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Ah, the delightful exercise of Jakarta. Where do we start?
Shall we try the malls first? Lately, Jakarta has been booming
with super size mega malls where you can find everything,
from a pair of sunglasses to subdue the glare of tropical
sunlight, to a silk batik tie for your important dinner meeting,
and to a Makarena CD or a printer cartridge. Everything under
one roof. In fact, you might even stay there, since, like
Plaza Indonesia, it also connects to the luxurious Grand Hyatt
Beyond the malls, there are many streets that used to be the "downtown"
areas of the old neighborhoods. The blok M area, for example, easily reachable
from anywhere because it is the location of one of Jakarta's public transportation
hub, has many stores to satisfy your shopping desire.
And there there are the "pasar" or markets. In various other
parts in Indonesia, like in Gianyar, Bali, or in Kabanjahe,
North Sumatera, you will still find markets that are only
open on certain days of the week, where buyers meet sellers
who are usually also producers. You can find remnant of this
style of market in Jakarta, at least in names. Pasar Ikan
is an example. The name implies that sometime in the past,
it was a place for fishermen to meet their customers. Pasar
Baru is another. Literally means the New Market, it is has
now transformed into a market where locals shop for various
things like fabrics. The traditional markets where you have
to walk on muddy, unpaved isles, with aroma of fresh flowers
mixed with live chicken, may be harder to find in Jakarta.