Jakarta Stories and Tips

Club Tan Amur

Little Children in Jakarta Photo, Jakarta, Indonesia

I had only been in Jakarta for a few hours when I realized that being a westerner had a certain appeal to the people there. I hadn't thought that my colleagues and I would be so conspicuous, that little kids would clamour after us repeating "hello mister! hello mister!" and that the locals would react with such displays of curiosity and reverance. Flattering as it may seem, there was something pretty disturbing about it. It wasn't until later that evening that I realized how absurd this would get. We had asked about which clubs to go to earlier in the day, and the only answer we ever got was Tan Amour. When our work was over and we had eaten and washed up, we got in a cab, and arrived in about twenty minutes. We paid the cover, got our hands stamped, and proceeded into the darkness surrounded by a driving beat, and scores of people crammed into the club. Once we got some drinks and found a vantage point to survey the scene, we realized we had many people noticing us. Everyone seemed interested, and I thought that this is what fame must feel like-just for a moment. Within minutes we were surrounded by many young Indonesian women. At first I figured they must be prostitiutes and that they thought we had lots of money to spend. Two girls came up to 'claim' two of us, grabbing our elbows and leading us away from the rest. I was pretty apprehensive, and although she was very interesting and beautiful, it took awhile for me to be convinced that she wasn't a prostitute although there were undoubtedly many there. It seemed that we were status symbols primarily, I think that western media had convinced her that the West is paradise, that we are all rich and glamourous and that our world is nothing but wonderful. I did feel pretty well off considering the poverty I got a glimpse of, but that's about it. I spent the rest of my spare time in Jakarta with Sri Warsiti. She was a very interesting person, she worked at a radio station doing voices for dramas and commercials. She had all sorts of comical voices that she would use to embarass me, and draw attention to us in public. I had a great time wandering about the city with her as the guide.

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