Jakarta hasn't changed all that much since I was last here - early 2008. The traffic jams hit you as soon as you leave the airport and our time of arrival didn't help! We landed at about 4.30pm and by the time the luggage arrived and we left the airport we ran right smack into the rush hour traffic. So it took us more than the one hour it normally takes to reach the hotel - The Sultan,the former Jakarta Hilton.
The hotel is lovely - set in a garden with a lake in the south side. Our room faces this lake. That night Repin had a meeting so I was left to my own devices. Since I had brought a book - that was it. I spent the time reading.
Next day, after breakfast Puan sri and I went for a massage. She also had a manicure and pedicure though I didn't have time for it. It was total R and R for the two of us! After two hours of being pampered, we were driven to a fabric shop there to wait for Prof Mansor and Tan Sri. Meanwhile Puan sri and I looked around at the fabrics. Within minutes I had already decided I had to get a few metres of Thai silk - the colours were gorgeous! I bought a length of light purple, turquoise and a salmon pink - to make baju kurong, our national costume.
That day was truly shopping day! I think I spent a total amount of 989 thousand rupiah which is roughly equivalent to RM350. A bargain.
Driving through the streets of Jakarta I noticed a number of changes -or maybe they were always there but we never really noticed them before. For one thing there were lots of flowers and fountains especially along the main road. The roads looked cleaner and better maintained and although there were always thousands of cars on the roads, and traffic looked congested, it actually was not. There were no jams anyway - just slow traffic. And I loved looking at the gardens - especially along General Sudirman road. The flowers were glorious - pinks, reds and yellows.