Day 1 in Jakarta

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I'm sitting here in my hotel room in Jakarta getting ready for my talk in 3.5 hours about the Security Development Lifecycle and IE7 at the Bellua Cyber Security conference. I think my demos and deck are all set (knock on wood), so now it's up to me to deliver. I'm up first, right after the keynote speech by the Minister of Communications and Information of the Republic of Indonesia. I just got a text message though that due to the Minister's schedule, my talk got pushed back half an hour. Oh well.

Yesterday was my only free day in Jakarta. I slept OK well given the time change but was awoken just before 5:00am by the very loud call for morning prayers blaring outside the hotel. I was up anyway (sorta).

I had hoped to do some sightseeing and shopping, but we got a late start due to incredibly slow service at the hotel restaurant. Fortunately, the coffee was very good (not surprising since we're on the island of Java and next door to Sumatra) and the breeze on the deck at the restaurant was comfortable.

 We did eventually manage to get some shopping in at a big discount mall called Mangga Dua frequented by locals. This was seven floors of twisty passages, all alike, chock full of little clothing, purse, watch, electronics, and DVDs. The prices were slightly higher than Beijing for clothing but way, way less for DVDs and purses. It was kind of a weird place. There were these super creepy mannequins in many of the shops and the popular snack stand was D'Corn where you can get cups of sweet corn with your choice of toppings ranging from butter to caramel to tuna salad. Having just had my late breakfast, I skipped the D'Corn. Maybe next time.

Mangga Dua shopping mall    D'Corn menu sign    Creepy mannequin

Traffic in Jakarta is typical of my experience in developing nations, where the lane boundaries are merely widely ignored suggestions, scooters dive in and out of traffic, and vehicles are inches apart on all sides as they crawl through traffic. Add that to my normal dysfunction around driving on the left side of the road, and I died a thousand deaths in the car on the way to and from the shopping. they manage to do it somehow.

The food has been OK so far - nothing to blog about, although admittedly I've been lame and have only eaten the hotel (something I almost never do). I'll have to reach out and find some real local treats.

OK time to get dressed and head off to the conference.

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Jeff P Reply

Are you getting any of the haze from the burning/deforestation on the other Indonesian islands? There was an article that said it was pretty bad again this year, but it is ususally over in western the islands. I experienced it blowing up into Malaysia a few times and it was pretty bad - and considerably worse in a big city like KL with already poor air quality.

Silly us for wanting to pop the corn before flavoring it...

Tony Reply

It's very hazy here (even worse today). Visibility from my hotel room on the 15th floor is less than a mile. Not sure if it's just normal pollution or from the fires.

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