Myles Harrington

I ♥ STD

In Indonesia on July 31, 2010 at 11:15 am

Jalan Jaksa is the street in Jakarta where all of the backpackers head to straight off the bus. We of course did the same, via a McDonalds that didn’t have coffee (what?) and a Pizza Hut (we were bored of Indonesian food, just for one meal!) On Jaksa there is a bar right opposite our scummy hostel – Nick’s Hostel, that also doubles as the local whore house – called Memories that our guide-book says is a place that will not make memories. How wrong they were.

Off the bus and we hit the Hut. With my gammy teeth.

We decided we’d earned a beer night (they’re limited to every other day to save money) after the long journey to Jakarta and the tough day eating pizza. So we had a couple of Bintangs and managed to buy some Mansion House whisky from a Chinese shop nearby. By the time we were ready to go out for a drink it was 11pm, we were both feeling tired and could have gone to bed so we tossed a coin to decide it. The coin said we should pop over to Memories for a shared beer. As we’d nearly finished our beer one of the gayest men I’ve ever met walked over and introduced himself, as people do in Jaksa. His name was UD, that’s how it sounded anyway and I didn’t ever ask him how it was spelled. UD had a female friend called Jo, they were both married to Europeans and we hit it off with them and their partying ways straight away.

We also met a bloke called Seb, who fixed fridges in M&S for a living, appropriately in both Basingstoke and Windsor. We went on to another bar up the road until 3.30am, playing pool, or in my case losing pool, drinking more beer and dancing by the bar. UD mentioned they were going clubbing the next night and that we should come along.

Some sightseeing on Friday with the street train driver

The club they were going to was called Stadium, a club in which the book describes a bit more accurately; “Infamous among Jakartan clubbing circles, Stadium represents the ‘dark side’ of the scene…expect thumping techno, banshee-style dancing and an anything-goes attitude. It stays open all weekend” It sounded fantastic. When we arrived at Memories for the second night however, UD was suffering from last night’s activities and had decided to duck out.

He introduced us to his English teacher friend Nick so we went with him and met all of his ex-pat friends including Sue, a 52-year-old Head of English at a school. The club was one of the best, if not the best club I’ve ever been to. The night was bizarrely called I ♥ STD and every westerner who entered pointed out to the staff who were proudly wearing their I ♥ STD badges what that meant back home. Stadium stayed open til midday but we could only hack it until 10am and after a quick after party at Sue’s plush apartment in the suburbs we went back to our brothel hostel and woke up at 8pm. That was Saturday written off.

Internet speeds are slow in Indonesia so here's a stock pic of Stadium

On Sunday it was time we actually did some sightseeing in Jakarta instead of eating junk food, drinking beer and sleeping.

Chicken Market Bridge, Kota

We got on the train to the old dutch area of Jakarta called Kota. There is some nice Dutch architecture there around the main square and a really expensive cafe, Cafe Batavia, where all tourists must have a drink. We went in but obviously they didn’t like the look of us so ignored us. After sitting there for five minutes we decided to go a get a coffee elsewhere for a tenth of the price. The canal that ran through Kota was basically a large open sewer so it gave the whole area a beautiful odour. We walked down to Jakarta’s old china town with the stench following us and stumbled upon a Chinese shopping mall with a food court/karaoke bar/dance hall downstairs which was fantastic entertainment for a Sunday afternoon. It was packed with old timers screaming out Chinese classics.

The sound of the underground

5k remaining: £2512.20

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