Wednesday, March 30, 2011

DVDs from Here to Infinity

Since I seem to be on a roll with the potential benefits of living in Jakarta lately, I'll continue. As an aside, I'm not sure why I have been touting Jakarta lately as living here generally drives me up a wall, but I shall push on all the same.

Another pro of life here is the "black market".  I use the air quotes (or they would be if I was talking) because I used to think of the black market as some scary, underground, underworld organized market.  That's where one can obtain heroin, rhinoceros horns or  blue whale semen.  If you are seeking help from a shaman whose traditional medicine needs parts of endangered animals, he'll go to the black market.  If you want to buy famous artwork that's been stolen for a reduced price with a suitcase full of cash, you'll go to the black market.  The woman who is hooked on opium definitely heads to the black market.  That was the picture in my head.  It was blockbuster movie worthy. I was expecting to find this:
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In Jakarta the black market is made up of counterfeit purses, wallets, sunglasses and DVDs. It's the stuff that you could get arrested for selling in the US, but is so commonplace here that there are five story malls dedicated just to these products.  If you want a real Gucci, go to Grand Indonesia Mall.  If, for the same price, you'd like to get a knock off of the same Gucci bag, some fake Jimmy Choos, a Prada wallet, a little Louis Vuitton accessory and some very believable imitation raybans, go to Mangga Dua Mall; large parts of which look like this:
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Any of you know me know I'm not big on hand bags/purses/wallets.  I have a bag I love and a wallet that is cute and functional.  I will probably use them both until they fall apart.  Since neither are bogus famous brands, that should be quite a while longer.  I do however take advantage of the copied DVDs.  I don't have cable as I find there is entirely too much reality TV for my taste.  There are few shows I can sit through, especially when StarWorld's commercial breaks are ten minutes at a time. The ones that are worth watching are worth buying cheaply.  Most shops sell DVDs for 7,000 Rp each, buy ten get one or two free.  Example, the season of Hawaii 5-0 that I recently acquired was three discs.  So I also bought two seasons of Californication and one season of Sea Patrol.  That took me over the ten mark.  Eleven discs for eight dollars US or 5.70 Euros is worth it every time.  Not to mention there are no commercials! There is the occasionally dodgy copy: one that gets stuck twelve and a half minutes in, or the audio is only in Russia and the subtitles in Thai. For what they cost, it's still a good gamble.

I have a drawer full of DVDs I've already seen.  I am not a person who re-watches many shows/movies. I'm thinking of reincarnating the book swap from Madrid as DVD swap in Jakarta. Should I feel bad that the  production companies and the like aren't getting their cut of the movies I buy illegally? Should is such a mushy word.  Do or do not. I do not. I just think it's in place of rentals, since I don't think I've seen a single rental shop, definitely not a Blockbuster or Hollywood like we'd have at home. So until I get home, bring on the popcorn, and dim the lights. 
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