In 2008 Jakarta won four Adipura awards for being a clean and green city:
South Jakarta ranked second after South Sumatra's Palembang, followed by West Jakarta, Surabaya, North Jakarta and Central Jakarta. The four municipalities' victories left East Jakarta and the Thousand Islands regency off the winners' list.
Now it could be that the judges are wearing rose-tinted spectacles. Either that or they are just blind of course. But it’s still an interesting idea: awards for cities and all that. But what about specific streets? I mean we all know about places like Jalan Jaksa.
But how does this famous back backing street shape up in the great scheme of things? And how does it compare to Indonesia’s other famous backpacking street: the legendary Gang Poppies in Kuta, Bali?
1. The vibe. Gang Poppies is never dead, Jalan Jaksa is virtually never alive.
2. The bars/beer: Jalan Jaksa may be the cheapest place in Jakarta for a beer, but Gang Poppies still comes up trumps with prices lower than in some supermarkets. In Kuta they put bottles of beer in an ice cold freezer but in Jaksa you get ice in your beer - if you are lucky - and warm beer if you are not. Gang Poppies has vibrant bars with gut-thumping sound systems and mega size flat TV screens. And Jaksa? Well, they have Romance…
3. The merchandise . Gang Poppies has CDs, DVDs, sunglasses, clothes, beachware, surfware, excellent second hand book shops etc etc. But if you’re at Jaksa all is not lost – just head for Sarinah…
4. The hotels. Plenty of dingy mosquito infested dives on Jaksa whereas Poppies has a good selection of hotels, most with Balinese gardens and a swimming pool.
5. The locals. Being pestered at Gang Poppies is all part of the experience. They just want to sell you something. At Jaksa, the locals only want to sell you one thing. It’s not worth it. Really.
6. The beach at the end of the road. At the end of Gang Poppies there is a pretty decent beach for surfing. At the end of Jaksa you still have to walk for another three hours before you arrive at the turdgid waters of Ancol beach. Need I say more?!