Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Having Friends in Town

Having Friends in Town

I thought I could have some quiet time in Jakarta clearing my remaining work and meeting up with friends. But it looks like I'd have to struggle to complete marking my student's exam papers before the end of the week because some of my Malaysian friends are also in town.

For the past two years, I've been the "Jakarta man" for many of my colleagues from other countries: Everytime they drop by, I have to play host to them. Sometimes they ask me to help schedule business meetings on their behalf; I even have to help them recruit maids! I also receive calls from people I don't personally know: they have been told by my friends that I could show them a "good time".

The favourite eating places here for many of my Malaysian and Singaporean friends are: Nasi Padang at Sari Bundo, Bakmi GM, Kwee-Tiau Sapi at Jalan Hayam Wuruk and Ayam Goreng Suharti. A night out at Kota is usually part of the agenda; Having friends in town means it's an orgy of gluttony and late nights.

I have long lost my enthusiasm for clubbing, preferring a quiet night at home watching Premier League soccer on ESPN or reading at the cafe. I avoid karaokes like a plague. In fact I kind of enjoy a reclusive life these days; but my tranquility is yanked away everytime my Malaysian or Singaporean colleagues drop by.

Next couple of days is going to be very tight for me: I have so many people that I want to personally meet before I leave Jakarta and I have to entertain friends here at the same time, and not forgetting that pile of exam papers that I have to finish marking.

It looks like I might have to make another trip here again in the not too distant future to tie up my loose ends...

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