Since I’m back in Jakarta, I thought I’d post a couple of photos I took here about a month ago.
The Hotel Indonesia, built in 1962, is the oldest 5 star hotel in the country and a major landmark. I learned about it even before coming to Indonesia by reading ‘The Year of Living Dangerously’, a novel by Christopher Koch (also made into a Mel Gibson movie, but I haven’t seen it yet). That book is set in 1965, when Sukarno lost power and the “smiling general” Suharto emerged as the new dictator who ruled until 1998.
Since I’ve been here, most of my time spent outside the apartment complex is at one of the two swankiest malls in Jakarta: the Grand Indonesia and the Plaza Indonesia. The two malls are literally right accross the street from each other. They’ve got everything you could possibly want, so why go anywhere else? Anyway, for a long time I didn’t even realize that the same Hotel Indonesia I’d read about was sandwiched between the two. I’m not sure how it really went down, but in that book all kinds of important stuff happened at the hotel.
All these buildings are adjacent to a big roundabout, most often packed with honking cars, encircling a fountain and the selamat datang (welcome) statue. The easiest way to tell a cab driver to get here is to say H.I. for Hotel Indonesia, something I didn’t know until even more recently.