Monday, March 28, 2011

small world

Jakarta is the sixth largest city in the world based on population  (number are from 2009 - 6. Jakarta, Indonesia - 18,900,000 compare to 59. Madrid, Spain - 4,072,000  or 12. Los Angeles, USA - 15,250,000).  There was a census conducted last year in Indonesia. The actual population is probably significantly higher than those figures as its frustratingly impossible to correctly estimate the numbers of homeless and transients. Yet, for a huge city, my world here is small.
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The bule world that is.  Most foreigners here tend to travel in the same circles.  There are restaurants and bars that cater to them with food from home and alcohol. Often, knowing there are foreigners that hang out at a specific place is enough to draw more foreigners there.  It's nice to fall into a group of people and guess that you will see someone you know there even if you don't make plans with them.  Bule musts in Jakarta: Lowey's, EP, Trattoria, Pepenero, Dragonfly, X2, nearly all of Kemang, swaths of Kuningan, and to a lesser extent Pondok Indah and Citos. They are places that we all go regularly and as a result, we see the same people regularly.  There are people I recognize but have never met.  A few people that seem to turn up everywhere.
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One guy and his girlfriend are friends of my friend.  I have been at a couple of events sponsored by our mutual friend.  I don't remember his name and don't know him nearly well enough to say hello, but I recognize them.  I've seen him four times in the last two weeks alone.  Each spotting at a different place.  There are a couple of people here that I see everywhere!

When I was at the US Embassy in February I started talking to a guy named David who was also waiting.  After a few minutes of conversation we discovered that he used to work at my current school , JIKS, and knows and is friends with all the people I work with.  I met him totally randomly yet we had a group of people in common.

Yesterday, a coworker, Lincoln, told me he was at a friend's house looking through photos over the weekend.  This friend plays on a softball team and had a heap of photos from tournaments.  Lincoln stopped the slide show when he recognized me in several photos.  They were from a tournament I went to on a whim last April (four months before I started at JIKS), when I needed a hit of Americana.  I don't remember him specifically by name, but I remember the team he's on.  I haven't seen a game since but had been wondering if there was a spring tournament coming up.
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Its really remarkable that a huge city feels so small.  It's rare to meet someone who doesn't know someone that you know already.  It definitely means the dating options are limited by who you know that they know, or that they have dated. the "cross-contamination" is viral here.

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