Sunday, 22 April 2012

First impressions

Today marks the end of my first week living and working in Jakarta. I arrived on Sunday evening and started work at 8 the next morning, so yesterday was my first chance for a bit of a wander.

Love this painting of traditional dancers in the hotel lobby.

First impressions? Jakarta is huge: the city's population is 10m plus, with more than 28m in the greater metropolitan area. It is very spread out, and the traffic is insane. As you would expect, it is pretty warm and very humid, so it can become quite uncomfortable walking for long. I am glad most of the clothing I brought over is made from natural fibres: cotton, linen and cotton-silk blends. A bit more ironing involved, but much more comfortable. There are shopping malls everywhere, catering to every kind of budget.

It's about a km walk to my office, D-G Tax, but generally a couple of us share a cab in the morning, so we arrive with a semblance of freshness (and it's only about $1.40 between us). As it is home to a large government department, the office has its own mosque on the grounds, which is a particularly pretty one with a teal and yellow tiled dome. Sadly, my photos don't do it justice.

Love the hot colours of the heliconias against the blue.

There is a small market opposite the office with food stalls at the back, so I have a wander across with the local staff for lunch. I'm trying to have something different each day. Here I am with Etha, Nantya, Galuh and our team leader Gary. The food is great -  I will post more on this later.

Everyone in the office is incredibly helpful and friendly. Apparently, there is an established pattern as far as office dress goes, for the men at least.  Monday is white shirt or blue shirt (usually senior), Tuesday – business shirt or Batik (long sleeved), Wednesday & Thursday – Business shirt, and Friday – short sleeved Batik shirt. On Fridays, there is a small food market within the grounds of D-G Tax, where the wives of tax office employees bring in their home cooking.

My fare from the Friday market:  jackfruit, a spicy potato cake, green chilli relish, and chicken. Delicious!

Although the wet season is drawing to a close, there are afternoon storms more often than not like this approaching storm snapped from the office.

As you can see, even though there are skyscrapers in every direction, there is also plenty of green. My new home is an apartment, but fortunately we have lovely gardens, so I can still have my daily ramble to check out what's in bloom.


This looks like some kind of variegated ginger

Crinum with palms and Mother-in laws tongues Sansevieria

There were some lovely pots used in the landscaping, here with variegated Liriope or Ophiopogon , Spathiphyllum, and Alocasia

Mussaenda phillippica

So that is my initial report from downtown Jakarta, and there is still so much more to discover.


  1. Wow! I'm so glad you posted this. I'll never get to go to most of these places...we barely get to other states outside of Texas... so it's nice to have garden friends that do. Indonesia looks so cool!
    Post more! :0)
    David/Houston, Texas

    1. Thanks David, it is a tropical garden lovers' paradise here, so there are lots of the things you and I have in our gardens, plus so much more. I have already taken loads of photos. I will have to pace myself initially until I get my head around my new job, but there are lots of interesting things to share.



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