Jakarta is without doubt one of the Worlds most unattractive cities; in fact it may even be THE most unattractive. I’d be telling you a bit of a porky if I said words to the opposite effect so it’s best to come clean about these things early on just in case some of you are planning a visit and have some romantic notion that it may resemble Paris or Florence for example. Pedro says I’m being a bit harsh calling it Ugly Betty but I suppose what I mean is that this megalopolis has no outstanding architectural features, no beautiful parks, no leafy tree lined streets and avenues – it’s just one great heaving urban grey sprawl mostly made up of concrete and consisting of 1,000s of high rise offices, monumental tower blocks, endless slums, massively congested roads and grid locked streets. 10 million people live here and the divide between rich and poor is enormous as is the case in most of the world’s cities.
The stark contrast between the exquisitely opulent shopping malls with their fabulously dressed and elegant shoppers weighted down with shopping bags from high end stores such as Chanel and Gucci to the little girl I saw today at the traffic lights who was no more than 6 years old at the most with a tiny baby wrapped in a filthy rag tied to her front whilst she ducked between the traffic and wove her way through the choking exhaust fumes of belching buses, cars and mopeds, with a broken, pink plastic toy guitar in one hand and a little empty begging bowl in the other.
I may not find my new concrete jungle remotely beautiful, but its inhabitants most certainly are. I have never seen so many lovely smiles and we have been made to feel so welcome and everyone wants to know our business and where we are from. It’s wonderful! Actually having said in my last blog that I didn’t court celebritydom, I think unwittingly we have as the guy who runs the café downstairs in the lobby has now nicknamed Pedro and me ‘Victoria and David’. He is as camp as can be, very funny and I think he might just be my new BF. He loves my yellow hair and is determined to find me a hairdresser who is ‘au fait’ in the art of bleach and foils (I’m not going to hold my breath) and he is also going to give me some cooking lessons, because with the greatest will in the world I simply don’t have a clue what to do with half the stuff in my shopping bag.
Baso Soup and Noodles Gucci Gucci Coo
I jest you not my Lovelies, there are fruit and vegetables out here that would make Ann Summer blush crimson to the tip of her roots. What to do with them apart from perform some unmentionable act is another thing altogether so the sooner I can learn how to cook them the better frankly. Below is Handsome Don on Skype last night, Skype has kept us in touch with family and friends, thank you Skype.