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at Jakarta

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 hotel.

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.

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