Pedro’s Saturday morning was spent pulling his hair out whilst trying to put together a 5year budget plan for the new university that he is helping to create. My Saturday morning on the other hand was rather less mentally taxing, as I spent mine doing ‘domestic’ things such as taking an embarrassingly large amount of empty Biltang bottles to the refuse collection and trying to unblock the loo. There was also the small matter of the leaking washing machine that despite now having been ‘fixed’ 3 times by the repair man, still squirts water all over the utility room floor from the leaking hose at the back. By 4pm both of us had had quite enough of being stuck inside all day working, and so we decided it was high time to venture out and factor in finding a ‘washing machine hose’ shop as part of our afternoons sortie.
(I think I may have already mentioned the perils of walking in this city. A dearth of pavements means that you are often forced to have to walk in the road and with the large volume of traffic, just the simple task of getting from A-B, plus the hazards of crossing busy road’s, makes walking around anywhere, pretty much something of an Extreme Sport in these parts)
We left the apartment and set off in the blistering heat across the relatively tranquil setting of the business park where Pedro works, and then on towards the main road where, on the other side of which, we had been told there was a shopping area where we might find our washing machine hose. Crossing over this particular major Jakartan highway was luckily (in this instance) a fairly simple procedure as there is a long pedestrian fly-over from which affords wonderful views of the traffic jams and also a chance to breath in the heavy pollution which as it so happened, turned out to be a positive ‘breath of fresh air’ in comparison to what greeted us when we crossed over and reached the other side. The shop we needed for the washing machine hose was down a busy side street which was attractively bordered on one side by an open sewer The stench coming off it on that particularly hot day, was something else! Eye-wateringly horrible.
I made a mental note to myself there, and then, to Google ‘How to make your own Nosegays’ as soon as I got back home.
Having found what we were looking for we walked back to the apartment and then after 5 minutes or so we both decided that we hadn’t had quite enough adventure in our day yet, so headed out again, this time in a taxi to Kemang which is a rather more up-market area of Jakarta with lots of bars, restaurants and clubs. The taxi dropped us off in the centre of Kemang and we wandered around trying to get our bearings since it was our first visit to that part of town. There were no obvious signs of teeming bars, nor clubs, but there was a great little shop selling rip-off DVD’s for a £0.50 each and we spent a happy half hour or so choosing some new titles including ‘Tintin’ which I was very excited about until I bought it up to the counter to pay and the very honest woman behind the till said ‘No good picture, no good watch’ so rather despondently I decided to heed her advice and put it back on the shelf probably only for someone else to find at a later stage and get their hopes dashed too.
Pedro by this time was clawing the walls with hunger, (and I might add, so was I since my nutritional intake up to that point had consisted solely of a two and half foot green bean eaten, or rather nibbled ferociously in my attempt at a new healthy regime) so imagine how mortified I was when, out of the corner of his eye Pedro spotted a MacDonald’s and started to walk towards it at a very brisk pace. Rather grumpily I had to endure watching him eat a Big Mac with one eye, whilst greedily eyeing up with the other, the Menu pictures on the wall behind the counter which included the regular MacDonald offerings, plus additional add on’s of fried chicken and rice, noodles and jasmine tea. I was mightily relieved when Pedro had finished eating and we could finally leave MacDonald’s as the smell of chips and burgers and having to watch happy contented diners, whilst hungry enough to eat a horse, was about to tip me over the edge.
Earlier on our way into the centre of Kemang, we had both spotted an Irish Pub called “Murphy’s Pub’ and since my Irish Pedro had now been fed, the next stage was to get him watered so what better a place than an Irish bar? Especially when you are 1,000’s of miles from your favourite Catholic Club in London. Unfortunately the walk to ‘Murphy’s’ included (judging by the putrid smell) another open-sewer lined street and as it was by now dark, the only visibility was the blinding car headlights coming straight at us, so I prayed that I wouldn’t misjudge the distance between my self and the sharp precipitous drop down to my left where, should I have had, by sheer bad luck, slipped and lost my footing into it, Lord only knows what I might have caught. It simply doesn’t bear thinking about.
Jakarta’s Murphy’s Irish Pub is a bit of an anomaly since it must be the only Irish bar in the entire Universe that doesn’t sell Guinness or Murphy’s on draught, though it does have Kilkenny’s. Pedro was very crestfallen when he was told that there was no cider either. I was hoping for some wine (because after two weeks of no wine, and only beer to drink, right now I’d happily gift one of my kidneys in exchange for a glass), but at £6 a pop for a tiny 125mls of the stuff, clearly that was going to be off limits too so we plumped for a pint of Kilkenny’s instead. On first inspection the contents of our pints resembled something akin to gravy browning mixed in water, but it was actually quite tasty and after a couple of pints, rather nice! The ambience of Murphy’s Pub is just as one would expect if you have ever been to an Irish pub or bar in any country other than Ireland itself. They are mostly frequented by homesick Irish, and ex-pats such as ourselves but that evening there were a good amount of locals in too and folks drinking and eating. There is live music sometimes according to the posters dotted around, but not whilst we were there, so instead we were treated to a steady stream of Irish pipe and flute music CD’s with the occasional bit of Rock thrown in for good measure which must have sounded as alien to the pretty Indonesian girls ears who worked behind the bar, as the sounds that emanate from the 6 Mosques surrounding our apartment, do to ours. The ‘Ladies’ was rather less salubrious, and certainly not as prepossessing as Café Batavia’s so sadly no golden photo opportunities that night.
We sat at the bar and read the newspapers that were piled upon it amongst which the ‘Jakarta Globe’ and ‘The Times’ – and, as it was the first time I had seen an English newspaper since I’ve been living here, it was good to be able to read the news rather than watch the BBC World News that we have on pretty much constantly in the apartment. Sifting through the papers, in Saturdays Times, I read a terrible story about some poor 47 year old woman who had blown her entire life’s savings of £30,000 pounds on fancy holidays and dining out after being told that she had just 18 months to live. However on the 18th month after her initial grizzly prognosis, the doctors then told her that her treatment had worked, and that she was in fact totally cured which was obviously
extremely heartening news for the lady in question, but by eating out every single night for 18 months, she had piled on 4 stones in weight. She is currently having hypnosis to help her lose it and I wish her the best of luck.
Happy Hour, just in case any of you are remotely interested, is from 11am – 8pm daily, but I’m sorry to say that by 7.45pm, even with a 15 full minutes of Happy Hour left to enjoy, it was time for us to head back and as we got up from the bar to make our exit, we were heralded by the nostalgic sounds of the Boomtown Rats singing ‘Tell me why I don’t like Mondays?’ We bade our farewells to Murphy’s Pub and went outside to look for a taxi.