malls just in a city. Shopping in Jakarta has a lot of forms from the most traditional markets to luxurious, high fashion shopping malls. Shops offer the latest fashion collections from all over the world. During the weekdays, most housewives are mostly seen with their children after school let out mid-day. By late afternoon, the malls are filled with the young teens and young professionals after office hours.

What I miss about Jakarta is certainly the food. It has a wide range of food available from local to international around located all around the city. Indonesia is known for its spices and the places you go to is cheap and guaranteed the best dining experience you will ever have. One of the popular cuisine in Jakarta is Soto Betawi, which is a cow milk broth with beef tendons, intestines and tripe. Other cuisine that is most favored is “gado- gado” (mix of vegetables served with peanut sauce dressing). This particular dish is usually served from hawkers carts, stalls called warung as well as restaurants.

Apart from the friendly gestures of the people, historical monuments, irresistible dining experience and high fashion shopping malls Jakarta is infamously known for its traffic jams and outrageous traffic rules. Street traffic is filled with smog, motor cyclists are mostly underage and are driving without a helmet. There are no sidewalks for pedestrians to walk on therefore they walk wherever they want and cross over. There are no parking meter and we have small tiny roads called “jalan tikus” used as an alternative route to avoid traffic jams.

Sent by Anna from Jakarta, Indonesia