Monday, April 18, 2005

The Amazing Race!!! Jakarta Style...

It was my birthday last Monday, on the 11th of April. I have never really been into celebrating my birthdays so the whole thing blew over with a pretty mellow weekend and some dinner with friends. Little did I know however that my sister and my friends had put together a party for me that kicked off this Saturday. And guys, was this a party or what??!!

I found out on Friday night that there was something going down the next night at my place so drinks were sorted. People started coming over at about 9 pm and by 10pm there were a good 21 people wandering around my house, putting down the heavy drinks that I was mixing, slowly getting into the mood. We found out then that we would be taking part in “Avi’s Amazing Race”. Have you seen this show on TV? Well it’s pretty fucking cool and this was the same concept.

We split the group into 5 teams, Mick Jagger and The Stones, Jim Morrison and The Doors, Bob Marley and The Wailers, The Beatles, and JT and NSYNC. Why NSYNC you ask? Well it can’t just be all about me can it?! Each team was presented with a trusty starter pack that contained the clues, a pen, a plastic bag and zip lock bags to carry the clues, and Jenny’s phone number that we could use to call her incase we were lost or confused. Each team could use this life line only 2 times. We all also had a digital camera for every team and team shirts for each individual. There were 28 cryptic clues (because I just turned 28 years old) that led us across the city, through various bars, malls, hotels, and shops, mostly collecting things and visiting places that had some relevance to ME. Each team was also given a 6 pack of beers that had to be brought back empty to the final location. So at about 10.30pm we jumped into our rides, one team per car and belted out into the city. The next 2-3 hours was some of the best times my friends and I have had in ages.

Now I don’t have all the pictures here but below are some from the places we collected that we had to submit them to Jenny at the final location. We also had to present bills and receipts proving we had 5 shots at every bar we went to. The driver was not exempt. I believe the first clue led us to LA PIAZA, which is a new mall in Jakarta that only has restaurants. It is located in the Kelapa Gading area of North Jakarta. We had to run in and get 3 flyers form any restraints and a picture with a cute waitress from Pizza Hut. The clues were in random order but we all ended up here first as it was closest to my house. At this point we were all just a bit buzzed and I didn’t really think people would taske the race to seriously. But the moment our convoy got to the entrance, I saw brothers pealing into the piazza and scattering in all directions like their lives depended upon it. You can only imagine how the crowd was reacting. People actually got up and moved away from the tables they were eating at.

From there we moved steadily across the city, collecting flyers from massage parlors and karaoke joints, buying Teh Boltol (famous local drink), and other strange items, also stopping at Illusion bar at the Danau Sunter for a round of Sambuka shots. We bumped into 2 other teams there and every one really seemed to be feeling the game and getting into pretty high spirits. We progressed into Menteng and stopped at a bar I usually visit after hours, at about 4 or 5 in the morning after a heavy night, before heading home. This is BFC. They are an open air bar located on Jalan Jaksa. I found the place a few years ago with a friend of mine who worked as a manager in a hotle bar here. BFC is usually frequented by hotel staff that come into have a good time of their own after dealing with obnoxious hotel guests, like me. The booze is inexpensive and they let us put on our own tunes. They also turn a blind eye to some of our other indulgences… In addition, they grill me up a bad ass steak with egg’s at the most ridiculous hour. With 5 shots down the hatch there and some light commentary, we rushed on our way.

We proceeded to Starbucks, where we had to collect the signature green straw, to The Grand Hayatt, where we had to get a cocktail mixer with the hotel logo and a pack of matches from the Burgundy Bar on the top floor. We also took care of another goal here which was to get a picture in front of a fountain. Now the GH is a pretty fine hotel and the site of 4 drunken, blue t-shirt clad, thugs running through the lobby did cause a stir but we managed to make it in and out with out incident. From there it was down the street to Plaza EX which is a really funky new mall right in the heart of Jakarta that has many interesting and unique shops. They got plasma TV’s all over the place, including the floors and ceilings. I would have stopped and taken some more pictures, but we were in a race after all. The Hard Rock Café and recently opened F Bar (by Fashion TV) are both located in this mall as well. We had to collect a picture of one team member with some Beatles memorabilia at HRC, also a picture with a movie poster at the cinema there.

From there it was on to Planet Hollywood, an old favorite haunt of mine, and then to Aphrodite, another one of my watering holes. Aphrodite is a very chilled place with a comfotable atmosphere. It is in the Taman Rasuna Apartnment complex in Kuningan. The food there is fucking amazing!!! We had more to drink there and shot of to STIX. A few years ago I practically used to live here. Every day at happy hour they take out a large silver coin with a cow on one side and a chicken on the other. The guest has to flip the coin upon ordering a drink. If the cow lands up, you pay for your drink, and if the chicken lands up, the drink is FREE. That’s right FREEEEEEE!. What a concept! I made friends with the manager and waiters there and let’s just say those were the happy days when I did not have to blow half my income on booze. At night, STIX is a salsa bar with a great Colombian band that switches around regularly. And the girls who come in to sing and dance with the band are HOT! STIX is located in the Park Lane Hotel on Jalan Casablanca. The restraunt there, RIVA, is also worth strong mention. Take a picture with the band and 5 more shots.

With only 2 more clues worth mentioning, we were all pretty smashed. It was getting harder to figure the clues out and we had saved the hardest things for last. We had to take a picture with an attendant at a toll both. Yes cars were backed up and blowing their horns, and we had to get a picture with a flamboyant BANCI. That is a transvestite for you non Indo/Malays. Sheesh. My friend in the picture was so afraid to get close to the poor he/she as you can see in the picture. We ended the race at my current hang out, the FEZ bar in Kemang. On the way there I was even stopped by the cops at a regular check point, and the cop was a chick. Within minutes I was outside the car telling her how women in uniform turn me on. I even asked for her phone number. We had a good laugh at my expense and we made it to FEZ, sans phone number.

My team was the last to arrive!! How could I possibly loose a race that was about me? Guess I really don’t know my self as much as my friends do. Overall every one had an “amazing” time. It was something really different from the norm and I really thank my sister for putting it all together. The clues were clever and the tasks really fun. With all of us tipsy and some of us pretty shit faced actually, we carried the night on at CENTRO night club in Darmawangsa Square. I don’t recall much after that except driving home with the sun shining in my face. Already the people who were not among us have asked to be invited the next time this happens. Cool, fine, done, wikid… Thanks to everyone who made it possible, especially you Jen.

Malalo and Good Night.


Shan said...

Hey there - sounds like you had a real blast! Great pix too! Wish I was there.
BTW - go to to get set up with the counter. Pretty easy to use.

Avi said...

Cheers, it was a blast. Got the site meter luv. Its at the bottom of the page ;-)