Electronics Shopping in Jakarta

2789Today my Indonesian hosts took me to the Mangga Dua Mall for some electronics shopping. At first we got to the new one – which was very nice and clean but also still about half empty. A security guard told us that most shops simply hadn’t moved in yet – and recommended that we go to the other mall.

Although the other mall was said to be “just on the other side of the street block”, my hosts insisted we take a taxi. I was a little perplexed; it didn’t sound like such a long way. And the fact that most taxi drivers didn’t want to go there seemed to confirm my suspicion. I had to agree, of course, that the Indonesians knew their city better than I did, and we finally found a taxi driver willing to take us on that short jaunt.

I’m glad I deferred to the experts.

It wasn’t actually too far. In Frankfurt you could have easily walked the distance… But with the crazy traffic, the people, and the horrible air it would not have been a lot of fun.

2792The mall itself turned out to consist of six floor crammed full of little shops. We had to hurry a little, as we had arrived somewhat late, but we still took in most of the shopping mall. The Apple specialist shop had already closed, but I still got a Mac Book into my fingers. Nice keyboard. There were lots of pretty nifty notebooks, but only a few were really interesting to me. They had some Sony Vaios and a really nice Fujitsu Lifebook P1510. The Lifebook was about 1kg heavy, had a 9″ screen, and the whole thing was in a tablet PC format. This means a touch screen and you can use a pen instead of a mouse. I think this would actually be a good thing to have. Prices were prohibitive, however; as it turns out they charge about as much as any shop in the US would. And I wouldn’t even want to think about warranties.

The mall had also dozens of shops which sold cheap (bootleg) CDs and DVDs. I didn’t bother with these, of course. I don’t buy from copyright infringers. If I had to live on a local salary, I’d probably not think twice about it.

Before we left we wanted to buy some drinks from the supermarket, but the only supermarket in the place smelled like someone had died on their doorstep. I mean, really, like decomposing garbage. My hosts and I could hardly stand it; instead we went to look at the few shops that offered clothes so the women also had their fun shops to look at (although I must say that the Lifebook and the Vaios tempted both genders).

Departing was again a bit of a problem. There was a huge crowd, and it took us a little while to find one the reliable Blue Bird taxis. Still I really enjoyed this day. It all felt a lot like you’d imagine a cyberpunk future. Bad air, way too many people, and tiny “back alley” shops that sell the latest in high tech. Pretty nifty.

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