My Love-Hate Affair with Jakarta


Things I will miss if I move back to the US:

  • My immediate-big-crazy-obnoxious-families of course – do I need to say more?!
  • The authentic Indonesian foods – Most definitely, I will find myself hunting for the right ingredients at an Asian Market or ordering it online with a more expensive price tags of course then slaving away in the kitchen, just for the sake of satisfying the craving of the delicious food from home.
  • The beauty salons – There is no way in the world you can get a 2 hours hair spa treatment plus arms massage (sometimes back if you have my ‘guy’!) for $4! Let alone a 2.5 hours of spa treatments (full body scrub, massage, steam, and soaking in a really relaxing special mixture bubble bath for $20 something bucks in the US. Of course, there are more upscale places with higher prices than my usual homey place but these are all way cheaper compare to the ones in the States.
  • Available helpers – again at a fraction price tag per month than the hourly basis the US have. Did I tell you how much I love our company’s driver? He’s the best ever!
  • Cheaper cost of living – of course, it’s depending on the kind of lifestyle you opted for but for us, it’s way cheaper to live here than back in the US.
  • Blue Bird – No, it’s not Big Bird’s far relative! It’s the best cab company in Jakarta! They have the best polite drivers who will not take you for a detour in hoping to increase the meters, the taxi is always clean, some even come with Debit/Credit Card swipe machine and GPS. How cool is that?!
  • Delivery Service – here you can have just about anything delivers to your door! No kidding! From bottled water to your own pedicure-manicure. I was shocked to say the least after finding out McDonald in the US doesn’t do delivery LOL.

Jakarta PollutionThings I will not miss about Jakarta:

  • The corruption – Yes, sure it makes it easier when you can pay your way around (for some that is) but I hated it especially when you have to deal with paperwork, then some of these money hungry people will start asking for money or make it difficult when it ‘suppose’ to be an easy procedure. Ehm, such as registering our marriage here which deserve a post of its own, maybe at some other time. Things are very slowly improving tho’ with them cracking up these corruptors and their cronies, but it will take years and years for it to be fully corruption free.
  • The pollution – sometimes I just miss seeing a clear blue sky! From air pollution down to the noise, I guess it’s just part of being the capital.
  • The traffic jam – My back pain is worst from sitting for hours at a time being stuck in the mad crazy traffic of Jakarta and I don’t think I will ever drive here.
  • The heat – For a country who have two seasons Jakarta, for me, it’s HOT and HOTTER. Talk about heat rash?
  • Mosquitoes – These little buggers not only bug me but also Lil’ A. One bite on him and it will get so swollen that a nurse once insisted it was an ant bite! I guess he inherited that from me because mosquito hates me and so am I. People here would call someone like me as ‘sweet blood’ because these little annoyances will bite the heck out of me but not everyone else.
  • The size – Who says size doesn’t matter?! If you live in Jakarta, heck yeah it matters! For someone who is 5’5” and ehm 150lbs with a pretty well-endowed rack, it’s a pain-in-you-know-where to find the right clothes for me here especially one that I like. If you are a typical petite Asians women then shopping here can actually be heaven because your size will be available in just about every corner with cheap price tags. Hated these size label of S, M, L sometimes XL or XXL if you are lucky enough. One thing I failed to understand is why they would call it “All Size” whenever I ask around because it will definitely never fit on me! Either I have to halfheartedly depart with large sums of cash to get the right fit from a more upscale imported store or try my luck on Ebay or shed these pounds, the latter sounds a lot harder

I guess you can say I have a love-hate relationship with this city.




Lifestyle and travel blogger, founder of Single Moms Indonesia on a quest of finding joy in everyday life and living life to the fullest with kindness, compassion, grace and a bit of sass.

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  1. April 12, 2010 / 7:53 am

    Those spa treatments sound like a dream. It cost $55 just for a pedicure last week.

    • Tatter
      April 13, 2010 / 5:38 pm

      Oh I would so miss them if I have to move out of the country again, but hey, the vietnamese pedicure-manicure place are the best in my opinion. Got myself an ugly abscess one after a pedicure here LOL. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  2. April 12, 2010 / 9:42 am

    Another thing I love about Jakarta is: the food seller! Mie ayam, bakpao, tukang bakso, you can just call them from the streets at night. Can’t beat that.

    • Tatter
      April 13, 2010 / 5:39 pm

      Definitely! Will have to update my list and put Delivery Service there. 😀

  3. April 12, 2010 / 8:07 pm

    I’ve never had authentic Indonesian food. I would LOVE to try it! Now I’m curious (and hungry).

    Thanks for stopping by the Cellulite Investigation!

    • Tatter
      April 13, 2010 / 5:40 pm

      🙂 There are some Indonesian restaurants in FL that you can visit, not as authentic but pretty close.
      Thanks for visiting me back.

  4. April 13, 2010 / 6:08 pm

    The corruption – although found anywhere, I could see how it would be even moreso there. And thanks so much for your awesome comment at Theta Mom!

    • Tatter
      April 21, 2010 / 3:10 pm

      Thanks for the visit back Theta Mom! 😀 Your blog is such an inspiring one.

  5. 2 hour spa/hair special for $4.00?? Count me in! I’m in Rome, Italy — that would run about 100 euro here, if not more!

    Are you moving back to the U.S.?

    • Tatter
      April 21, 2010 / 3:11 pm

      LOL Nona, I can imagine how expensive it would be in Europe. For now we’re settling back in Indonesia with no real plan of moving back any time soon 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  6. April 13, 2010 / 7:34 pm

    Hi! Thought I’d pop over and see who had left me the lovely comment on Starfishes and wow did I get a great surprise and trip down memory lane! I actually grew up in Jakarta (lived there from ages 1 – 15), so it was so great to read through your love/hate list!! Brings back so many memories. I haven’t been back for over 10 years now and I miss it all the time. Blue Bird taxis! Had totally forgotten about them! And oh yes, I miss the food! Recently discovered Indo Mie in the asia supermarket here (Belfast) and got super excited!!!!

    Thanks for stopping by and I’m so glad I’ve found your blog – I shall be checking it out again soon!!!!


    • Tatter
      April 21, 2010 / 3:21 pm

      Hi Suzie! WOW I would have never guessed if you didn’t tell me. Amazing what SITS can do huh?! So glad you stopped by and I found your blog on SITS. Ah, Indo Mie…but there’s a new rival to them that I really love called Mie Sedap, they taste so much better. You can buy them online too (was my guilty pleasure back in the States!) from that’s a new website I haven’t try them but I’ve tried Indomerchant ( These kind of store were a life safer back then.

      Looking forward to get to read more from your blog 🙂

  7. April 13, 2010 / 8:07 pm

    About the things you’ll miss and you won’t, its very much like in the Philippines…… I agree, you don’t have helpers in the US, unless you are like those bigtime hollywood stars. Thanks for dropping by at my blog… U

    • Tatter
      April 21, 2010 / 3:21 pm

      Mabuhay! Yes, I know what you mean here is so much cheaper to have a domestic helper than back in the US. Thanks for the visit back!

  8. April 13, 2010 / 8:25 pm

    What an interesting post! It makes me want to visit, but not stay . . . especially the comment about clothes. At 5’9, I’m thinking I might have some difficulties. . .

    Thanks for visiting Sugar Tails. 🙂

    • Tatter
      April 21, 2010 / 3:22 pm

      LOL yes one of the reasons I miss the States so much is the wide range of clothing sizes there.

      Thanks for visiting me back! 🙂

  9. April 13, 2010 / 11:11 pm

    Such a great look at the pluses and minuses – though now I can’t stop thinking about Big Bird’s Asian cousin, and the amusing stories they could write to each other in letters.

    • Tatter
      April 21, 2010 / 3:23 pm

      Hahaha love that Big Bird’s Asian Cousin!
      Thanks for stopping by 😀

  10. April 14, 2010 / 4:41 am

    I could go for those salons!

    • Tatter
      April 21, 2010 / 3:23 pm

      Your comment reminds me I haven’t get my hair spa in 2 weeks! Eek! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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