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6 Things I Learned From My Trip To Jakarta, Indonesia

A last minute trip brought me to Jakarta, Indonesia this past week, a city I haven't visited since 20
Living My Legend
6 Things I Learned From My Trip To Jakarta, Indonesia
By Nico Atienza • Issue #8 • View online
A last minute trip brought me to Jakarta, Indonesia this past week, a city I haven’t visited since 2006. After spending a few days there, here are 6 things that stuck out to me from my short visit there. 

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. In my case, the lemons I received was a trip to Jakarta, Indonesia and I had 4 days to make lemonade out of it.
“How is a trip to Jakarta a lemon?”, you may ask but that is not something I want to get into right now. Feel free to get the backstory from me privately (spoiler: it’s a meh story). 
Without further adieu, here are 6 things I learned after visiting the city.
1. Cash Money Millionaire
In the 50s, the Indonesian Rupiah went through tumultuous economic inflation which devalued the currency by 90%. The result? Everything costs in the tens of thousands of Rupiah. For example, my 2-night hotel stay ended up costing 1.2 million Rupiah!
1 US Dollar = ~14,100 Rupiah
At least the notes are colorful, right?
At least the notes are colorful, right?
2. Jakarta is HUGE
Jakarta is massive, sprawling city. So big, in fact, that it is 11 times larger than Manhattan island by land area! A friend of mine who lives on the outskirts of the city told me that it would take her 2 hours to drive into Central Jakarta.
3. The traffic is LEGENDARY
A giant city is not helped by some of the worst teeth gnashing traffic in the region. A study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has bestowed the honor of “second worst traffic in Asia” to Jakarta, only behind Bangkok, Thailand. 
Furthermore, in another study by BCG and ride-hailing giant Uber claims that drivers spend an average of 22 days a year in traffic.
It is no wonder that the most popular way for individuals to get around is by 2 wheel bikes.
VROOM VROOM
VROOM VROOM
4. I could pass as an Indonesian
On previous visits to Bali, Indonesia, there were so many occasions where I was mistaken for a local. This is normally great until you need to communicate. Derp.
Jakarta was no different. I learned to say “Bahasa Ingrriss? Orang Filipino” in Bahasa Indonesian which translates to: “Do you speak English? I am Filipino”.
Fortunately, a lot of Jakartans I encountered spoke English so they politely apologized for mistaking me for an Indonesian and quickly switched to speaking English.
My Indonesian friend Yoke and I
My Indonesian friend Yoke and I
5. Manadonese cuisine is 🔥
My friend Yoke took me out to lunch to a Manadonese restaurant called Bunga Pepaya Restoran Manado which had food from North Sulawesi, Indonesia, that is known to be some of the spiciest in the country with the use of exotic chilies. 
As a spicy food fan, this was right up my alley and I loved (and sweated) through the meal.
"Ayam rica rica" - spice mixture consisting of chili peppers, bird's eye chili, shallots, garlic, & ginger.
"Ayam rica rica" - spice mixture consisting of chili peppers, bird's eye chili, shallots, garlic, & ginger.
6. GO-JEK is an app to rule them all
Being in the ride-hailing industry, Indonesia’s first unicorn, GO-JEK, was an app I was dying to experience. The app first launched in 2010 as a way to hail one of the many bike taxis in the city but soon evolved to be a lifestyle app that rivals the Chinese behemoth, WeChat.
On the app itself, you can get your food delivered, packages sent, order a masseuse, and even get someone to clean your house. Wow! 

Have a great week!
Nico
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Nico Atienza

A third culture kid discussing expat life in Sri Lanka, technology, travel, and food.

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