Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Jakarta-Opening Week

Went to the national monument today. Essentially a mix betweent he statue of liberty and the washington monument. we also went to an old bank (not quite significant) we were told later we only wne there bc they woulod allow us to eat lunch there. then to the old jakarta museum which used to be the dutch governors house. at least five wives of governors who lived there hung themselves fromt he belltower...

am adding photos on flickr...yes i gave in. so if you would like to see any of the great photo skillz...please chekc them out at:

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Today we went to a place called Taman Mini…semi equivalent to Minimundos in Europe, except larger (actual size houses) and specific to Indonesia. Its like an outdoor museum of all the different types of houses the Indonesians live in on all the islands. Plus the grounds include a water park, museums, etc. really cool, a bit hard to understand our guide who would use verbs as nouns, vice versa, and add an “s” to the end of every other word.

not much new...still not sick...but everyone else is.

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The 50 of us have now been briefed on all thelocations we have to choose rom in terms of cultural centers. Our choices are:

Bandung: We will be learning how to play an anklung. They didn’t really go into detail on much else. The instructor took up most of his resentation time to give us all an anklung and teach us how to play a short easy song: the do re mi song from sound of music. Here is the angling playing something a bit more modern.

Solo: In Solo we will be learning Javanese Dances. The instructor was selling people to her program by telling us how cheap everything is in Solo, about the markets, and delicious food. Also we will be learning batik in Solo.

Bali: Bali was the only presentation I liked because the instructor outlined a daily schedule about what we would be doing daily and what was expected of us (a paper in Bahasa weekly!) This includes: Balinese dance, woodcarving, Gamelan, and intense Indonesian!

Yogya: The presenter for Yogyakarta didn’t really go into much detail about the program. She kept repeating that this was for the full cultural immersion. Which didn’t make much sense since she didn’t describe anything.

Everyone is anxious to know where we will end up. We are allowed to give our first and second choices, but clearly not everyone will get to where they want.

Some random bits of information:

I am beginning to take photos of how many interesting things I see on mopeds. So far this includes: entire families, a palm tree (appox. 4 ft. tall), an air conditioning unit, chicken coop, 10 bags of gardening soil topped off with planting pots.

The air here has made everyone cough constantly. I feel bad for some of the islanders who are from such beautiful pristine places and now here they can barely breathe because of the pollution.

The Indonesians LOVE facebook.

They have: KFC, CFC, and TFC. Kentucky Freid Chicken, California Fried Chicken and Texas Fried Chicken.

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The program today began with a delicious breakfast in the morning. Rice! (There were also these cold potatoes, an egg mixture of some kind, and porridge) And some of the best coffee I have ever had.

The opening ceremony was very beautiful and held in the Pancasila Mansion where the Indonesian Constitution was written. The Foreign Minister gave opening remarks, stressing the unimportance of the recent bombings and how terrorism will lose when it can no longer puncture the societies it is intending to hurt.

The ceremony proceeded with music and the recognition of each country. Following the ceremony we had a delicious lunch and met with our respective ambassadors and other attendees. I felt like I was in a networking meeting in DC again—collecting business cards and small talk.

We then had an interesting dialogue with the Director General for Information and Public Diplomacy. He made sure we wouldn’t do drugs or have sexual relations…or what he called “good things”. Also he wanted to make sure we understood the nature of this “Cultural Diplomacy” and how we were to use it in our respective countries. He didn’t want us to stay in Indonesia after the program, as past awardees have done, but rather go back home and spread the Indonesian message. (So I’m still unsure of what will happen to me after this!)

Tonight we will go hear Balinese music somewhere in South Jakarta. We still are waiting to find out where we will be headed for the three month period…

I still have not gotten sick…but have started the malaria meds and cant wait to see if I begin having insane lucid dreams.



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Arrived in Jakarta safe and sound. After a long trip through Frankfurt, Bangkok, and Kuala Lumpur (which has a sweet airport as well).

The traffic and motorinis here are actually worse than Italy! Women ride on the back of scooters sitting sideways! No helmets either...and no cross walks...people cross the highway, no big deal.

Also, our hotel is right near where Obama grew up (Meteng) and it is a Muslim hotel...aka no real alcohol in the mini "bar" and a prayer mat and Qu'ran in our room. Just a little different than the US and A.

I am the most excited to have met the representative from TUVALU...as well as all the other Pacific Islanders. They are so much fun, and beautiful!

Also, Dunkin Donuts is everywhere...Indonesians LOVE baked goods and donuts. They love them so mmuch they put donut stands in their grocery stores. I spent only 3 dollars at the grocery store buying drinks and snacks for my room: officially the cheapest place ever!

We were around central Jakarta yesterday and it really reminds me of Beijing. There is so much being done, constant building, repairs, cleaners onthe streets, someone is always selling something.

Saw Karina as well tonight. I am so happy I got to see that girl finally!

The program today began with a delicious breakfast in the morning. Rice! (There were also these cold potatoes, an egg mixture of some kind, and porridge) And some of the best coffee I have ever had.

The opening ceremony was very beautiful and held in the Pancasila Mansion where the Indonesian Constitution was written. The Foreign Minister gave opening remarks, stressing the unimportance of the recent bombings and how terrorism will lose when it can no longer puncture the societies it is intending to hurt.

The ceremony proceeded with music and the recognition of each country. Following the ceremony we had a delicious lunch and met with our respective ambassadors and other attendees. I felt like I was in a networking meeting in DC again—collecting business cards and small talk.

We then had an interesting dialogue with the Director General for Information and Public Diplomacy. He made sure we wouldn’t do drugs or have sexual relations…or what he called “good things”. Also he wanted to make sure we understood the nature of this “Cultural Diplomacy” and how we were to use it in our respective countries. He didn’t want us to stay in Indonesia after the program, as past awardees have done, but rather go back home and spread the Indonesian message. (So I’m still unsure of what will happen to me after this!)

Tonight we will go hear Balinese music somewhere in South Jakarta. We still are waiting to find out where we will be headed for the three month period…

I still have not gotten sick…but have started the malaria meds and cant wait to see if I begin having insane lucid dreams.


Pictures to come soon...


4 comments:

  1. That's right, bring your triflin' ass home.

    ReplyDelete
  2. To bad it's Dunkin donuts and not Brueggers :(

    Good luck! I'm so happy for you - enjoy every minute.

    ReplyDelete
  3. steph- i am on..and will follow u around! i am sooo proud of u... keep on writing. hope jakarta does not turn into shanghai..remember the chaos and pollution? say hi to karina and tell her i will look her up in nyc next time!

    ReplyDelete