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Thursday, January 29, 2015

15 Days to Freedom New Year Blog Challenge: Day 14 - I'm forever a tourist in my own town, and I love it!

Day 14 - I'm forever a tourist in my own town, and I love it!

YES! I LOVE this question! ;D

I feel alive most of the time I'm out in the city because I play this "tourist game" almost every day. Or perhaps every day, in fact.

I live in Jakarta since 1992 when I went to study at the University of Indonesia, and it was so exciting, as a little girl from a little town of Yogyakarta, about 800km away in the center of the island of Java, to be in the big capital city, and actually live there!

Everyday was a discovery. There was always a new word to learn (the Jakarta dialect was as fun as it was confusing when you start to learn!), new food to taste (street food, always street food). I was a tourist in my everyday life, and it just became a habit.

I love getting lost in the city - in the {traditional} residential areas where people are so nice and kind and they would be amused that you're wandering and normally they would show you shortcuts and nearby street food stalls if you're hungry or just need to rest and have a tea.

The word for that kind of wandering in the traditional residential areas is "blusukan" which became very popular when our President Joko Widodo, then Governor of Jakarta did that quite a lot to see the real situation in the city.

I also love history, love visiting the old town while learning about history of Jakarta. I feel home in the museums. So I'm very lucky that in this city of more than 13 million inhabitants, it's quite easy to find a community or like-minded people: friends of museums, lovers of history, culinary adventurers.

And a lot of huge shopping malls with a lot of entertainment, attractions and eating places inside.

But if you ask me, wandering in the old town, including the china town and eating out in the traditional markets is still my favorite thing. Especially in this time of year, the chinese new year - it's fantastic atmosphere in there! And I always feel like a tourist, a happy, excited one.

And oh, I almost forget one favorite thing, pampering myself in a traditional spa! My friends from outside Jakarta all swear by it too. In this kind of spa you can choose from many kinds of traditional treatments from all over Indonesia. Mostly Javanese or Balinese, but I've tried out traditional treatments from the islands of Sulawesi, Kalimantan (Borneo) and Sumatra. Different massage techniques and different sequences of beauty rituals, but all use natural ingredients like turmeric, rice, spices, fragrant herbs and leaves and flowers and fruit and one of my favorites: coffee (real coffee!). In the background it's the sound of water fountain (real one) and the peaceful Indonesian traditional music, and you're treated with homemade lemongrass tea and ginger tea. Total bliss!

Oh dear, indeed I feel very lucky! ;D

 PS...PSS.... THIS IS ANOTHER FAVORITE THING OF MINE: Ever seen a Swedish Dala Horse going around Jakarta (and Indonesia)? Starting in 2013 when I knew Instagram for the first time, I smuggle a small Swedish Dala Horse in my bag, almost everywhere I go. Then I often took that little wooden horse "blusukan" (see the term above) and meeting people, street food, fruit or jamu (javanese traditional herbal drink) sellers. It becomes really interesting because it 'forced' me to see Jakarta from a Swedish dala horse point of view! It forces me to see my daily life like a tourist, and no wonder, I felt alive in the company of that horse! ;D

You can see the pictures on my Instagram account but I'm posting some samples below:

The Dalahorse going "blusukan" in the residential areas, talking with happy kids (and ducks, and chickens...)

The Dalahorse goes to Monas! (the National Monument, the landmark of Jakarta)

We are going to eat Nasi Goreng (fried rice, a must try if you go to Indonesia) at a street food stall.

Grilled corns after a long walk...yummm...

Grilled rice in banana leaves and spicy tempeh and hot tea... it's what people traditionally have for lunch. Delicious!

OMG! The jamu seller has the turmeric drink in an Absolut Vodka bottle!! She thinks it's a beautiful bottle :D

Look! Jakarta welcomes me!!! (that's the statue of "Welcome to Jakarta" at Hotel Indonesia roundabout, one of Jakarta's landmarks)

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