money, sweat, and Matt Damon

We just got home (which means the B&B where we’re currently staying in Jakarta) from watching “The Martian”. I think I liked it a lot more than Beth did, though I found a lot of it to be unrealistic or unnecessarily sappy. I liked Matt Damon’s performance, but disliked many of the other actors. I’m not sure whether to blame it on the script or the director.

Anyhow, we saw the film at a nearby shopping center called the Lippo Mall Kemang Village. It was a long, sweaty, harrowing walk there, and a long, sweaty, even more harrowing walk back. The creators of Lippo Mall didn’t design the place to be pedestrian friendly. They assumed every patron would arrive by personal car or by taxi. So there are literally no sidewalks leading to any of the several entrances to the enormous building.

Todd and the god on Semang Oct 2015
On the walk back from the shopping mall, a group of people came down both sides of the street. They were playing music and shaking buckets with loose change to get everyone’s attention, and they were accompanied by this. I donated the coins from my pocket, so he stopped for a photo with me.

That seems to be par for the course in Jakarta, though. Pedestians just walk in the street, or when there’s any room on the side of the street, they walk there. And since we’re not renting a car, we’re pedestrians!

Traffic is so crazy here. I’d heard about drivers in the developing world from my friend Bob, but even his frightening descriptions didn’t do Jakarta traffic justice. I think there is no way I could explain in words just how crazy it is, so Beth suggested I make a little video to show you. I think I’ll strap my GoPro on, hit the record button, and walk down one of the main streets during night time rush hour.

Unrelated to the insane traffic, I’m having trouble keeping perspective on money and prices. The film today, since it’s Thursday, was a discount price. Adult tickets were 40,000 IDR each. And then I bought a small salty popcorn for 15,000. So that’s 95,000, which is about 7 US dollars. So that’s, what, roughly 1/4 of what we’d pay for a movie and popcorn for two in the states. But then when we were deciding what to order at the Chinese restaurant afterward, I changed my order because the first thing that sounded good was 51,000, which was a lot compared to the second best thing which was 27,000. But later Beth pointed out the difference really is only $1.60 in US terms. So why make a big deal about it?

Last thought of the night: This B&B doesn’t have hot running water. The sink and shower in the bathroom both just have one faucet. Morning showers, after having slept in the air conditioned bedroom all night, feel shockingly cold. But after coming home drenched in sweat from a long walk, that shower feels delightful.


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