Last Sunday after I eventually found my mojo, I started to notice strange things happening to me. Whether its my mojo or possibly my pheromones giving it large, either way I’ve been a bit of an attraction this week.
Quite unwittingly, I have become the object of desire for an amorous female on an expat forum (I have an inkling that she might be something to do with the Jakarta Swingers Association and may be trying to groom me), countless mosquito’s have also made their advances and given me love bites all over including the soles of my feet (which I could happily have done without), and a group of men I stumbled upon in my travels all took it in turn to take each others photos with me with their arms draped over my shoulders (like I was their girlfriend!) then yesterday I was followed round Cikini market by a film crew who made a bee line for me whilst I was out shopping with a friend. I have absolutely no idea what they were filming or why I became the centre of attention (most likely an Indo version of ‘You’ve been framed’) but I don’t care as I’m now on celluloid and in my book that makes me a film star of sorts.
Over this past week apart from my pheromones bursting all over the place, I’ve also come across some exciting new districts of Jakarta that were previously unknown to me. The reason I’ve found these new places is that I met ‘the lady from 9b’. How our paths haven’t crossed before is a total mystery as you’d think I’d have spotted another peroxide blonde a mile away let alone one that lives just above me in the very same apartment block. Anyway, fate played it’s hand last Saturday afternoon with a chance encounter down in the apartment lobby as I was going out, and my peroxide sister was coming back in. We both looked each other up and down as one does, and I noticed that she had a naughty twinkle in her eye and a wicked smile. After making polite conversation and finding out that there were only 4 floors between our respective apartments and a 15 second elevator ride, we decided it would be very rude not to meet up again so arranged to go out on a few forays the following week. The first place that we went to was Pasar Mayestik.
Pasar Mayestik is absolute heaven if you love textiles but even if you are not smitten with the idea of visiting stores choc a block full of every sort of fabric and material known to man, there is more than enough to see and wonder at whilst you wander around the market area. There are hawkers selling tea towels, bath mats, strawberries even, and stall after stall selling anything from orchids, to Y-fronts to chickens, and every size, shape, and colour of banana imaginable. From one of the stalls I bought a sarong for the Irishman and a very fetching ‘house coat’ for myself. I’m not joking but it is actually called a ‘dustah’ and all Indonesian ladies whilst doing their chores around the home wear them. I’m crap at doing the chores bit, but I do love wearing my new dustah even though it is the most sexless garment that I’ve ever worn and wouldn’t be seen dead wearing it in public.
Despite the fact that I can’t sew, knit, crochet or macramé to save my life, I still find myself getting very, very, excited when looking at textiles. The cogs in my head start whirring around and my imagination goes into complete overdrive as I lovingly fondle the bolts of fabric and think about what stunning outfits I could make out of them if only I had the knowhow and talent to do so. The beauty of Pasar Mayestik is that with a just a photo, or sketch, or a garment that you already possess and want copied, you can get anything you like made up for you. You are spoilt for choice as there are tailors working from small tin sheds all around the neighbourhood. The men sit crossed legged on cardboard on the earth floors, leaning over old sewing machines stitching away, absorbed in their craft with just a small light bulb covered in fly shit dangling overhead to see by. You can, if you want to be really posh and go down the Savile Row route, go to one of the more genteel tailors who work in-house within the larger shops. Here you can be fitted and kitted up in no time in modern a/c’d surroundings. Either way there are some excellent craftsmen here in Jakarta.
In my wanderings around Pasar Mayestik this week, I also found the best haberdashers shop that I have ever been to in my life – Toko MAJU. It stocks amongst a million other things, every conceivable sort of button, in every conceivable colour, made of every conceivable material and the same goes for the ribbons. They also have a stunning array of brocades in shimmering shades, and every kind of sewing cotton, buckle, hook, and fastening that you can think of. And get this, if I can’t find a brassiere to fit me out here (which is starting to look highly likely as no Indonesian woman has a bosom larger than a B cup max) then I can even find all the kit at Toku Maju to make my own bra AND a dainty corset to match if the muffin refuses to budge.