Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday morning and Jakarta on my mind

Starting the morning off with sad news just seems to hang a dark cloud over the rest of that day. This is exactly what I'm experiencing after I turned on the news this morning to hear about the hotel bombings in Jakarta, Indonesia. It is particularly sad because some of the most warm and wonderful people I know are from Indonesia. In 2006, I was privileged to attend a conference in Jakarta. It was my first visit to Asia so I was extra thrilled. Although we were not in the Ritz-Carlton or Marriott hotels, we were in the very grand Gran Melia. I was like a kid in an enchanted forest....A very well-fed large kid!
View of Jakarta from my hotel room

Jakarta was a fascinating and extremely large populated city. I thought we had serious traffic problems in Accra, well that was until I went to Jakarta! One could stay in bumper to bumper traffic literally for hours. Another reason I loved Jakarta was that you can buy any sort of electronic device on this planet at a reasonable price. At the time, the Indonesian currency was exactly equivalent to our old cedi rate so it was really easy to make conversions and price comparisons.

A thing that struck me on my short visit to Jakarta, was the extremely tight security in hotels. Every time our car entered the hotel compound, metal detectors were used to thoroughly sweep the whole vehicle. We were all searched before entering the hotel building as well.

On a lighter note: I was completely unprepared for the curiosity reserved for African visitors to the city by some of her inhabitants. The Africans among our group drew stares and exclamations of surprise in some malls and public places. In the end I admit, I was a little overwhelmed. In one museum, a group of girl scouts/girl guides were completely surprised when they encountered our group in an artifact room. They insisted on taking a picture of us. We placed a condition; that would only happen if we could take a picture of them!

So my fond memories of Jakarta are eclipsed by sadness as thoughts and prayers are with friends and colleagues there.
Delicious Culinary Delights in Jakarta


Edward: said...

I was not only saddened by the loss of lives and property but I was hurt because my team Manchester United had to cancel their off-season visit to Jakarta.

Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

Awww, warm post about the peeps of Indonesia. Something I do not get from world news anywhere.

And I saw the aftermath (that word) of the bombings on the morning news. So sad. How much misery must a people bear?

Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

Was waiting for your comments on this. I heard it on cnn. Love your take...

posekyere said...

The idea of Muslims bombing hotels and other buildings in their own countries and others is so retarded.
So what do they hope to achieve by blowing up people this way?
The undeniable fact is that evil can never overcome another evil. It is only good that overcomes evil.
Bless you, Ohemaa!!

Kwegyirba Aggrey-Orleans said...

Its all over the news this morning. Innocent lives lost and innocent people hurt. What is upsetting is that it could easily have been anyone at when you were at that conference. Its very confusing and disturbing, this life.

Abena said...

@Edward: Yup, I heard that Man U skipped out on Jakarta...How about that Owens...he seems to have settled in well already. Still wish he hadn't jumped the Newcastle ship but I guess he had no choice.

@Nana Yaw: *Aww...Thanks* Indeed, I don't believe anything can be achieved through violence except misery...

@Nana Fredua: *Thanks* you are too kind...really!

@Posekeye: You are so fact I was just saying that..violence can never really achieve anything.

@Kwegyriba: So true! I sometimes wonder about how we can caught up in terror attacks by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In 2005, I had been using one of the underground routes attacked in the London bombings for weeks before the attack took place. I left London for a friend's wedding and 4 days later the route was hit..the attacks happened around the same time in the morning I use to take the train. That was divine intervention for me but not for the others who died or were injured in this senseless attack.

Eche Sica said...

Enjoyed reading this as i've never visited the country...nice post.

Abena said...

Thanks Eche :)