My mom managed to find a book on self-guided walking tours in Jakarta at the library and, despite everyone's derision and skepticism (see previous post), I convinced one of my roommates to tag along with me.
We began not far from Plaza Indonesia in central Jakarta (the first and swankiest of the city's shopping centers) , and wound our way east through the affluent residential Menteng neighborhood, passing numerous parks, embassies and even Obama's childhood school (there is a statue of him as a 10 year old named Barry). Vast mansions, some vestiges from the early 20th century expat community and others new, hid behind tall wrought iron fences. Under the canopies of the leafy green trees and isolated from the noise of traffic, it was easy to forget where we were.
Our tour ended at the antiques market at Surabaya, where my friend helped haggle the price of the mask I bought from $25 to $10. But, more importantly, the leisurely afternoon helped thaw some of the more persistent and negative impressions my roommates have of the city, which will hopefully translate into more future excursions.
Until next time...
See the rest here.