… A One-Stop Adventure Hotel …
Despite the shady title, our mini-vacation this weekend was refreshing, cool, and quite worth waylaying our plans of going shopping for goggles this weekend. Lido Lakes are two little lakes in the hills south of Jakarta, about sixty miles or so from the city center. You wouldn’t believe the difference between the weather there and the weather here, plus the difference in air quality. Although the humidity is still high, and the sun beats down enough in the middle of the day to make exercise outside a bit tough, the evenings are downright cool, and the breeze is amazing. In the evening, a long sleeve shirt might have even come in handy had we spent much time outside. Surrounding the complex were rice paddies and tons of teenagers on motorcycles. (Pictures to come, probably tomorrow.)
This place is meant for company retreats and has silly teamwork and trust-building activities available. Luckily, our group just ate, sat around, and ate some more, and from what we can tell got no work done. Some of the younger adults (not including us) played pool non-stop for around six hours, smoking cigarettes and drinking soda. It was fun, and the grounds were great. It was great to observe families, although we suspect that these folks represent the upper end of Jakarta’s upwardly-mobile young professionals. The adults actually seemed delighted to have their children around, even if they did pawn them off on the twenty-something secretaries for the majority of the day. The kids were really cute and did not have to resort to being obnoxious in order to get attention.
As a teaser for tomorrow’s posts, we will give a rundown of our food discoveries for the weekend, which include the infamous durian.
James October 4, 2004
Woo hoo! I LOVE durian! It’s SOOO good. I mean, er, it tastes good. It smells like French cheese that’s been kept in a sweaty gym locker. Yum. And when you’re done eating it you can use the spikey shell as a mace, you know, in case you have the urge to be a medieval knight and club people.
Have you had Hainan chicken rice yet? It’s a Chinese dish common in Malaysia and Singapore, so it’s probably popular in Indonesia, too. You may have to sample around the Chinese restaurants in Jakarta to see who does it right. It’s like clam chowder. Every New England restaurant offers it, but only a few have a really great recipe.
Julie and Tom October 4, 2004
Whoa, durian is pretty amazing. They refer to Jakarta as “The Big Durian,” meaning that it’s smelly and spikey on the outside, but inside there’s a cloyingly sweet flavor that some people love and others cannot stand. We’ll have a further update later today.
As for Hainan chicken rice, is that kinda like congee? We’ve had the Indonesian version, and it’s good. We like all of the little additions that you can make to yours, like chicken, shallots, unidentifiable flavor bits, etc.
James October 5, 2004
Yeah, durian. Definitely not first date food.
Hainan chicken rice is not congee. Congee is good, though I always thought the congee with one lone peanut on top was some breakfast chef’s budget attempt at nihilism. Or existentialism. Or whatever. Something deep and goth.
Anyway, Hainan chicken rice is from Hainan (the big island south of China and east of Vietnam), and it is good. It’s nothing special. Just boiled rice with chicken on top. The rice is cooked in chicken broth though. And after months and months of 2-3 platefuls of boiled white rice a day in Hong Kong, a little touch like that tasted really good. The chicken is cooked in a light sauce, no soy or coconut milk or anything, just the juices and some spices. The flavor should definitely be more than chicken, but the sauce compliments it, rather than altering the chicken unrecognizibly. It comes in spicy and not spicy. It’s one of those meals you get in a Chinese restaurant with the clear trash bags thrown over the table as a cloth and the tea served in cups they stole from the Poland Spring dispenser at work. It’s good because it’s someone’s mom making it like she always used to.
Julie and Tom October 6, 2004
OK, that means we’ll have to find it. Sounds good, dude. Julie will get back to you soon about your email, I promise.