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A few hours in Jalan Jaksa JAKARTA - I have been there before and I have written about it before. It is still a nice and not unimportant easy-to-reach destination for a quick lunch and a Large Bintang before you start the second half of the day. Just relaxing for a couple of hours, coming to terms after the first part of the day.

Of course you can have a good lunch in Plaza Indonesia or Grand Indonesia, just around the corner from here, but sometimes I just feel like skipping that. Why that is, is somewhat of a mystery to me. Big shopping malls are often identical to each other and there is no real atmosphere as well. It is clean there, but since I walk on my feet, that isn't all that important as well.

There I was, with long jeans and a blouse, sweating on a wooden chair in a small restaurant in Jalan Jaksa. The sweating would soon stop, because I walked down here from Sarinah. That is not always such a good idea, especially if you can not stand the heat very well. The bottle of water I bought earlier on was empty when I arrived in the restaurant.

I ordered a simple lasagna and a big bottle of Bintang, with the request to get the coldest one from the fridge, as I don't like a yellow liquid in front of my nose that is too warm. The restaurants here are not known for their high standards, so this kind of places is an easy place to grab a meal but also to catch a terrible diarrhea. Lasagna is one of those meals that can't go wrong, so that was more a precautionary order.

The staff sat behind the counter but did not show any interest. Some locals which seemed to purchased together with the furniture sat down applying a thick layer of make up or were playing with one of their two beard hairs. My beer was put down in a slightly rough way. No one cared and not even a 'sorry'. Because people talked English around here, I didn't bother to join them for a while and play the random tourist.

I wasn't a perfect match here with my long jeans and blouse, at least that is what I felt. I suddenly felt as if I had found my way into a reggae-bar when a dirty looking bule entered. Shorts that were cut off, the cheapest sandals and that dirty looking dread-lock hair on his head. On his left side a heavily sun-tanned Javanese girl, that probably stayed on a Bali beach too long recently.

What they ordered was not a real surprise for me. That kind of people, ooh sounds that's somewhat discriminating, only visits these places during daytime to get a bottle of cold water, but does occupy an entire table for four. Fortunately not a single staff member felt the need to really care, there were no other customers and even if there were, it would not be a problem having people in your place that don't bring in money.

Across the street, three almost white Chinese girls were headed for the restaurant. They were dressed in perfect white and quite tight outfits. Their long black hair reached half way down their backs, so they had to touch it all the time. They are the direct opposite of the chain-smoking fat man that sells cigarettes at the corner of the street here, but they sold the same: cigarettes, but they were limited to one single brand, Sampoerna.

When I was half way through my Large Bintang, dirty rasta-hair and the sun-tanned beach girl left. It was probaby too hot just to sit down, or maybe she had to work on her sun-tan again of course. They crossed the street in the direction of Asrama Haji (kind of boarding house for pilgrims), that is located right in the middle of dozens of cafe's, restaurants and 'short time' rooms. Live and let live.

The three shiny white Chinese girls first entered a 24-hour shop - catching some cool air-conditioning - before heading to the restaurant. They didn't make it until the entrance because an elderly man - white, gray hair and bald on top, signaled to the cutest one to get their attention after observing them for a while. He has a short conversation in his best English, and she answers with a nervous smile with her best English.

Eventually them man hands over a 100,000 Rupiah bill and takes one package of cigarettes from the pretty girl. She was allowed to keep the change. That is a nice gesture, as long as she contacts the number that is written on that note around the early evening. The now ass-scratching pemuda ('youngster', but more a term for people that just hang around) talks to the girl when the elderly man crosses the street. “Come on, give me a pack of smoke!” with some slight pressure. “You already got cepek ('a hundred', from 100.000 Rupiah) from him”.

The girl hands over a pack of Sampoerna to the guy and joins the other two. I finish my beer and ask for the bill in English. Two of the lazy staff seem to be alive, but they only want to decide who is going to collect my payment all the way from my table. In my turn, I wait for my change and take all of it with me - just like it should be. I walked in the direction of Jalan Sudirman to get on the bus to … Grand Indonesia.

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Related blog entries (category 'Travel') Tags: jalan, jaksa, Jakarta, lunch

Posted in Travel @ 23 March 2010 09:18 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

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