Where can you expect that? A three day end-of-year trip with your colleagues somewhere on a three hour flight from Jakarta, in a five star hotel full of excursions and activities arranged by an event organizer. I did enjoy it a lot. The first activity, straight from the airport, was this amazing boat ride through a beautiful nature reserve.
It is a little bit awkward to visit Indonesia’s National Monument in the heart of Jakarta as a Dutchman. After all, the Dutch are the cause of this monument after more than three centuries of colonial occupation.
Halfway the seventies of last century the monument opened to the public. It is standing in the center of one of the largest city squares in the world: Merdeka square. It is worth a visit if you happen to be in Jakarta. The tower offers a great view of the city and in a museum underneath you learn about the freedom fight of the Indonesians and their independence in the late forties.
The surroundings are also great: the enormous square is a welcome escape from the busy city and there are often a lot of events happening and in the surrounding park there are plenty of warungs; little eateries to eat a snack or refresh yourself with a tropical drink.
In the West of Jakarta is a place where you can learn crafts. It is called Indoestri, where the process is seen more important than the end product, something I fully agree with. Like travelling: the road is more important than the destination. And same counts for awesome ice creams: the eating process – including that final bite of a chocolat tip cone – is way more important than finishing your snack.
The Jakarta Biennale is at different locations and the two main museums at Kota Tua – the Old Town – both have installations on exhibition. Ten at the Jakarta History Museum and the Museum Keramik, which is located in the former Court of Justice of colonial times. A beautiful building.
This was the day planning: arrive at ten, have a breakfast at Cafe Batavia with a view at Fatahillah square, then to Keramik museum followed by the Jakarta history museum.
In practise: due to circumstances I arrived with a headache at 1.30 pm, had a late lunch at Cafe Batavia, visited Keramik museum after which I arrived at closed doors at the other museum. Who siad it that life is what happens to you while making other plans?
Jiwa means soul, and that’s the theme of this years Jakarta Biennale. Most of the art are installations displayed in big locations like the Gudang Sarinah Ekosistem warehouses, the Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics or the jakarta History museum.
My first atempt to find the Jiwa of art in Jakarta started in the Gudang Sarinah, where I met faces from paper and stone, arthouse films, unknow standing objects and here and there some sculptures, and paintings at the wall.
But it all started with a horrible traffic jam, on a weekend day. They can pop up anywhere unexpected. But traffic comes along with Jakarta, no escape, and I stopped already long time ago with complaining about it. Just go with the flow. Check your smart phone inside out till the battery is empty, but never leave home without a bottle of water, just in case you need to survive a night on the road.
The mission is only halfway cause the unexpected traffic jam blew up my schedule so I will complete this soul searching for my art feelings in a second video next week.
Now, if you made the text till here, how do you feel about the art at Jakarta Biennale (or just here in the video)?
I was more than surprised when I arrived in the old town of Malacca, what a beautiful place this is. The old center of town is roughly divided in three parts: the Portuguese area with an old church and remains of a fortress. The Dutch part is at the east side of Malacca river, an old townhall, a church and a handful of redbrick buildings around a square. And at the west bank of the river the large Jonker street area, a labyrinth of small colonial streets filled with local shops, galleries and restaurants.
I went there without any expectations, and so the effect on me was great, such great architecture and so much to explore and discover. It reminded me of just a few cities, none of them comparable on how it looks, but they can describe the kind of mood that flows through the alleys: Cartagena des Indes, Cusco, Ubud, Glastonbury and Florence. I mean, the feeling that after each corner something wonderful will show up, and then it actually happens. Got it?
If you also know of such a surprising town or city, let me know in a comment below because I would definitely put it on my bucketlist and visit it!
For the first time I watched a Grand Prix live and lucky me, the one I supported did win as well. Even more lucky; he did his brilliant overtaking move on Lewis Hamilton right in front of our K1 stand at the first turn. To celebrate this, the board Turn 1 was taken by some supporters as a souvenir. After the race doors to the grid were opened and audience speeded over the circuit to the Grandstand where national anthems were played and Champaign bottles were opened. It was one big party and pretty sure I will add another GP on my bucket list soon.
And it was in a far corner of the Central Market where I found myself the perfect souvenir. A yoga sculpture, or at least, that is what I understood from Nathan, the owner of the antique shop, who gave me quite a lecture on the origins of the small statue.
It was a long drive on the back of the motorbike of Bram, my city tourguide of the day. But we arrived in Kota Tua and visited the old buildings of the Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie.
Funny, cause after the Maritime museum and the VOC Dockyard, I ended up in the Compagnie.id, a new coffee house in the Old Town. The barista’s invited me inside for a free coffee, as they celebrated their soft opening. Jakarta always surprises.
It is good to see that the city is renovating its heritage buildings, although more can be done and saved. Although I realise money can be only spend only once, and I more urgent causes are in need of support.
Finally I find an orange cap for my coming support of the Formula 1 races in Kuala Lumpur next week. Next will be a shirt and a flag. Really wondering if I will ever find that in time in Jakarta…
In het centrum van Hanoi ligt de Tempel van Literatuur, meer dan 1000 jaar oud en opgedragen aan de wijsgeer Confucius. Een bezoek beloofd op zich al geen avontuurlijke ochtend, maar als een niet aflatende tropische regenbui je gevangen houdt onder een van de omringende pagodes van een pittoresk plein, dan komen de jeugd herinneringen aan Bruce Lee vanzelf bovendrijven.
Met dank aan de twee Koreaanse Bond girls die me aanmoedigden nog hoger te springen dan verantwoord was.
Let me know that…