The title of this post means "Happy New Year 2008". It’s 11:34 in the morning here, which means that for me I’ve already had almost twelve hours of 2008 while folks on the east coast of the US haven’t even gotten there yet.
It’s always fun to see New Year’s celebrations in Indonesia. Last night there was a whole lot of racket around here. The explanation is that my hotel is only about three blocks from the National Monument (Monas) here in Jakarta, and apparently tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of Jakarta residents show up there for their version of Times Square. As I was walking back from dinner last night at around 7:30, there was tons of car traffic flooding that direction, and I had to fight my way through big crowds of bystanders as well as dozens of mobile hawker stands (kaki lima, which means "five feet" and reflects two wheels, one peg, and two human legs) headed in that direction. Unlike in the US, there’s no sense here that you should wait for the ball to drop for the fireworks to start. Some began (and I could see them from my window) at around 7:45.
Other than that, Jakarta is rather sleepy today–except for the lobby of my hotel, which is crushed with people trying to check out. I have an annoying chore in that I have to change rooms today. Some people have been asking me if the floods affect me at all. I kept saying no, that I’m high and dry here, but I spoke too soon. All of the rain has made the roof of my hotel leak, and I woke up this morning to a steady drip from the ceiling onto my bed. I thought for a minute that I was the Unholy Master of Drooling. So I get a new room, but that means I have to pack up everything, move it, and then unpack it again.