Monday, 2 March 2009

In Jakarta!

Oh wow. It's been just over 24 hours in Jakarta, and already there is so much I want to say about this place. Firstly, I'm here with a delegation of Middle East journalists on behalf of client, for the 5th World Islamic Economic Forum. The interesting thing about the opening ceremony of this event, is that every speaker, from the President of Indonesia to the Prime Minister of Morocco, would start his speech with "Assalamu Alaikum Wa R7mato Allah". Normal, right? But EVERY TIME, the entire audience responded in unison with "Wa 3alaikum El Salam wa ra7mato Allah wa barakto". Never seen / heard this before, but I felt there was something really genuine about it.

Here's 3 Jakarta Discoveries in 24 hours:

1. Three-in-One
The Three-in-One rule states that during rush hour (7-9am and 4-7pm) no vehicle is allowed on the roads downtown with less than 3 people in it. And if you, the driver, haven't got a 2nd passenger and you're desperate to get into town during those hours, you hire a 'jockey'. YOU pay HIM about 12,000RPs (US$1) to get in your car and help you fill your quota.

2. Smiling
Smiling works wonders with Indonesian people. It's amazing how everyone is so incredibly polite and helpful, and all because you smile at them, and say 'please'.

3. They love Amr Diab

And the proof: this guy, who performs with a band every night at the Kama Sutra night club in the Crowne Plaza Jakarta. There was also a brilliant performance of Shakira's 'Whenever, Wherever', but my uncontrollable laughter prevented me from holding the camera steady.


  1. It's just tragic that you can't try Bintang!

    EAT risjaefel, gado gado and (MOST important) beef rendang! In Bali, you must try Lilit Satay!!!

    PLEASE remember to bring back my Bali pepper and add fresh kencur to my order. If you do happen to stop by a supermarket, could you get me a couple packs Bali joss sticks? They come in packs of 1,000.

    I thank you!

  2. ok your buddy properly rocks this song!!! I think he outdoes Amr himself.