Big Bad Wolf Jakarta 2017: A Review

on 21 April, 2017 — leave a comment, lovebug

bbw1Note: I’ve read some more recent reviews which have said that the long lines to pay for books have not been so bad and that they didn’t have to wait at all to buy their books. So that’s great, but at the same time still a bit disappointing and unfair that a “normal” guest had a far better experience than the so-called “VIP” guests. Just make sure to read some more recent reviews too!
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logged in: travel

Adventuring Down Jalan Surabaya

on 15 April, 2017 — leave a comment, lovebug

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Hello everyone! I’m going to be trying something new starting today. I’ve written a version of this post in both English and Indonesian, so if you want to switch between the two go up and look at the menu (three horizontal lines) and then choose your language. Shoot me a message if it doesn’t work and I’ll do my best to figure out what’s wrong.

So! On Thursday we went to the Antiques Market on Jalan Surabaya, which is in Menteng. Google Maps/Waze is your friend! A bit of history: this market was founded by former Jakarta governor Ali Sadikin in the 1970s. You can find things from Indonesia’s colonial era all the way up to the present day. Bill Clinton once came to this street for a visit in the 1990s.

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We weren’t looking for anything in specific, but some stores were selling typewriters! These are different from the one that Erik gave me for my birthday (there’s a picture of it on my Instagram). I don’t like these styles very much and prefer rounded keys, which tend to be older. My own typewriter is a Smith-Corona Silent Super from 1957 (60 years ago!). I think these were about Rp. 700.000. There wasn’t a store that sold only typewriters: they were scattered all around the stores. But for the most part, prices for typewriters ranged from about Rp. 700.000 to 1.800.000. They weren’t in great condition, though. A lot of them weren’t working.

As you can see, the stores don’t only sell typewriters. There are old bottles, statues, water dispensers..


A blurry photo of some of the typewriters that were on display in one of the stores.

Look at all that clutter! I imagine it would take weeks to sort through everything in just one store, much less all of them. But since we brought baby, we didn’t want to spend too much time here.

The displays are very messy! You can see in this photo that there are some traditional Indonesian instruments (angklung) and bags and guns. I imagine a person could decorate their house pretty well just by walking down this street and buying stuff.

One store was even selling microscopes! It looks like a picture from those I Spy books that I used to read back in kindergarten.


There were such beautiful grandfather clocks on sale in one of the stores, but I didn’t ask for the prices. This store also sold vintage sewing machines. My grandma actually has one at her house which she uses. It definitely wasn’t as old as some of the ones I saw on display though.


There were about four or five stores selling vinyl records and record players! We asked the price for record players, which were about Rp. 1.000.000 to Rp. 3.000.000. I’m sure some cost more but we didn’t ask about them. Records were from about Rp. 50.000 to 400.000 depending on the artist(s).


Impressively enough, the displays of several stores were very neat.


I took photos of some of the stores I found the most interesting, so if you’re ever down Jalan Surabaya then take a look!

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A lot of reviews on TripAdvisor for Jalan Surabaya are written by foreigners, and the gist of the comments is that a lot of the things are fake or not as old as they appear to be and that the prices are high. I’m always apprehensive when I read comments by the dreaded IGNORANT FOREIGNER about the places they go, especially when those places are in countries vastly different from their own. Many feel a sense of entitlement and feel that they should be catered to, conveniently forgetting that they are only guests and should behave with proper manners. It’s always important to read up on a place before going there, whether you’re only going across town or out of the country. My advice for foreigners is to really read up on the places you’re going to go and bring along a phone with Google Translate. On top of that, don’t be afraid to bargain.

The one thing I really dislike about many of the reviews is that they take issue with the fact that a lot of things are fakes or replicas or that a lot of the stuff is similar. To that I just have to say that at any antique or flea market there are bound to be fakes or replicas, and Jalan Surabaya is no different. Part of the adventure of going to flea markets or garage sales is the hunting for unexpected treasure. That means don’t just slap some money down and buy something and be disappointed when you take it home and realise it sucks, and be wary because sometimes, sellers may take advantage of buyers. And as for the complaint “the stuff is all the same”, how about put aside a few hours to really look around? Because I spent a good two or three hours there and those stores all sold lots of different things. You just really need to look and be patient. Again, the hunting. Don’t expect amazing finds to leap out at you the minute you walk into a store.

Some things you’ll find on this street: masks, furniture, statues, record players, gramophones, vinyl records, typewriters, old ceramic plates and pottery, sewing machines, antique clocks, retro telephones, chandeliers, stamps, old books, paintings, old cameras, secondhand suitcases or bags, men’s shoes. Postcards and some old photos too, but those are crazy expensive for some reason.

And of course, I bought stuff too! I got a lovely little stamp book filled with about 200 vintage stamps from the 1980s and onwards. I’ll be sending some of the duplicates to my penpals.

Advice when going here:

-Bring sunscreen or a hat because it gets so hot.
-Don’t wear nice clothes. All of these things are dusty. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
-Bring some sort of hand sanitizer if you’ve got some.
-Cash! Bring cash. Some people accept bank transfers but the majority of the transactions are done in cash.
-Bring a camera! To document all the cool stuff you do and see.
-Negotiate! Everything is negotiable here. You can probably get down to anywhere between 1/3 to 1/2 of the original price they gave you.
-If you feel like it’s too expensive, just do not buy it.
-Plan to spend a few hours here if you really want to find something. Get ready to get on your knees or bend down to look at things more closely.
-This street is very close to the Cikini train station and from there you can ride one of those blue three-wheeled cars (bajay) or just walk by foot or ride an ojek. It’s about 500 meters away from the station.

Okay, that’s a wrap-up for this post, which, just like the others, got very long. Hopefully it was helpful, though!


logged in: culture, personal, photo diary, product reviews, travel

What To Look For In A Life Partner

on 21 March, 2017 — leave a comment, lovebug

People often seem to get themselves all wrenched up trying to find “the one” who will miraculously complete them and make their life worth living. There is so much emphasis placed on finding a life partner that some people who don’t have one feel depressed, angry, worthless, and mistreated. (Remember that one guy who killed people because he wasn’t getting laid?). Family reunions are often full of uncomfortable questions like “Hey, are you married yet?”, or “Do you have a significant other?”, or “You should marry soon, or else you’ll be too old and no one will want to marry you anymore”. Pretty archaic questions, don’t you think?

There are two parts to the issue of “THE LIFE PARTNER”. The first is this: having a life partner is not necessary to a fulfilling life. And the second is: when looking for a partner, do not settle for someone you do not really want to work together with.

Part 1: Do You Really Need A “Significant Other”?

We’re always taught that there is one person out there who holds the key to our happiness, as if it’s a state that can’t be reached without them:

  • “I’ve found someone who makes me happy.”
  • “You should be with someone who makes you happy.”
  • “I’ve found happiness with her.”
  • “I can’t live without him.”
  • “He completes me.”

We’re taught that without this person, we’re incomplete and that our lives are less meaningful. This is so untrue. We are whole, with autonomy over our thoughts and feelings. It is no one’s duty to make us feel a certain way, and it is no one’s fault for the decisions we make or things we feel. How cruel it is to place the burden of our emotional state on a single person!

I’m not sure why so many people feel so sad when they don’t have a significant other. I think it has something to do with intimacy. We all long to feel close to other people, and share all of ourselves with someone. To be really and truly open. As for me, I wish to feel irreplaceable and important in my husband’s life.

When we enter a relationship, we expect to be that person’s one and only. Maybe it feels safer than a platonic friendship. After all, aren’t romantic relationships supposed to be forever? Sometimes we expect friends to come and go. But in all the fairy tales, marriages are forever, with “happily ever after” written in bright twinkling lights.

The problem is that intimacy can be found in so many different places. When you spend time with a family member or go out with one of your closest friends, you can still experience intimacy. You can still share so much of yourself, and the love in your life can grow. Spending time on oneself is also a good way to be happy. Find out what hobbies you enjoy, and start spending time doing them. It’s possible to enjoy life without having a “special partner” by your side.

But I digress. Maybe some people feel safer when they have someone who’s promised to be next to them forever. I know that Erik makes me feel safe. Maybe, after all, man’s greatest fear is that of being alone. But I still believe that happiness is something that exists despite the absence of a “significant other”. There’s so much joy to be found in life: that’s something I’ve always believed.

Part 2: What Should I Look For?

It’s easy to just say, “hey, let’s get married” or “I’m in love with you!”. But too often, people don’t realize what marriage truly entails. And it’s easy nowadays to shrug and mumble, “If it doesn’t work out, we can just get divorced”. Sometimes I’ll see this quote floating around on the Internet that says something along the lines of, “Nowadays, everything is easily replaced, even marriage. In the old days, when we married, we married for life. We didn’t buy new things, we fixed them.” I probably botched that but I hope you guys know what I’m talking about. I think about that quote sometimes and I realize that it’s true to some degree. We live in an era where everything is very easily replaced. I even have clashes with Erik about this: I view things as easily replaceable and so don’t take very good care of what I have. And this sometimes bothers him, because he was raised differently.

Anyways, my point is that when you’re picking a life partner, you should be picking with the thought that you’re going to be stuck with this person for the rest of your life. And mutual feelings of passion aren’t enough. They are not going to keep that fire alive for decades. You need to have a pinch of practicality about this. And mind you, this isn’t a be-all-end-all list. This is just what I looked for.

>> Someone who listens to you.

They let you talk about your shitty day at work, or a new game you’ve been playing. Even if they’re not that interested, they’ll at least make a go of it. Don’t be with someone who doesn’t want to hear you talk about things you find important.

>> Someone you can fart around.

Oh my god, are you going to live the rest of your life without farting? Or burping? Or picking your nose?

>> Someone you legitimately enjoy spending time with.

You can’t just kiss this person 24/7. You’re probably going to raise children with this person, or take on other major responsibilities. You’re not just going to dress up and have dates. So it’s important that you enjoy spending time with them

>> Someone whose long-term plans work well with yours.

A lot of people don’t seem to realize that marriage means you’ll be building an entire life together. And building something isn’t going to work unless you have the same blueprints. If you want a fancy Victorian house with a large patio and your supposed spouse-to-be wants a simplistic Zen abode, well…

>> Someone you can have dialogue with.

I think this is the most important part of relationships. C O M M U N I C A T I O N. There are few problems that are insurmountable with a willingness to communicate and, subsequently, compromise. If you’re always pointing out each other’s flaws or trying to have everything your way all the time, you’re going to have issues.

>> Someone you can accept unconditionally.

Let’s face it. We all have certain things that we may dislike about our partners. Often, we wish they should change, and believe that they should change if they really loved us. But that’s a really terrible mindset. Some of my friends come asking for advice, saying, “I hate it when he _______.” And so I ask—if they continued doing that behavior, would you still be able to accept them? Would your heart be big enough to accept that? Marriage is intended to be for better or for worse, so before you sign your life away make sure you’re ready to accept everything that your partner is and will be and could be.

>> Someone you trust and respect, and who trusts and respects you.

What’s the point of being with them if you can’t trust them?

>> Someone you share at least one hobby with.

Whether it be drawing or making music or hiking or something, I feel like a shared hobby is important for the success of a relationship.

Okay, this blog post has been sitting for a few days now, so I’m going to go ahead and publish it. That list isn’t really conclusive. I think my next blog post will be about BBW, which is coming up soon! I couldn’t be more excited.


logged in: erik, love, marriage, personal, thoughts