Daily life in Jakarta

12196142_1154910351187510_6672215356182971_nThe morning starts the same every day: with the horrific sound of my alarm clock and me snoozing at least three times. Next, I get up. I go into my bathroom and if I am unlucky, there is no water. I don’t know how this happens, but I have spent two mornings rather cranky because I could not take a shower. But, as the positive person I am, I choose to be grateful for all the other days I do have water.

I live in a “kost” which is a boarding house. I have a room with ac, a double bed (heaven) and a private bathroom. The boarding house is run by four or five amazing women who spend all day working. The service in a place like this is amazing: let me give you some examples.
They clean my room, every day. In the beginning they also made my bed, but I didn’t like this because I had to arrange the pillows every time, so with the help of my colleagues I wrote them a note, telling them I loved the service, but if they please could leave the bed as is (did I mention they don’t speak any English?) Anyway, they clean. All the rubbish I collect in a day, I put in a bin outside. Also, every day they will wash four pieces of clothing for me – by hand. And there are about 30 rooms in the place, so you do the math.

After I am showered and ready, I get my clean clothes from the hallway and walk out the door. When I am out of the front gate, I make my way to work. I walk, and it takes me about 25 minutes. In the time here that I wasn’t able to walk anywhere, let alone walk 25 minutes to work, I went to work with a grab-bike. It is this amazing application, where you enter where you are and where you want to go, and what do you know, next thing a motorbike driver shows up at your location and takes you to said location. All for the sweet low price of 15.000 rupiah (1 euro. Let me repeat: 1 euro!!!). It may be needless to say I use this a lot. It is so much quicker than a taxi. The only downside for a bule (foreigner) like me is the fact that they usually call you to verify your booking and check to see where you are. The drivers often don’t speak English either, so this occasionally causes some confusion. Sometimes I answer the phone and all they say is: ‘sebentar ya?’
Okelah pak. And I hang up. This, I can do. If they ask me where I am, I can also still answer. But any follow-up questions cause major confusion on my side and I have to look for someone to take the phone and explain to the driver where he has to go. If I am with a friend I just let them answer the phone right away, which is much easier. Although, one time when a guy answered the phone for me, the driver was a bit surprised when I showed up.


The first thing I do in the office is have some breakfast. When I first got to this neighbourhood, I used to go to the supermarket and buy a lot of mangos, sometimes pineapple or watermelon. I would get up in the morning, cut everything up and eat it. But the longer I was here, the later I wanted to get up. So the next step was cutting everything up, putting it in plastic containers, and taking it with me to work. But during the time I couldn’t walk, the supermarket was a challenge I wasn’t ready for, and because of the one-way traffic the driver arrived at my office from the other side of the building, taking a different route. And on the way there, we passed like three different fruit carts! The fruit is already cut in pieces and even cheaper than in the supermarket! So now, every morning, I walk to work with a small detour, and I buy fruit. The price, you may ask? IDR 3.000 per piece. I usually buy six, so I pay delapan belas ribu rupiah (18.000 rupiah). Oh my god, you are so fast with comparing it to the Grab-bike ride! Indeed, it is a little bit more than a euro.


The workday differs. Usually we all hang out in the office, do some work. Sometimes the concentration is gone for a while, and then there is a lot of talking and laughing. If the internet doesn’t work, we have to resort to other measures, such as playing a game (werewolves/mafia, for instance).

During lunch, we have three options. Well, there are more options, but these are the three we use often. We can eithFullSizeRenderer go next door, where I always get gado-gado, which is so good there! We can also go to
RNI (I don’t know what it stands for), which is a bit of a longer walk (5 minutes instead of 2). We go there often because of the chicken guy. I won’t elaborate on that. And lastly there is the third floor of our building, when we get sick of these two options. But sometimes we also go somewhere further away. To a mall nearby, for instance. Usually I don’t pay more than 15.000 rupiah for lunch (do you see a pattern?)


The food here is great. So great. I may have mentioned this before, so I will just say this: the food here is great. Sangat enak sekali!

In the middle of the afternoon, around three, the smell of fried deliciousness penetrates the office doors and with great enthusiasm we walk to the other side of the hallway to buy gorengan. It is food that is fried and there are a lot of variations. It is a great mid-day snack and tastes so good. The guy always jokes by replacing the word thousand with million when talking about prices, which causes a few giggles. It is a great distraction from the workday and because he is not here everyday, it is always a nice surprise.

After work, I go to a nearby hotel that is on the way to my house, where I do some exercise in the gym or I swim (in the pool). Afterwards I go into the sauna and relax. And I am revived after a shower and ready for the evening.

IMG_8143I usually get some food in my neighbourhood, either at a food court, or at one of the many warteg (small restaurants, kind of buffet style). I always get it to go, because I cannot let go of my habit to eat while watching a tv-show. And I’m sure you already guessed it. The food: never more than 15.000 rupiah (1 euro).

On some nights, I don’t go home, but I eat with friends and hang out somewhere. A couple of times I went to the cinema here. The caramel popcorn is to die for and the velvet class is totally worth the money. See the picture below. Even for a bed like this, you pay less than a cinema in The Expensive West.


Conclusion, short and sweet: Indonesia is fantastic, money is worth so much here and it is all great. I wish I could tell you more about all my disappointments, to make this blog more juicy. But I am (not) sorry to say, there are none.