A journal about a girl life and her view about life in Jakarta

Friday, April 07, 2006

Driving in Jakarta

Driving in Jakarta demands a totally different driving skill set. If you are a polite, patient and prudent driver, do not ever drive in Jakarta. You could end up killing yourself. My husband drives our car more often than me. I gave up on driving. It becomes too dangerous to drive for me in Jakarta, except when the traffic was less crowded, like on Sunday.

For me, the motor bike driver is my eternal enemy. Not all of them, of course. But some of those drivers are daredevil driver. They are beast and monster. They do not care that there are cars with different direction that may or may not endanger them. And the volume of the motor bike on the street, especially after the BBM hike, become almost incomprehensible for me. So many of them. There is this roundabout in Jalan Sudirman where my route back home is going across that roundabout. Amazingly, we always have the motor bike driver going from the LEFT to our right, cutting across our route with abandon not caring that we may or may not see him. What a vaudeville act !

Another enemy is what I call 'red devil', metro mini and kopaja. They are public transporation in the form of mini buses. My God, how the driver drive like crazy. My father told me that each driver was given something like four trips to make money and then another driver will take another turn and so it goes like that. In the end, they need to complete the round very fast to allow a second turn for them. They are so reckless that one of these guys actually drive through a cop to die.

You know what the derogatory term people in Jakarta used whenever they see a car driven slowly or awkwardly ? 'That must be driven by woman'.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Home Sweet Home

For a local girl living in Jakarta, with a husband, the most trying thing for me, is to find a nice decent place to live. We, my husband and I, have been thinking about it for years. We would love to have big houses, or just a house with several rooms for our things and for us to grow old in. See, I am a hopeless hoarder. I collect all things. Chinas, CDs, DVDs and most incorrigible is our collection of books. The books exceed what a normal Indonesia household would have by thousands. And to think that we are still in our thirties..

Now, the houses that can fill our things would have been horrendously expensive. Except if they are located out of town, like Cibubur or Bintaro. The problem is, we both do not really have that much stamina to drive in and out city. So we go round and round and round.. until we decide that we probably should start with apartment and then go on to own house for our next purchase..

The problem with buying a dwelling is that once you buy them there will be so many comments, sometimes terribly conflicting and even downright telling you that you have commit the biggest mistake in your life by buying this particular property. The market is soft and you will lose so much of your money. My advice is, you need to remember only one credo : location, location and location. The rest, is up to you. You just need to LOVE the place. My husband look at the apartment and before I have the time to even negotiate, he was saying, let's do it. Bad timing, maybe, but I know that this is going to be great. At least he will not going to grumble about the place. If he's happy, I'm happy. Finger crossed. You gonna stuck with it for a very long time. Maybe. It does not matter how cheap it is or expensive, if it does not give you the right vibe, forget it. Then be careful, you need to stretch yourself quite thin, but not too damned thin when it come to your ability to pay.

If you buy an apartment, like mine, you need to decorate it in a way that make you feel like it IS a palace and a place of your own. Don't be a cheapskate. You don't want to buy something and not want to live in it. It is a pretty small space, so you would naturally feel confine. We, Indonesian, like spacious places. It is in our blood. So you need to make your apartment feel spacious and homey. Forget about being chic and hip and happening. If you don't like it, you gonna feel trap and make premature decision to buy another place unnecessarily or even to sell..

When we bought our place, the first thing we thought about was the location. We decided that Sudirman, Thamrin and Kuningan would be the best because these are the business districts. They have limited spaces. We want to be able to rent the apartment out in the future. We believe an apartment with middle range price would be our safest bet. So when this new apartment in Sudirman with middle price range on offer, we start to look at it. But not until the second year that we decide to really visit the place, by then, the construction already started and we know how serious is the developer. You need to decide for yourself, which is more important and doable for you, the best payment term or the cheapest price. Hard cash is non option for us. We are too poor to pay hard cash. So we end up with the easiest payment term but not the cheapest price.

We have not try (although we should) to compare prices between banks. It is in our next to do list. It will be another headache, I know. My father has been screaming at me to get on with this. We, me and my husband, are the kind of people who does things belatedly...

Happy house hunting everyone !!

PS : About those thousands books, we still put it in my parent's house, of course... I can only afford to bring some of them to my apartment.. But at least we do not live in my parent home anymore..

Entry Number One

Namanya juga judulnya Surviving di Jakarta oleh Jakarta Girl, pastinya harus ada gambar yang simbolik banget tentang Jakarta. Apalagi coba kalau bukan Monas. Monas itu reflektif perkembangan Jakarta. Dulu, lewat Monas rasanya lucu banget karena banyak bener yang 'berjualan' di Monas. Sesudah itu, mulai pembaharuan. Berawal dengan semangat tinggi, sampe mau pake ada binatang - binatang segala. Kaya Hyde Park di London. Tapi kan di sini asep knalpotnya ngeri bener. Ya udah pastinya mati. Sekarang binatang - binatang udah ga berapa kelihatan, tapi yang pasti udah ada pagar tinggi. Kelihatan terawat dan nggak menakutkan lagi. Seneng deh rasanya..

Welcome to my world !