Jakarta is full of shopping malls. Luxurious Western style, air-conditioned shopping malls. Having just spent so much time in America (and shopping for most of it), we aren't really interested in spending our first days in Indonesia at the mall. My first phone call to a neighbor was to ask her suggestion for where we could find local handicrafts or art for sale. Something that felt truly Indonesian.
I'm a huge proponent of buying a souvenir right away when moving to a new country. It's a fun way to immediately feel like you are apart of the community and you tend to buy things in your first few weeks that you would likely pass up months and years down the road. I like being able to look back at our first purchases with fondness. Before you've seen too much of everything, it's fun to put something pretty in your home.
My neighbor pointed us to Pasaraya which happens to be a huge multi-story mall (go figure) of locally made goods. One entire floor was of batik fabric, shirts, dresses, table linens etc. Another floor was household decor and art. The bottom floor was a specialty grocery store, market style food vendors and Indonesian coffee. We spent most of our time searching for the perfect first batik shirts for Justin and dresses for the girls.
We ate at a quiet Indonesian cafe where I had my first truly Indonesian meal of beef rendang. It's a lovely coconut curry beef stew over rice. Spicy and delicious. The girls had fried rice and chicken. They were hit with a little more spice than they are used to so we taught them to follow each bit with the pickled vegetable salad that was served with the meal to cool down their mouths. Ashlynn doesn't mind the spice. She takes a bite, chews and breathes through her mouth muttering "spicy" over and over. But she always goes back for another bite. We all had iced tea sweetened with condensed milk to accompany the meal.
We explored a bit more and I purchased a hand woven ikat patterned tablecloth and table runner. On first glance, the ikat patterns are a bit more casual and usable in a modern dinning room than some of the more formal Indonesian batik patterns. I'm on a mission to find batik for my dinning room. For now the ikat is perfect.
The girls enjoyed picking out patterns and styles for themselves. I forced them to pose with their new dresses when we got home. I imagine we'll have a closet full of batik apparel in a few years.
|As you can see I am still sorting out the best locations in our apartment for photos. Lots of shadows on this one. But they are still cute.|