That sense of belonging…

4094494847_620052ec40After my buddy Danny fixed up his blog, I ran across this post that he apparently posted a long time ago and totally forgot to tell me about! It meshes quite nicely with my own opinions on places in Indonesia. A great example being Jalan Jaksa in Jakarta.

Jaksa is often considered to be a “bad place” by many people, it’s not that bad though, but it does take a fair amount of getting used to if you aren’t one of the “weird” people. Jaksa is a place where nobody really cares who you are or what you do, as long as you don’t cause trouble you can pretty much get away with being whatever or whoever you want to be, or are.

You’ll find cheap food, cheap drinks, cheap prostitutes, and the occasional transvestite and transgender people there. Does anyone care? Not really. It’s where you’ll find many expats who’ve been around the block for a while, and you’ll find backpackers, and other foreigners who are in some form or other looking for a good time on the cheap. The food isn’t great, but not bad. Drink choices aren’t great, but not bad. The atmosphere, on the other hand… you can write books on that!

I’ve been a part of the Jaksa crowd for the last 7 years, courtesy of Danny, who first dragged me off there. I know many people, many people know me – best of all, any time I get down there, it feels like coming home to some extent. It’s just that sense of being in a place where nobody cares that I’m a few marbles short of being entirely sane, a place where nobody really cares that I’m a foreigner, and a place where I can actually just sit and watch the more interesting specimens of human society doing their thing – and with it comes a sense of belonging…

Is it important? Well, that depends on who you ask. I generally don’t care what people think of me, but it’s nice to be in a place where you don’t have to put on your “everyone piss the hell off” face to avoid having people get on your nerves by their sheer ignorance or shortsightedness.

So I get that post. Totally.

Ben van Staveren

A somewhat odd traveler, wanderer, wonderer and all-around sarcastic pain in peoples' asses, most of the time. Keeps busy with IT security, random acts of geekery, and other things that have nothing whatsoever to do with IT, computers, or electronics. Can currently be found residing in Jakarta, Indonesia.

  • Ah yes. Good ol’Jaksa.
    Thing is, when you talk about it, some people will assume you’re one of these expats who come there with his dong in one hand and wallet in the other to pretend for a night they’re kings of the world.
    But there’s so much more fun in just being there and blending in, rescuing damsels in distress and defusing fights people are trying to pick up. Or just sitting and watching, depending on your mood :D

    • Ben van Staveren

      Usually just sitting and watching >.>