Shower power and the Jakarta jam

It’s said Jakarta’s traffic is some of the worst in the world – which is a big call when you’re considering Manila, Bangkok and lovely Cairo. If this sweeping statement wasn’t true, I’d be able to tell you more about Jakarta – the shops, the cafes, etc etc. But much of the afternoon of planned sightseeing was spent encased in a mostly-stationary mini-van, looking at spectacular buildings, but unable to find out what they were and who designed them.

We did, however, see the school that little Barry went to (yeah, that’s Barak Obama to everyone else in the world), and Sukharno’s last erection, as the locals refer to the National Monument. The 137 metre column was the site of an anti-drugs demonstration, the friendly coppers told us. With its young guys in polyester tracksuits waving their arms in time to some fairly miliaristic music, it looked more like a North Korean mass jazzercise program.

Friendly’s the key word here: Jakarta is far less conservative than the international press would have it. Visions of veiled women and mass religion seems far from the truth: we are constantly waved at by smiling kids and adults alike and the city is a mixed bag of morals from headscarves to shorts on girls, and from my limited experience in bars (ok, so I’ve been to only one to date) accommodating to the extreme.

However, who needs bars and nightclubs when you have a shower like I’ve got a shower? The Italian cubicle is a standalone affair in my hotel bathroom that requires some serious thought, otherwise you’d end up leaping in there at 8am, hitting every button, which includes aircon, radio, sauna and water. And it all comes hitting you at once. Steamy, loud and sweaty, I could have been in a nightclub. Now if I could just program the world’s first free-thinking toilet to bring me a drink…

About the author

Fear is found on a creaking glacier in the Caucasus mountains and joy is encapsulated in the perfect Shanghai dumpling. And while I love a $500-a-night hotel room (who doesn’t?), sometimes the best stories are found in a $20 guesthouse. With an eye always out for good markets and great street eats, I write the travel news and features for the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age newspapers, and features for whoever else asks. I have a particular soft spot for the wilds of the Middle East, scarves and carpets. My articles and photographs have been published in a range of consumer magazines and newspapers in Australia and abroad, and occasionally I chat on radio, too, from Essentials Magazine to 3AW or the Irish Times.

One thought on “Shower power and the Jakarta jam

  1. Hi Belle, Well it is really good idea. If you tell them to design the shower to bring you a drink while you are using it. Really good idea and that is what exactly missing in that showers. B, show us more photos for these showers !!.

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