Wash away those recession blues in Jakarta!


“The heat will make it difficult to breathe. Your head will get hot. You feel sweat running down every crevasse and cleavage.

To cope, options to revitalize and rejuvenate in the developing country — where $1 equals about 10,000 in local currency rupiah — can be delightfully affordable, luxurious and creative.”

Oh, darrrrling, yes. Don’t let a dull recession get you down —our money goes so very very far here! Hot off the heels of our own Om’bak Jakarta guide comes the American Broadcasting Corporation’s summary of the city. Do, dear, fetch a bucket (to soak your feet in while you read, of course!) I love nothing more than reading travel guides and reviews of places I’ve already been to. It helps me understand other people’s perspectives. This is Margaret’s point of view:

Cruise around for the day in a Silver Bird taxi. Often black Mercedes, the former government delegate vehicles render a quiet air-conditioned sanctuary, muffling out the city buzz and mosque loudspeakers. These drivers know the fastest shortcuts through the maze of Jakarta’s streets and most of them speak English. Paying the higher 35 cents per mile is worth the smooth ride on uneven roads.”

Oh, absolutely. Those mosque babblings are so pesky! And surely there’s nothing like travel where one avoids the city buzz, and having to deal with people who only speak the language of the country you’re travelling in. Sanctuary plus!

“At the posh Four Seasons hotel in Jakarta, pay $13 for a manicure, or $20 for an hour-long reflex massage or ginger and hibiscus skin energizer. At the Four Seasons in New York, prices start at $45 for a manicure and $210 for a massage — and the massage is 10 minutes shorter.

Yes Margaret! And you forgot to mention, the extra 10 minutes of a Jakartan massage are the best 10 minutes of all! All inclusive! Plus Plus Plus! Bet you don’t get that in New York!

For true revitalization, I recommend an ojek ride. Hair “wind”styling comes free with the service. Furthermore, if you’re truly lucky to be visiting in the rainy reason, chances are the bike will fall over and land you face-first in muddy sewrage flood water. Mud mask au natural!

If you dare, try a detox with some of the local warung food. For people accostomed to organically-reared chicken and cows played calming classic symphonies before their execution to ensure the meat stays tender, it may seem a little adventurous. But no fear, a nice piece of chicken warmed in the sun —renting its flesh out to complex bacterial civilizations—is sure to flush everything right out!

But alas, the problems of finding a real sedative:

“Alcohol can be outrageously expensive in the mainly Muslim nation due to high import tax; so savor the free mini bottles of wine from that international flight.”

Absolutely. Or if you’re getting desperate, approach your friendly Ojek cooperative and offer Rp 2,000 for a few sips of their communal clear rocket-fuel. You’ll continue your business class seat booze high, and support the local economy. How cultural!

“Spend a little more time in Jakarta, and become immersed with the culture and the people, and stress more easily washes away with laughter.”

Yes, laugh as your manacurist polishes your nails, speak slowly and loudly in English to the uniformed maid at your five-star hotel as you learn her about her ‘customs’ and ‘traditions’. Surely, finally, by the end of the weekend, the boiling tension of living just like the 12 million other people in this ‘developing’ city might just melt away.

What a buzz for your buck!


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3 Responses to “Wash away those recession blues in Jakarta!”

  1. nyscha Says:

    Oh dahling.
    I loved this. Your sarcasm hit the spot.

    Just like Sabrine, when she does her hot-stone shiatsu on me, especially right after my pumice softening and my organic Javanese body butter (that they send over from Italy, by the way) session, she knows how to hit the spot.

    Your tale of the other 12 million or the common ‘proletaire’ is touching, it’s like I can almost see the humanity in them. Like, they’re actually people or something of the sort. Haha.

    Well, I will go lather my hands with baby-panda fat now and then it’s off to bed. I’ve had a tiresome day in the noisy city. I almost exposed myself to nearly 13 minutes of non air-conditioning today. What a nightmare.

  2. The ABC’s of JKT (part three) « Om’bak Says:

    […] making quite a fortune (sort of). With so many opportunities to make money, sometimes I wonder why so many people in Jakarta are so poor. Which brings us to the letter W, but later, we’ll get […]

  3. delilah Says:

    it’s an entertaining piece. Nice!

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