As soon as I aimed the camera at it, this cat was giving me the eye. I felt like he was thinking, “What are you lookin’ at?” He watched me take his photo and then stalked me down the alley-way afterwards. It was a bit weird.
By the way, cats in Jakarta are ubiquitous, and not treated very well. It’s sad, really. Oh, and most of them are missing some, most, or all of their tails. I haven’t figured out why this is, but they are all maimed in some way. I’m not a cat person, but I feel sadness when I see them.
Or is it “peek-a-Benz”?
The problem with doorways is that you may never know what’s on the other side until you go through them. These beautiful, carved wooden doors could hold a gigantic mansion with servants and drivers and nannies. These beautiful, carved wooden doors could hold an abandoned, run-down, shack with squatters. You’ll never know until you step through the door. Oh…you can guess at it, try to look over the wall, but at some point, in order to really understand, you need to go through the door. Or, you can settle with never knowing.
Possibilities are like that. You never know exactly what you get until you walk through the door.
It’s how I ended up in Jakarta, taking photos of beautiful, carved wooden doors. I stepped through.
I live in Jakarta. I live in South Jakarta. I live in the Kemang Area of South Jakarta. I live in an apartment in the Kemang area of South Jakarta. I live in a second-floor apartment in the Kemang area of South Jakarta.
Today’s lesson in specificity has been brought to you by…
There are two seasons in Jakarta, maybe in all of Indonesia: hot and sunny(ish – it’s not always easy to tell with the smog), and hot and rainy. The rainy season is a bit of a debate – most people have their own definition of the rainy season: oh, it’s from November to January…no, it’s from October to December…no, wait, it’s from December to March. Then, wait, it’s from March to April. No one seems to know. The consensus right now is that we’re in the rainy season. This is what the sky looks like after it rains.
Yes,it’s full colour. Yes, it looks like it’s been shoved through a filter. Not, it hasn’t been.
It rained last night. Then, God turned on Photoshop and switched the world to the sepia filter. My wife called to me to come look outside. The whole world was bathed in a brown-orange-golden glow. It was like stepping out of my apartment into an aging photograph.
The only thing I adjusted was curves and levels, for better contrast.
…is so happy right now. I make a point of stopping over at my new motorcycle whenever I return from work, and even though I have to wait for the licence plates (or not, according to my friend Setyo) I am still really excited. When I was a kid, I always wanted a motorcycle. Now…I’ve got one. The little boy inside my head is smiling all the time…and will continue to smile until I actually have to remember how to ride, shift, brake and throttle. I’ll let you know how it goes.
For now, I’m posting another angle on the Vespas up my street. I will bring my camera with me tomorrow, and snap some new stuff. In the meantime, please accept these broken-down vehicles.
I was walking home two days ago and I noticed the Masjid on Kemang Jalan Barat. I snapped a photo. Here it is.
I must be really tired.
These Vespas are on the way to school. I’m in the market for a motorcycle right now, and if the rules for buying one get any more complex and the “ease” of getting one gets any less easy, I may make an offer on one of these. Maybe the one without the seat.
This is great food. They display it in the window, and they bring all of this to your table and whatever you eat is what you pay for. It is brilliant food. Tasty. Spicy. Fried. All the things I shouldn’t eat, and it’s amazing.
So healthy food is on the menu again after tonight, but awesome, greasy, spicy food with a good friend is about as great as a night can get.
By the way, the crappy quality is because this is my phone camera. I didn’t have my big camera with me.
We are part of a huge zoo, the human zoo, and we’re all on exhibit every day.
Whoa…tired…feeling philosophical. I should probably just try to sleep.
Well, I’m not American, but every day is a good day to be thankful. Having spent my life in Canada, and just having moved to South Asia, Jakarta specifically, I have had much…more than much…for which to be thankful. My walk to and from school makes me remember that I am in a privileged spot in this city, this country really. I have a lovely, relatively un-decorated, large apartment, a beautiful family, a well-appointed job, a couple of motorcycles to buy (this week, hopefully), and a well-stocked kitchen, even though we don’t always eat at home. A ridiculously high number of people in this country don’t have that, any of that. I am colossally, universally, cosmically thankful.
This was shot, by the way, at the Ragunan Zoo back in August. If this is any indication of the massively disparate economies of this country, it cost my family 14000 Rupiah to enter this zoo. That works out to about $1.50 Canadian, or American for that matter. All four of us for $1.50.
probably because, everywhere I go in Jakarta, there are so many security guards. Security is a micro-economy here in Jakarta. We have security at our apartment, as seen above, at our school, at the local grocery stores, in the malls, on the street directing traffic. They are ubiquitous. If I didn’t know better, security guards could be the national bird of Indonesia.
I love these guys, though. I’ve never met one who hasn’t flashed a gigantic grin when I say, ‘Hi,’ and who isn’t genuinely helpful. Thank you, security guys. You make me feel secure.
The most fun way to get around on foot is to take these back alleys. I often am not sure where I’m going to end up, but that’s the adventure of wandering through back lanes.
It should be said that most of these alleys are, in fact, full roads that are used by motorcycles and cars. And no, they’re not really big enough for that, but that’s how they’re used.
…I forgot how much fun it is to shoot in a super-shallow depth of field. I slapped my 55mm, f1.8, vintage Pentax lens on my camera and took a walk to school. This little piece of graffiti caught my eye and I shot it at f2.8 and it turned out like this.
What do you think?
One of the many forms of transportation around Jakarta. I’ve thought about giving some of these forms a try, and then I remember that I like walking. And living. Living is good.
This Datsun is parked in the alleyway that I walk to work. I’ve snapped a couple of photos of it, and the last time I did the owner was quick to inform me that it was for sale. I guess he spotted me checking it out and figured maybe he could get rid of it. I’ve actually always liked these cars, so it would have been a good fit, it I weren’t living in Jakarta.
This city, my city, is insanely constructed. It has no plan, or maybe “organically planned” is a better way to phrase it. Things just pop up where they do, rather than being planned. From the 15th floor of my school, everything looks well-constructed, but walk these streets…walk the alleys and half-thought-out sidewalks…and you find just how un-constructed this city really is.
I love the laundry service around Jakarta. Just two doors over from this place is the dry cleaner I use, Londre, but this sign had an old school feel to it. Also, for those of you who are into safety, check out the larger version of this – the electrical connections up there…well, I don’t like to look. It seems like a bunch of extension cords all spliced off the main lines.
…my apologies to Robert Frost.
There are so many walkways, pathways, alleyways, and streets here in Jakarta Selatan that I’ve not walked yet, but it is fun taking photographs of them.
Before I moved to Indonesia, I had seen photos of South Asian families riding on motorcycles. The whole family. Parents, kids, babies with groceries, backpacks and whatever else all packed on what we, in Canada, referred to as a scooter. Some little 125cc Honda.
Then I got here and witnessed it for myself. One part of me is excited at the prospect of getting a motorcycle and riding around Jakarta streets. The parent in me has little, maybe no, interest at getting my kids on my bike and riding with me.
How does the saying go? When in Rome? or Jakarta?