Monday, September 20, 2004

The Body and the Soul

The Body and the Soul

I flew in to Jakarta from Singapore last night through Valuair. It was my first time travelling on this airline and was quite happy with their service. Even though the ticket price is almost the same as those offered by AirAsia, Valuair provides assigned seats for passengers and a meal is included.

It was also the first time that I arrived in Jakarta at night. Being Sunday night, I had expected massive queues at the immigration but was pleasantly surprised when ours were they only flight arriving at that time. I had also taken the trouble to book a taxi beforehand but realised that I didn't have to--there were hardly anyone waiting at the taxi stands.

Today is a holiday in Indonesia--the second round of the presidential election. Most of the shops and malls were closed for half-a-day this morning to allow their workers to vote. I didn't plan my trip to coincide with this important event but for some reason everytime I'm here the country is having elections. Don't really mind the public holiday though cause it gives me a day to get back into the rhythm of Jakarta life before plunging into work.

I had spent almost a month back home in KL and coming back to Jakarta always feel like a relief. I had lunch at my favourite canteen which sells East Javanese food opposite the Paragon Hotel. The soto Madura was very satisfying. I also couldn't resist having my usual kopi tubruk and Indomie rebus at the warung outside my hotel in Tanah Abang.

I enjoy living in this city because life here is simple. Even though Jakarta is a very crowded and polluted place, I feel at peace here. I could gather my thoughts easily and see things with greater clarity. I suppose that's one of the good things about travel, you get a change of perspective and it forces you to see things in a new light.

When you are away from home, your old life feels very distant and small. It's probably like one of those near-death out-of-body experience. People who had this kind of experience before always describe it as one that's very peaceful. Having left the limiting frame of my mortal body in in KL, my soul now hovers happily over Jakarta.

And sometimes the soul thinks of discarding the body altogether.

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