We continue our visit to Kota Tua in this blogpost. After a round of two banking museums (two, there are TWO) we managed to step outside with the dispelled rain and head to Fatahillah Square.
We passed tarps laid out on the ground sporting piles of phone cases, face masks, and the aforementioned penis key chain decorations (sorry ladies, I didn’t see any vaginal key chain items. Maybe next time). In the square were multitudes of performers, beggars, vendors and more. I felt like I was in some twisted version of Times Square, but when Hello Kitty popped open her head piece it was an 8 year old kid instead of a Hispanic woman from Bushwick.
There were a lot of shabby looking youths simply wandering around like this kid pictured on the right. Jakarta is full of disproportionate wealth the likes of which I have never seen in America. Walking around I attracted a lot of attention. In the span of an hour I was asked by 11 sets of people to take pictures with them, learn a small dance, and help a group of young women practice their English. I eventually started turning people down.
With all the pictures I was asked to take, it looks like I was keeping the white facing Dutch colonist impersonators from accruing new business. No, you’re right they do not look a lot like Dutch colonists. But Kota Tua is the heart of Dutch’s former trading empire so anything mildly resembling the look will do. We were too late to take in some of the other potentially disappointing or elating museums but perhaps will go back to take them in and have lunch at the infamous Batavia Cafe. Now that I have a little more of Jakarta under my belt, I can attract a little less attention as a starry eyed bule.
A little more about Kota Tua. It was formerly up as a possible UNESCO World Heritage site, and despite no real traction on the project, it’s clear that this is a beloved site that anchors much of Jakarta’s history. The current government has taken some steps to breathe new life into the site after years of stagnation and neglect. I look forward to what the government will do to continually renew this historic site. Jakarta as a whole is developing more every day, and finally looking to its roots. Here are some more pictures from around the square.
No one is hiding in these costumes sitting outside the Jakarta History Museum and
the former Dutch City Hall of Old Batavia