Ok, I had not intended this title for my first blog entry from Jakarta, but that’s exactly what I’m doing right this instant and I’m itching like crazy!
Jakarta’s pretty much the same as it was 2 years ago when I was here last. Grid-lock traffic and air-pollution strikes me first :P But that’s always been the case and not what I came for. Yesterday, after Grandma and Auntie Yen picked Mom and me up from the airport, it was straight to the business of shopping/browsing. Found some adorable flower girl dresses and baskets of which I took pictures to check with the others.
We were out the entire day with no rest at all such that I fell asleep during dinner. Literally. :P It’s the longest I’ve stayed awake since I came back to this part of the world though, so I guess there’s some progress jet-lag wise.
3 Generation of Women
Auntie Yen has been my favourite aunt since as long as I can remember. I used to remember her as the funny aunt. She’s a talkative and very animated one, and it just occurred to me yesterday that er… we are a little similar.
Auntie Yen is my second youngest aunt, and everytime she meets my mom (which isn’t very often considering they stay in different countries), she would talk and talk and talk and talk… story after story, all very funny ones of course. She would at times gang up with me against my mom. Such as when I ‘complained’ to my grandmother that my mom was very naughty. Auntie Yen immediately raised her hand and shouted, “I agree!” And, knowing that my mom always kept a granola/nut bar in her hand-bag, Auntie Yen kept moaning about hunger until my mom took out the granola bar for her. *rolls eyes* With all the juvenile banter going on between the sisters in the car yesterday, I certainly didn’t feel like the youngest one!
It’s pretty uncanny, but Kenneth, one of my younger cousins (born in ’87) has some speaking mannerisms and facial expressions very much like John. When this observation came to light, my mom demanded royalty payment from Auntie Yen. Of course then Auntie Yen tried to pull the same stunt on my mom because she thinks I ‘take after’ her too. :P
Straight from the airport, we went to have Bakmi Gajah Mada (Bakmi GM) for lunch upon my request. My childhood memories of vacations in Jakarta always featured this delicious meatball noodle. Back then it used to be just one small little family restaurant. Now it’s still a family-run business, but they have several modern eateries, and even a branch in L.A. (because the grandchild of the owner is studying there). I’ll upload pics after I get back to Singapore.
Pre-dinner, I shared gado-gado with Mom and Auntie Yen. I guess you could say it’s an Indonesian salad. Blanched vege of all kinds, plus tofu, smothered in a fragrant and spicy peanut based sauce. Yum! For dinner, Uncle Cung (the younger of my mom’s two younger brothers) took us to Gyoza for chinese food. (Yah, go figure :P)
Uncle Cung is the uncle who loves to drive his nieces and nephews crazy with pranks, jokes and magic tricks when we were little. Even now, with most of us grown up, he rarely lets up. He sometimes still smses me when I’m in Toronto with inane jokes by way of saying hello. :P During dinner yesterday, he kept referring to me as ‘the Canadian’ and plying me with food that he thinks ‘the Canadian’ must miss, even though he knows that there’s plenty of chinese food in Toronto. :)
I’m waiting at Uncle Cung’s home now while mom gets a haircut. It’s going to be another day of shopping and travel today. We’re going to a ‘one-stop’ Wedding Boutique later where we can check out gowns, bridesmaid dresses, invitations, wedding favours etc. Then, we (and this time I mean all my aunts and uncles too) are going up to my Uncle Ming’s mountain villa in Puncak where the ‘adults’ are going to have a family meeting regarding my grandmother’s 80th birthday bash this September. I haven’t been to Pucak in more than 10 years… it used to seem like a palace to me when I was little. I look forward to exploring the grounds again.
After the meeting, mom, Auntie Yen and I plan to drive another 2 hours to Bandung, a city famed for its outlet shopping. That’s where we’ll spend the night, and most of Sunday.
I’m definitely not a shopper by nature or by nurture. I can imagine how many items a few friends of mine would have already loaded up on given what was available yesterday. :P Well, I can always say I’m waiting for Bandung. :P
Ok, I think I’ve provided a feast for the mosquitoes here. Time to seek another place where I will not be the main course for hungry insects.
Zibin’s on the way back to Singapore now. Seems like we’re playing hide-and-seek. :) Or maybe I’m just giving him a second chance to pick me up at the airport. *ha ha* I’m really looking forward to seeing him though… something big still seems to be missing until then.