Thursday, March 23, 2006

Jalan Jaksa

We're staying at a hotel on Jalan Jaksa, the stereotypical backpacker street. Jaksa has a good cheap Indian restaurant called Pappa's. They play the same dippy pop song over and over ("and I say lalalalalala in the mooorning, lalalalalala in the moooorning ....), so you have to have a certain mental resilience to eat there. There's also a somewhat upscale place called Ya-Udah that serves burgers, ham-and-egg sandwiches, and other treats for homesick expats.

And everywhere there is Bintang, the national beer, modeled on Dutch beer and very pleasant on a hot day (they are all hot days, of course).

You can get a bed in a dorm room around here for probably $5, but we're paying a little more for a private room with our own bathroom and hot water.

Today I was sitting in Ya-Udah eating fried noodles when they started playing a Johnny Cash tune over the sound system. (One of his later, stripped-down, gospel-y songs.) Then the afternoon call to prayer started wailing from the speakers of the nearby mosque. It was a strange duet for a minute until one of the waitresses cut off the music.

Here's Chad at the bottom of Jaksa in one of those rare quiet moments - no people, cars or motorbikes hurtling at him.


jakers said...

mmm, beer is a truth serum.

Anonymous said...

Matthew is here and he just read through your previous Jakarta posts. so, now he is all caught up. We are sipping coffee in my Concord apartment. "It is a gloomy day" he said to me after taking out his doggie for an early morning walk. We are waiting for one of those warm spring days to thaw us.
I am sorry you did not meet before you left, but, he is getting to know you now.

Mary K said...

"anonymous" is me above-mary k

kopisusu2 said...

Cool! Hi Matthew! So when are you guys coming to visit? We've got plenty of warm weather here!

walsh said...

hey, what do you do during the call to prayer? (keep in mind, i've never been further east than cape cod, so if my question is dumb, i've earned it). So...does everything just pretty much stop? Do you and Chad just stand around and wait for things to start up again? How long does it last?

kopisusu2 said...

No, other than the noise, nothing changes. You can still buy satay on the street or grab a taxi or whatever. It can be a drag when we're working though (we just did a project which I'll blog about soon) because it's sometimes loud enough to interfere with recording. Plus, they have this thing of long pauses, so you think they're done ... and then they start again.

Apparently at the end of Ramahdan they broadcast nonstop for a day or two. But that's not till the fall, so we have time to prepare.

I have to say, though, I love the sound. Sometimes it's kind of mumbly and other times more like a wail. The different mosques overlap so it's like the whole city is talking to you. It still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. When we figure out how to post sound, I'll put some up.

Hallo Mister said...

If you find that Bintang gives you headaches (lots of preservatives) switch to Anker, which is the pick of the local brews.