I live above Mall Ambassador, immediately to the north and across Jalan Satrio, a main thoroughfare, from Mega Kuningan. Starting around the early 1980s, high-rise mixed-use developments were sprouting like mushrooms in Jakarta. The Ambassador-ITC Kuningan complex comprises of 2 malls and 2 residential towers above. It is a "middle-class" mall -- the best kind to live in as it has everything under one roof.
You name it: Bazaar stands selling clothes, shoes, and even furniture, to 3m-by-3m shops where glasses, watches, bedsheets, and food get vended, repaired and cleaned. Restaurants and other food and beverage outlets dot the scene and occupy keystone corners, while half of the 4th floor of both Ambass and ITC is covered every square meter in food court style eating. The 2 malls are also known for consumer electronics and paraphernalia: handphones, laptops, cameras, and perhaps the one thing nobody can resist, pirated DVDs at 7,000 rupiah (80 US cents) a pop. Not to mention the absolute necessities, like banks, telecom and Internet ISP outlets, and a foot reflexology place (80,000 rupiah, 9 USD for 1.5 hours including a seated back-and-arm massage). I have two choices for grocery shopping: All Fresh for fruits and veges when I don't feel like facing Carrefour's neon zoo ambience. A third option for me is Ranch Market on my way home from work, an upscale reinterpretation of Ranch 99, the cheap Chinese supermarket chain of California's suburban Chinatowns like LA's San Gabriel Valley and the SF Bay Area's El Cerrito. The Ranch Market is located at the Oakwood, a very high quality serviced apartment complex with pretty good but not as large variety of services as Ambass. The keystone tenant is Loewy's where the food and decor is French-influenced and which people say is influenced by Pastis in New York.
While I might derive guilty pleasure from all this consumerism, I can go to sleep at night knowing my transportation carbon contribution is almost zero.
This is already beginning to sound like tooting the climate change/green horn, but I am just glad I don't have to get in a car to get to work. They say in Sweden people talk nonstop about the weather; here in Jakarta it is always the opportune moment to semi-boast a traffic jam, or "macet" story. Often we have a weather-related macet story. The other day, due to the flyover construction on Jalan Satrio, the street where Ambassador is located, it took me almost an hour to get home from work by taxi in the rain.
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