Sunday, January 03, 2010

A homestyle New Year's Eve

I always find New Year's Eve a bit challenging, whether in the US or Jakarta. Some part of my brain can't let go of the idea that I should be wearing a long backless midnight-blue velvety dress with spangly things on it and dancing to a live band in a ballroom somewhere, with big chandeliers and finger foods and tuxedoed waiters, and champagne at the stroke of midnight.

That actually wouldn't be too hard to arrange in Jakarta, but it would be frightfully expensive, especially compared to our usual entertainment budget (i.e. $5 movies and $2 beers). Lots of the hotels and upscale clubs have special parties, but the tickets range from $40 to above $100. Our frugality and tendency toward laziness combine to make this sort of thing impractical.

But the trouble is, clubs need a special permit to be open on New Year's, so cheaper places like the karaoke joints we tried to go to 2 years ago stay closed.

Add all this up with insane Jakarta New Year's traffic, and you've got a compelling argument for spending the evening at home. Which is what we did.

Me, Wendy, Chad, Ashlee, Pinta

First we went out for brunch with work friends at Koi, a cafe in an upscale neighborhood of South Jakarta. After a mushroom-blue cheese omelet, a Bloody Mary, a Passionfruit Collins, some borscht, a tablewide plum pudding and chocolate souffle, and four hours of good conversation, I was feeling pretty sleepy.

Dwayne, our beloved former intern, and my co-editor Pinta

The chocolate souffle

We went home and watched some Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 2 -- which was OK but I have to say, I still don't really get what all the fuss is about. We also caught some of the New Year's celebration on TV, live from Ancol theme park in North Jakarta. Rhoma Irama, the King of Dangdut, was in fine voice and playing a cool guitar. His backup singers were extra-trippy.

Video swiped from TPI TV. As always, my translations are approximate. Corrections/ improvements welcome!

Remarkably, we got hungry, so we went down to the marketplace and got some of our favorite Aceh-style spicy noodles. The market was busy and festive, with people honking horns and setting off firecrackers.

After midnight we sat outside for a while watching the beginning of the lunar eclipse.

It turns out lunar eclipses take a long time. By 2 a.m. we could just barely see a shadow creeping in on the upper left. We could also barely keep our eyes open, so we went to bed.

Happy New Year everyone!

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