Looking For Love in Jakarta Part 2
The next morning (it was Wednesday) I was working in my room on a website. I had my Yahoo Messenger on so I could chat a bit in the process. Suddenly I got an YM from Astri telling me that she wanted to meet me. I was surprised because she was supposed to be working so I messaged her asking her why she wasn’t at work. She replied that she had called in sick and had not gone to work. She said she missed me and wanted to meet me. She was already looking for a taxi and she would come to my place.
This was not in the planning but luckily I had no dates scheduled and I had no plan to go to the gym so it was ok. A few hours later there was a knock on the door and I opened it and she came in with a big bag. She didn’t look sick but you can never tell with those girls as they always look fresh and shiny. We hugged and kissed a bit and then I told her she could lie down on the bed or watch TV because I had to finish some work. After I finished I joined her on the bed and we talked, kissed, and one thing led to another. She surely did not appear ill.
We talked about the trip we had planned to Pangandaran. Before I went to Jakarta we had been chatting about going to Pangandaran together for 3 or 4 days. Pangandaran is a beach resort in West Java not too far from the city of Bandung. We were planning to go to Bandung on Thursday evening in two weeks' time. Then stay in Bandung for the night at her uncle's house and then go to Pangandaran early the next morning with her uncle's car. She told me she had already contacted her uncle and he was ok with it. I really looked forward to go to Pangandaran because it had been 12 years or more since I had been there the last time.
Astri wanted to go back home around 6 pm but just before 6 it started to pour so we had to wait for another hour in my room, an hour we didn't waste.
After the rain was finished I went with her to the front to get a taxi. There are a lot of metered taxis in Jakarta from many companies. A lot of them are not really trustworthy, some don’t like to use a meter or some taxis use meters that have been tampered with to make them run way too fast. The best ones are often taxis from the companies Bluebird or Express. Express is a bit cheaper then Bluebird so we waited until an empty Express came by and we hailed it. I said goodbye and Astri got in and left.
After that I went back behind the gate to the security guy. There were 3 security guys working in 8 hour shifts at my complex. They already knew me a bit. The guy who was on shift now was the oldest one of the 3. I sat down with him and I offered him a smoke and took one myself. I speak quite good Indonesian and these guys don’t speak any English so I could communicate with him. He was of course very curious about Astri . He complimented me about how pretty she was and asked me where I had met her and how old she was and how much I had paid her. I told him I had paid nothing and he laughed. They never believe that. After that I went out on the street to get some nasi goring. Afterwards I went back to my room to watch a DVD and after that I went to sleep.
The next day I was in the gym at 4 PM. Imoet would be at the Setiabudi building at 6pm. And sure enough when I finished my gym and went out I was met with the beautiful vision of Imoet. She was in casual clothes this time and her long hair was hanging freely. Much better. She was carrying her office clothes in a bag. We decided or rather I did to go to the Pasar Festival food court for dinner. I should change myself but I am always thinking about my budget when I am with a girl. The first date I try to make a good impression because that is important so on a first date I mostly treat them to a meal at a good (more expensive) place but after the first date I tend to become more economical with the choice of the venue. This is not always a good strategy with Jakarta girls because it can lead to the girl losing interest in the guy because she might think he is stingy (pelit) and one thing most Indonesian girls dislike is a stingy guy. The food in the Pasar Festival is a lot cheaper then in the Setiabudi building.
So we walked up to the Pasar Festival which was also a bit tricky for Imoet because she was wearing impossibly high heels. The pavement in Jakarta sidewalks is a disaster, even with the best and sturdiest footwear one must still constantly look where one is walking otherwise you will stumble and trip over potholes, loose bricks, irregularities or worse you might even fall into a hole (the sidewalks are often covered with huge bricks but sometimes one is missing or broken which leaves a gap which can lead to nasty and even dangerous accidents. Sewers are below the sidewalks (mostly filled with horribly polluted water or drab, but sometimes it is dry). Once a couple of years ago I fell in a sewer in Jakarta. That time I was walking and talking to a girl and I had not been looking where I was going and suddenly I plunged right through a hole in the pavement, which initially shocked my companion but when she saw I was unharmed, she was rolling on the ground with laughter, soon joined by everybody who witnessed my accident. I was so ashamed, I wished I had sunk into the ground and disappeared.
Imoet was walking really fast, which is very atypical for Indonesian girls who normally walk as fast as 90-year olds in my country with serious hip and knee problems. The way Indonesians walk can be very annoying, they don’t just walk extremely slow they also like to walk in groups blocking the way for people who want to pass them. Another thing is that they tend to stop out of the blue (especially in malls) which can make somebody walking behind them bump into them if he or she doesn’t watch out. <They sound just like Thais! – Stick>
Anyway we got to the Pasar Festival safely, went up to the food court and ordered our food. After our food came we talked a bit and ate and after we finished our food we went to the DVD store in the mall to look for some DVDs. She got some DVDs and I got some and then we walked to my place.
We hadn’t even talked about her staying with me, it just kind of went automatically and that is the way I like it. At my place we decided to watch the movie (Hostel II).
One observation about watching a movie with a girl you have not been close with yet. Last year I brought an Indonesian girl to my place for the first time. She was really keen on getting to know me more intimately so we hurried to my place. We decided to take it slow and watch a movie first and selected the movie Hostel I. She wanted to watch it because she had heard good reviews about it. While we were watching the movie she got more and more shocked and uncomfortable, because this movie is quite gory. When the movie was finished she was so shocked and shaken that all the passionate feelings had left her. All she wanted to do was go home, get in bed and put a pillow over her head. It took me quite some persuasion to make her stay and even more to rekindle the passion back inside her but luckily I managed (maybe mostly because the prospect of having to go back home in the dark with an unknown taxi driver appealed to her even less after the movie). So sometimes it might be better to select a romantic comedy to watch together especially when one has not been intimate before with the girl in question, even though for me watching a romantic comedy is almost as boring as watching the grass grow, but sacrifices sometimes have to be made to avoid unexpected disappointments!
Anyway Imoet was made of sturdier stuff than this girl from last year, and she actually really seemed to enjoy the movie. After the movie was finished (I had only touched her a bit so far but had not kissed her yet) she laid down on the bed (still with all her clothes on) and seemed on the way to drift of into Morpheus arms.
But I didn’t want that to happen so I moved next to her and pulled her face towards mine. She looked at me a bit and suddenly she started kissing me passionately and after that it was as if a volcano erupted. She was really insatiable, I had not often experienced this with an Indonesian girl before, but I had experienced the same thing with a few Thai girls I have to say. Anyway it was a night to remember.
Her plan had been to go back home at 10.30 pm. Imoet was staying with her parents so she was not really free to spend nights with all and sundry but she was so tired around 10pm that she decided to call her parents that she as staying with one of her female friends.
The next morning she had an early shower and when she got out of the shower she was dressed once again in her office attire and knot, ready to go to the office.
Her office was not far from my place so we said our goodbyes and she took an oyek (motorbike) to her office and left.
The next Friday evening around 10 PM I could be found in my favorite bar in the Jalan Jaksa street behind a big cold bottle of Anker beer. I should be with Astri but sadly she had cancelled our meeting for some reason I forget (we were going to meet Saturday morning in the Ambassador mall instead) so I had done the next best thing. Jalan Jaksa is a famous backpacker street in Jakarta. Here you still find the cheap budget hotels and for many years the street has attracted many tourists or backpackers. Apart from the cheap hotels there are also a lot of cheap bars and pubs in the street making it also a popular place for a certain type of expat in Jakarta. The expats and tourists attract a fair few local ladies of the night for obvious reasons.
I was just starting on my third Anker when an older guy came in and planted his ass on the empty barstool next to me. He ordered a big bottle of Anker as well and from his accent when he ordered his beer I could hear he was from The Netherlands, like myself. I am not the kind of guy who immediately starts talking to other people (unless I already had 5 or more big bottles of beer then I talk to anybody) so I just kept looking around and drinking. The older guy appeared to be in a very heated SMS or chat discussion with somebody. He was constantly hammering away on his cellphone or reading messages that came very frequently with scaringly loud message alerts (similar to the noise of glass being unloaded from a container into a truck). This exchange continued and I could see the guy got more and more agitated to the point that he almost forgot his beer.
Some time later the guy looked at me in a kind of desperate way which opened the way for us to start talking. I asked him what was going on and he told me he was in an argument with his girlfriend. They had apparently started a business together about 6 months ago, but she had not been satisfied with the pace the business was developing (especially financially) so she had decided to look for a job for herself. Unfortunately the place of employment (and the job) she had chosen was not to the liking of Joost (the guy's name). The girlfriend had decided to go and work in a restaurant catering to Japanese people. At least that was what she had told Joost but a couple of days ago he had found out that it was actually a Karaoke bar for Japanese people (in the infamous Blok M area). These lies and also the fact that she often mysteriously did not come back home at night since she had been working in the place (she was living with him) had made him more and more angry and suspicious of what she was turning into.
Joost was really depending on her for the business because he did not speak any Indonesian and the ownership was in her name. He kept telling me that he had it all under control but judging from his body language and behaviour I was not 100% sure about it. I tried to give him advice but I am not really an authority on business ownership in Indonesia with a local girl because I never had any business in Indonesia. I told him at least to try to learn Bahasa Indonesia because from what he was telling me about his experiences with his girlfriend I noticed that a lot of problems came from simple miscommunication. He showed me some of her messages she sent him and her (written) English was appalling. I sometimes could hardly understand what she was writing. The fact that she often stayed away at night coming home the next day worried him. He had done extensive Google search on Japanese Karaoke venues in Blok M and he had asked locals and experienced expats about what was going on in these places and the reports he had received however mixed had not been too good. The gist he got out of this information was that the many Japanese guys in Karaokes don’t generally go there to take a girl home but there are exceptions to that rule and if a Japanese guy takes a fancy to one of the girls he will tell the manager about this and then the girl is expected to go with the guy. To make matters worse, if a Japanese guys starts taking a girl he normally comes back regularly to take that same girl out again. So his suspicion was that one of the Japanese customers had taken a fancy to his girlfriend and that she was now the paid mistress of some old Japanese guy. He kept confronting her with his suspicions but of course she kept denying. But every time her reasons for not coming back home became less plausible (at least in his eyes). And now they were also discussing this subject. His business involved an export business selling some kind of leaves that are ground into a powder and can be drunk in hot water. The leaves seem to have many beneficial effects. People seem to get really energetic and happy and confident after consuming the leaves and the leaves also help against many ailments like arthritis, sleeplessness, and maybe even cancer.
Finally their SMS exchange stopped so he could give more attention to his Anker. I was by then quite hammered! I had just started drinking for the first time now since coming to Jakarta and back home I don’t drink alcohol so I did not need more than 4 beers to feel it well and I had just started on my fifth. The more I drink the faster I tend to drown the bottles and he had also started with a vengeance to make up for the lost time. We were also smoking quite a lot and were talking about anything. The bar was getting quite packed by now also and the atmosphere was good. One small dissonant was a tall ladyboy who had taken residence on the empty seat on the other side of mine. She had been looking constantly at me trying to get my attention but I just kept pretending I didn’t see her. But as she saw me getting more and more hammered from the beers, she got bolder and suddenly I felt her massaging my upper leg. I pulled my leg away and told her to get lost and luckily she got up and left looking for a more agreeable victim.
There is something between ladyboys and me, wherever I am, even if a bar or pub is crowded with hundreds of white guys it doesn’t matter but they always seem to target me or gravitate towards me. I really don’t know what it is, maybe I look like somebody who likes ladyboys or maybe I am attractive for them or maybe I am just unlucky I don’t know. The same thing always happens in Thailand. When I am for example in a beer bar with 12 girls and one ladyboy and there are 20 westerners seated in the bar, the ladyboy will always try to hit on me or sit in the bar opposite of me trying to get me to play a game with her. Nowadays in Pattaya I always avoid beer bars with a ladyboy inside. I don’t like them and I never tried one and I have no plans to try them.
The night progressed into early morning and by now Joost was also getting pissed but not as bad as me. The more drunk he got, the more he started to talk about his leaves and the process of making them. Finally we decided to call it a night. Joost was also living in Kuningan so we decided to take a taxi back together. We exchanged telephone numbers and back in Kuningan I paid my share when we reached my place and we said our goodbyes.
The next morning I got up with a mild hangover but after a healthy breakfast and a good shower I felt better and I made myself ready to go to Ambassador to meet Astri. I replied to her good morning message and she asked me what I had done the previous night. I told her honestly that I had been to Jalan Jaksa and that I had been talking to a Dutch guy. She asked me if I had been naughty and I told her of course not, just a bit mabuk (drunk), nothing else.
I went to Ambassador around 11 and Astri came and we had coffee in a coffee place. After that we went to the Blok M because I wanted to buy some jeans and shirts there and she would help me selecting nice ones. I got some nice jeans and shirts and after that we went to the mall there to have a belated lunch. I got to know a bit more about her and her family back in New Zealand. I also asked her if they were paying for her room. Her place is 2 million Rupia and with her salary of just 4 million per month she would have a hard time paying this big bill. She told me that her parents did not pay her anything at all which set a small alarm bell off in my head. She told me she was paying it all by herself. She told me not to worry as she would never ask me for any money (more alarm bells).
Anyway, everything was still right as rain, we went back to my place and watched TV and had dinner. Later we watched some more TV or a DVD and after that we prepared ourselves for a night out. Saturday night means clubbing in Jakarta (at least for the young people) and Astri had decided we would go to the big X2 disco in the Senayan area. I don’t really care much about this disco because it is mainly populated with spoiled young people all of whom seem to be trying to impress each other with their looks and clothes and gadgets. But it is ok with a girl. I would not go to this place on my own because I would feel just as lonely and rejected in X2 as in a disco back home (I am 40 so the people in discos in my country would treat me like an old guy who has no business there whatsoever meaning they would ignore and avoid me like something that is not supposed to be there).
Anyway we had an ok night, danced a bit had a few drinks and had a laugh with some of her friends who accepted me in their circle because I was with Astri. We were not going back too late because we had plans to go to church the next day. Astri is Christian (protestant) and she liked the idea to take me to her church and I had agreed.
The next morning we got up in time (thanks to my alarm clock) and we had a shower together which almost caused us to abandon our plan to go to church. But after that we hurried and I had to skip breakfast to make up for the time lost in the shower. And after we were in our Sunday best we went up the street to get a taxi and hurried to the church. The church was not a church like we have in the Netherlands. It was located inside a big shopping mall in central Jakarta. On the top floor there was a big room with chairs and in front there was not a pulpit but just a small increase with a chair where the head of congregation would hold his speech. The place was filling up well and I noticed quite a lot of Western guys with a beautiful Indonesian girl. The service was in English and the head of the congregation was a very overweight Australian guy. The sermon was not at all like the boring sermons back home. The Australian was very funny in his speech and he played guitar very well, there was a choir and everybody (except me) was singing and clapping. After an hour or so people came by with sock like bags in which you could put some money and after that the service was finished.
After the service we went back to Kuningan to have noodles with meatballs (Mie Bakso). While we were walking to the restaurant Astri gave me a surprising bit of information about her life. She told me that she was actually not paying for her room but that she had a sponsor in New Zealand (her ex boyfriend) who was sending her the money to pay for her room every month.
This surprised me and I told her so. Why would an ex boyfriend still support his Indonesian ex girlfriend?? It didn’t make sense. Well she said he is just a good guy and he still feels for me, I told him to stop sending me money but he wants to keep sending. Hmmmmm… I have quite some experiences with Indonesian and other Asian girls and have read my share of stories so I had the distinct feeling that I was heading into some rough territory with Astri. But for now I would just let it flow and see what happens. For now we still had plans to go to Pangadaran by the end of next week and I didn’t want to miss it, and I also did not want to go there alone.
Around 7 pm Astri went home again and I was alone. I decided to tuck in early because I was quite tired.
It really does sound like the foreigner curious girls in Jakarta are much like the foreigner-curious girls in Bangkok. I get the feeling that there is a lot of fun to be had in Jakarta for the intrepid fellow willing to discover. I mean, it's not like Bangkok where there is a heap of information and the path has been walked by many before you.
On the subject of New Zealanders sending money to an ex-girlfriend, I'll tell you this much with a great deal of confidence. New Zealanders are generally good sorts, friendly and kind. But generosity in the form of providing for an ex-girlfriend doesn't sound right to me…