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Adventures in Jakarta apartment hunting

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So the Jakarta accommodation saga continues… The “Princess” now has to admit, this hotel is growing on me. After getting out and about a couple of times, realised the ability to walk to the office is PURE GOLD! The gym is well-equipped, the food is good (today’s lunch was gado-gado), staff super nice and the poolside terrace restaurant really quite lovely.

Poolside gado gado - yum!

Poolside gado gado – yum!

With a change in room, no more shower head battles, figuring out how to turn the A/C off, making peace with acrobatic contortions under the table to use the single power point, getting the telephone and wi-fi fixed, buying sundry toiletries, am now quite comfortable.

Especially when I started to explore the alternatives… Apartment hunting with Lebaran (Eid al-Fitre) around the corner is well…. just silly!

On Wednesday evening, checked out the serviced apartment I’d considered earlier. Modern, compact and functional apartments with all the basics in place, nice looking lobby café, pool and an incredibly disappointing “gym” with one treadmill, an ellytical and a couple free weights. The kicker is it really did take well over an hour to go the few kilometers from office. And while I’m no stranger to traffic jams, prefer to avoid if there is another option.

Armed with a list of a couple of brokers and recommended apartments nearer to the office, started calling. And got pretty much nowhere. Had allocated Thursday evening to start seeing furnished apartments… to have the 1st set cancelled. Then arranged for Saturday… to have it shifted to Monday then a request to wait until after 15th August.

Undaunted, I searched online and started calling up any options for apartments in the immediate vicinity. Also spread the word with select folks in the office. It netted a colleague’s friend who could show a few places – but only that very afternoon (Friday). So I lined up another 2 brokers through website references for evening after breaking fast, arranged for a car and set off feeling pretty optimistic about making progress.

It was an interesting experience and what I’ve learned so far is:

  • DO NOT try to hunt for a place to stay in the days leading up to Lebaran – it’s a fruitless pursuit. Even if the broker shows up for the appointment (1 did, 2 didn’t) the availability of keys are limited as most owners (and brokers) are long gone.
  • But at least there is a view!

    But at least there is a view!

    Even if I had found the ‘perfect’ place, we discovered late Friday afternoon that the office would be closed for the entire week so nothing would get done before the 12th August anyways.

  • While one may hope “fully furnished” means “ready to move in”, most I’ve seen need a gas cylinder, water cooler / filter system, microwave, sundry kitchen ‘stuff’ from pots n pans to cutlery, plates to glasses, bedding, towels, cleaning supplies, etc.
  • Much like India, larger places come with ‘servant quarters’ with a squat toilet.
  • Unlike India, most bedrooms do not come with an ‘attached’ bathroom so a flat with 3 bedrooms may share 1 or 2  bathroom. By contrast, our wee 2 bedroom flat has 3 bathrooms!?
  • We'll need your thumb madam!

    We’ll need your thumb madam!

    No surprise, while the “master” bedroom fits a double bed and a small closet, 2nd and 3rd bedrooms barely squeeze in a single bed. And I practically stumbled over the bed in the studio apartment I saw! Felt like Hong Kong size apartments in a supposedly ‘swank’ new development.

  • Security seems more structured than our friendly building “guard” with electronic passes and/or thumb print registration to get the lift / elevator to take you to your floor.
  • Most have both dry cleaning and laundry by kiloan (by the kilo – cheaper than dry cleaning). Handy as there isn’t space for a washing machine and not always done by the ‘maid.’
  • All of the short-listed complexes connect with malls. When I couldn’t see all the flats,  checked out the buildings and linked malls. Didn’t have much choice as needed to while away the hours when the other brokers cancelled and had arranged the car to come collect me after the driver prayed and broke his fast.
A mall by any other name still looks about the same!

A mall by any other name still looks about the same!

IMG-20130802-00583

The latest fashions beacon!

IMG-20130802-00584

The grocery store was packed floor to ceiling with immense variety. Impressive…

What I’ve seen so far makes our cozy 2 bedroom apartment in Mumbai look quite spacious. And while there is no place like home, I’m still hopeful will find temporary accommodations that will save our client money, be a reasonable commute and comfortable. Ideally some place can host a guest or two over the next few months – more than one friend has threatened to make it out here while I have this ‘home away from home’ base and I welcome it!

Came back to the hotel, looked around and decided – perhaps this castle is juuuust right –for now!

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6 Comments

  1. gkm2011 says:

    Doing anything during the holidays is tough. Hope you can at least be productive on the work front while everything else is closed.

    • Been amazingly productive! And getting regularly to the gym so its good. However in a few days friends will start to trickle back and there will be more distractions. For now – head down, nose to the grind and making major progress! 🙂

  2. pollyheath says:

    Oy, sounds like a total crazy endeavor. Though I do like to take comfort in that fact that a high-quality mall is basically the same everywhere in the world.

    • Its a mall world now! I was familiar with Senayan mall from my last visit as it is near my ex company’s office. Now I can add a local old style one (Slipi Jaya), malls like anywhere in the world (Central Park, CityWalk, Taman Anggrek) to the list… I love the foodcourts with the wide range of cuisine – much more diverse than typical malls in Mumbai.

  3. Suparna says:

    All the best with the endeavours… sounds like it is as complicated as India. 🙂

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