Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Jon's Visit Part I - Jakarta

Jon arrived on Saturday (Feb. 13th) in the afternoon, and by the time Alison and I arrived at the airport to meet him, he had already sped through customs and was ready to go. We talked excitedly, catching up about my and Alison's experiences in Indonesia and Jon about his time teaching in NYC.

They have this really great service from the airport called the Damri bus. If you take the large, comfortable, air-conditioned bus (the nicest of its kind I have found in Indonesia) to Blok M, you can get off along the way (at MPR, across the street from one of Indonesia's parliament's buildings) just three minutes' walk from the Fathony's house. Oh, and it costs just 20,000 rupiah, or a little more than two bucks. So yeah, we took the Damri, and yeah, it was cheap.

We couldn't have arrived at the Fathony's with better timing, as the whole family - Nina, Herul, Sabina; Hati, Adit, and their girls Dini and Ilma; Firman, and Eyang were all there. We did the meet and greet and Jon brought out some thoughtful house gifts - chocolate and a coffee table book about New York City.

It was 4 or 5pm and we took some time to unwind before heading out to the HSBC to take out money (they have the highest limit I know of, 4 million rups, along with vaulted ceilings and the single ATM is assigned its own security guard at all times!) and check out nearby Senayan City, my favorite mall. We got Valentine's-day chocolates and pasta, and frozen yogurt at Tutti Frutti.

We went back to the house by the 102 (public bus, just ten minutes and 20 cents) and dropped some stuff off. Eyang accosted us and talked our ears off about photos and maps. She has so many stories from her travels abroad. She has lived in London and in Holland, traveled to the United States and Saudi Arabia and even Russia:

Soon we went to Plaza Indonesia to meet Rohan, Sabina, John Colombo and his wife Mei for dinner. We ate at Pizza e Birra. I had a pizza and some beer. The company was great - we talked a lot about ETA experiences and I shared some of my tougher moments. "The things you guys do for a resume, I swear," said Mei. The tiramisu pizza was kind of weird, but Jon and I ate it anyway.

On Sunday, we went to Sarinah handicraft store and had fun perusing their huge collection of different Indonesian crafts and batik. We ate at an Outback Steakhouse (WHAT?!) in Ratu Plaza, yet another Indonesian mall, and then headed back to the house. That night Jon and Alison prepared pesto pasta! It was a great weekend.

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