Trip to Jakarta, Indonesia. Not a vacation; a volunteer service

I took two weeks off with a team in past November to Jakarta as part of a non-profit business consulting venture to companies in selected countries. One main requirement for those companies is that they must share the vision about using some of their wealth to help creating better living for disadvantaged people. Although Indonesia is one of those Asian countries with hot emerging economies, it has reportedly +20% unemployment rate.

At Jakarta, we stayed in a quite-nice apartment service complex. There were many well-constructed hotels, shopping malls and office buildings. The clue about wealth distribution discrepancy was not hard to find. Right across the street from my apartment window, was a slum area about the size of a football field. Adjacent to it was an undeveloped area still fully grown with trees and grass. This is my first trip to a country like this displaying of wealth and poverty so close to each other.

On the first Saturday, we visited Taman Safari Indonesia and lunch at Ritz-Carlton Hotel. I had one uncooked oyster. Bingo, I fell sick to serious diarrhea next day. The temptation to stop my service project was high. Persistence and diligence allowed me to complete the project on-time. It was a good mental "fight"

I have not been to famous Bali. But if one plans to travel to Jakarta, a few things to notice:

1. Air pollution is quite worse.
2. Small raining almost every night.
3. Most people including taxi drivers do not seem to understand English.
4. Public restrooms are not guaranteed to have tissue paper.
5. The seafood may look yummy, also remember it is Jakarata. Eat at your own risk.

(at Taman Safari)

Happy New Year!

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