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.
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.[/caption][caption id="attachment_1836" align="aligncenter" width="1632"] 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.[/caption][caption id="attachment_1834" align="aligncenter" width="1632"] 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.[/caption][caption id="attachment_1839" align="aligncenter" width="1632"] One store was even selling microscopes! It looks like a picture from those I Spy books that I used to read back in kindergarten.[/caption][caption id="attachment_1819" align="aligncenter" width="3264"] 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.[/caption][caption id="attachment_1824" align="aligncenter" width="3264"] 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).[/caption][caption id="attachment_1823" align="aligncenter" width="3264"] Impressively enough, the displays of several stores were very neat.[/caption][caption id="attachment_1822" align="aligncenter" width="3264"] 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![/caption]
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!