Pulau Seribu: Indonesia’s Maldives?

The Thousand Red Question Marks: We’d heard the horror stories: trash so thick that the beach was rendered useless; reefs a wasteland choked by the city’s rampant pollution; facilities more abysmal than relaxing. But we still had to go—we just had to.   Even before moving to Jakarta we had our eyes on Pulau Seribu—that… Continue reading Pulau Seribu: Indonesia’s Maldives?

Jogja Part One: Vendetta

“I’m coming for you, Jogja, and this time,” I clinched my fists at my sides, “it’s personal.” “What are you mumbling about?” Andy yelled over the din of traffic, already hefting her backpack from the taxi’s trunk.  An endless stream of Jakarta headlights and blaring horns rumbled between us and the train station.  “Are you… Continue reading Jogja Part One: Vendetta

When I’m Mayor 2: El in the MRT

Good morning, fellow citizens.  It’s my privilege to come before you once again and present a bit more of my mayoral campaign platform.  After all, the election is quickly approaching.  Today, I’m addressing a problem of considerable concern to our fair city: the traffic. As it now stands, traffic is the unsightly stranglehold of Jakarta. … Continue reading When I’m Mayor 2: El in the MRT

When I’m Mayor: Ban the Bajaj

Elections are around the corner, and as Indonesia’s president nears the completion of his second term, the race will go to a newcomer, a presidential rookie, an executive greenhorn, a leader wet behind the ears, a—well, you get the picture. But what interests me more is that, from what I’m told, one of the frontrunners… Continue reading When I’m Mayor: Ban the Bajaj

A Roof of One’s Own

Down the sterile, stagnant hall, a door was open: Exit.  Stairs.  She and I had nothing pressing, so I squeezed her hand in mine, and we stepped through—through and the musk was scattered by a breeze, through and up a short half-flight, through and we arrived on the unguarded roof. The tight confines of the… Continue reading A Roof of One’s Own

Indonesia v. Liverpool FC

Jakarta, July 20, 2013 Flares sizzle, hiss, and menace angry orange, smoke pours from mouths of pounding fireworks, and the chants and rants of frantic, unison youth rumble and split the sticky fog of sweat and fumes.   On the pitch, men sprint and kick, give rise to frenzied shouts of hordes ringing round, hordes… Continue reading Indonesia v. Liverpool FC

Wipe the Fours

I’m two weeks into the Jakarta experience, and I’ve noticed there are no fourth floors.  No fourth, no fourteenth, no twenty-fourth—you get the picture.  Take a look at the elevator keypad to our apartment—not a four to be found.  The explanation I was given is that the Chinese syllable for “four” rings eerily similar to… Continue reading Wipe the Fours

New Home

  Sometimes I wake and walk outside to a world that smells funny.  I don’t think I’m the only one—probably 20 million other Jakartians could say the same.  No one can really explain what it is, though.  Maybe it’s ten million motorbikes’ exhaust trapped under tropical clouds sagging heavy under the weight of their water… Continue reading New Home

347 lbs

That’s all we have left to live on in Jakarta.   It’s a ridiculous amount to reduce your possessions to, at least after spending the last five years unknowingly hoarding a houseful of stuff in America.   It’s also a ridiculous amount to manhandle through luggage check-ins and customs screenings.   But reducing your earthly… Continue reading 347 lbs

I Swear It’s Not Another Food Blog

For a guy moving himself off to Jakarta in a month, I’ve eaten surprisingly little Indonesian food—none, in fact, because Google knows of no place within a hundred miles serving such fare.  So it was a fateful day indeed when Andy and I stumbled across a some-assembly-required salsa packet for Nasi Goreng. And so this… Continue reading I Swear It’s Not Another Food Blog