She chose crab, prawns and some form of fish, served up with a large portion of rice. Each of the seafood dishes were served in a spicy sauce and the whole meal was absolutely delicious.
Melisa very kindly took the shells off the prawns and crab for me and dealt with the bones of the fish. It looked like a lot of food, but I was so hungry, I was able to help out in devouring the lot, with just a little rice left over.
Stu took me to another bar, but despite my coke break while we ate, I wasn’t in the mood for drinking much more. My mum had texted me to avoid keeping up with Stu’s overwhelming powers of consumption, and that’s what I did. So after a couple of light beverages (light compared to Stu), it was taxi for Fisk and I headed back to Bart’s.
The following day, I was up early, but after Bart had headed off for work, so Shinta showed me how to get to the pool in the neighbouring apartment block. There was a pool in their own block, but they preferred this one, which is quite impressive, on the eighth floor, with fine views of the surrounding cityscape. I’m not much of a swimmer, so did not stay for long. I went to the nearby mall, got some cash out and bought some cheese and bread rolls for my lunch.
With plenty of time on my hands, I decided that afternoon I would visit Jakarta’s national monument, another taxi ride away.
I would be spending a fair bit of my time in taxis. The local firm is called Bluebird, so I felt at home in a way, despite not meeting an English speaking taxi driver.
Let me explain Jakarta’s road system. Basically, it’s a free for all. Mostly heavily congested, cars and bikes – there are more motorbikes than I’d ever seen – weave their way in and out, horns beeping at every opportunity, not by way of aggression, but more to alert fellow drivers of one’s presence. It’s almost as if the cars themselves have their own form of body language. To the outsider, it looks as if pure guesswork is involved as to whose right of way it is. Despite this, I witnessed not one collision or hold up as a result of a collision while I was in Indonesia, so somehow the system must work.
There is talk of an underground system being built, but this is apparently some way off and would not ease congestion that much as initially at least there are no plans for it to cover the whole city.
So anyway, I arrived at the monument not realising that there would be the option of going up it. I first looked around the museum on the ground floor before joining the lengthy queue for the lift to the top. It was a tight little enclosed lift and I felt quite sorry the lift operator – not much of a job.
Once again, at the top of the monument, my vertigo took hold of me and I was very anxious about going close to the edge, despite the surrounding bars. After just a short time, I decided to join the queue to go back down.
That evening, Paul took me to some of his favourite bars. We started in______ where we met two of his friends, Per and Frederick, during an extended form of happy hour. Paul’s friends had been there more or less from the start, so we had some catching up to do.
Per told me how he had at one time had what I might consider to be my dream job, he was a poker journalist. He worked for a Swedish poker website who would pay him to travel the world meeting all the famous players. Per and I discussed some favourite famous hands which was good entertainment, though it meant zero to Paul.
After a few beers, the happy hour finished. We left Per and Frederick and went to another one of Paul’s stomping grounds. Here we met an Australian named Steve who looked good for his sixty years. The drinking continued and I even had a little dance – an indicator that I was starting to get a little tipsy.
It was about 11pm but Paul was in no mood for an early finish and took me to another couple of clubs. In one, I had my first introduction to some lady boys, though I didn’t realise at first. Finally by around 2am, I let Paul know I was flagging and we called it a night. At least I’d seen some of the Indonesian night life.