It is funny that ever since I started this blog in December, I haven’t actually been travelling. The only place I have visited since Christmas day was my hometown, Jakarta. Under normal circumstances, I would not count such as travelling. However, my latest trip back home was far from normal. Five friends of three different nationalities came along with me to spend a long weekend in Jakarta, which certainly had to count for something. Hence, this is my first real post-travel blog post ever since this blog was set up, and I am pleased that I am writing about my own hometown.
I remember fretting for a few weeks leading up to the trip, trying to plan a perfect getaway for my friends. Living in Jakarta for 17 years as a rather antisocial person meant that I was practically clueless about cool hangout places and interesting things to do. So it was really down to a bit of online research, asking some more experienced friends for tips and outsourcing the tour guide service to two of my friends that I managed to pull the weekend through, very successfully if I may say so.
As a reminder for myself, I have listed down the below of what I deem to be the winning recipe for my fantastic weekend in Jakarta.
- Food, glorious food. Always fill the trip with good food. From artery-clogging sweet martabak, to a goat’s eye in milky soup to crispy curly fish – when every single meal is to be remembered, even if all else fails, the food will always be fond memories. After all, the closest way to a person’s heart is through the stomach.
- Get reliable local guides. To make up for my lack of knowledge, my two beloved friends helped me show my guest friends around the Medan quarter of Jakarta.
- Play ping pong at Google office. When you have access to the coolest office in the world, make full use of it. So when one of my friends had to attend a meeting at Google office in Jakarta, we took the liberty to chill at the play area to burn off some of the yummy Japanese food we had at the Google canteen.
- Discover a helipad randomly. It was probably only my second time to a helipad – the first one was at an Alaskan cruise. And we had so much fun at the helipad, making silly videos, doing jumps (I hope I will get to see the daylight of these pictures), taking selfies and of course admiring Jakarta from the top. Couldn’t have asked for a better accidental discovery.
- View the city skyline at night. The magic of a city view is that it looks radically different during the day and at night. I still can’t decide which one I like better, but one thing is for sure: city lights never fail to charm me.
- Crash a wedding. Indonesian weddings can be massive. And when it is a wedding of 2000 guests, you probably would not feel too guilty about bringing a friend (or five) to attend the wedding with you. After all, no one is going to notice, and someone has got to finish the copious delicious food, right?
- Be all cultural. Indonesia is so rich in culture that you have no shortage of immersing in the national culture. It could come in many forms too, from trying out digital traditional Indonesian costumes to visiting a unique restaurant and souvenir shopping – I have to say that I swelled with pride when my friends admired the beauty of Indonesian culture.
- Get trapped in the flood? Live with it. We certainly did. After a whole night of heavy rain, my house semi sort of turned into a waterfront cottage, which meant that all the sightseeing plans for the day had to be cancelled. Being the amazing people that they are, my friends were okay with it, so we spent the day watching a movie, ate ice cream and sorted through my childhood pictures. Oh, and we managed to celebrate a friend’s birthday too!
- Visit dodgy-looking places. Not that we did. We just discovered this sign purely by accident. Honest.
- Last but not least, travel with an awesome group of friends. They are the best, really. I couldn’t have asked for better friends to explore my hometown with.
P.S. It’s a bonus if one of your friends could pass off as a movie star. You might just get to watch a live paparazzi interview by a few teenage girls!
In conclusion? It was nothing short of a fantastic weekend.