I was told by my business contacts that the Century Park Hotel is in the financial, wealthiest district of Jakarta. The hotel itself is well known and dubbed “athletes hotel” because a lot of professional athletes stay there, as it is next to the national sports complex.
There is a complimentary breakfast buffet every morning, including Indonesian and Western food. 20+ stations on two long catered tables and two small tables. Best hotel food I’ve ever had.
I also do some work in the bar/lounge area. The WiFi there is more reliable than in my room.
There is a complimentary small gym with some free weights and machines. I have used it!
And a complimentary Olympic sized pool with an outdoor shaded lounge.
The hotel taxi isn’t Blue Bird. Rather, it’s an expensive “executive sedan” called White Horse which costs twice as much. Because I don’t have a local SIM and cannot order a taxi without a local number, I’ve had to take it every morning.
It’s so strange. Within that taxi, pedestrians stare inside at me. It doesn’t help that I’m suited up. Even though the taxi doors are locked, I’m grabbing onto my laptop bag. Within Blue Bird, nobody cares.
Upon entering or leaving the hotel, there are doormen that open the door for me and bow their heads to me. The girl today looked very underage – I hope she makes enough money. When I left for dinner at 6pm, the same guy from this morning was still there. He smiled and said, “Good afternoon, Mr. Andy!” I was so surprised that he remembered my name that I replied, “Thank you.” How embarrassing. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this.
I had a great Monday. Work went superbly well, and the clients were very happy. I wanted to treat myself, so I went to the lobby and asked if there were massages available. Indeed there were, next to the pool. 255,000 Rupiahs for a 90 minute massage. That’s $20.84, for a 1.5 hour massage.
I brought that exact amount with me and went into the place. I was led into a small room, waited a few minutes, and in came the masseuse. She looked pretty young, early 20s. She motioned to take off my shirt, and I took off my shirt. She motioned to take off my pants, so I took off my pants. Boxers stayed on. She actually looked confused.
Long story short, it was a fantastic full body massage. Feet, calves, shins, hamstrings, quads, glutes, hips, back, arms, fingers, and head.
The masseuse was very, very touchy (no shit Sherlock). I kept my eyes closed the vast majority of the time, was actually nervous wondering if I was in an “actual” massage parlor and tried to clear my head. I actually succeeded!
With ten minutes left, she asked me if I wanted a massage on the other head. I kindly but firmly denied. I then thought of everything Professor Zook taught us in Southeast Asian Politics (great class, Cal students, take it if you can actually get enrolled in the class [good luck]). I started feeling really bad for her, wondering how often she gives a handjob to people, and how often she has been offered and accepted sexual favors.
That was the first time we actually spoke, and we engaged in small talk with her very limited English. She guessed that I was 20 years old and was a student athlete. I let her know I was here for business. She’s actually 30 years old, fairly new to this job. She asked what my tattoos meant. “Girlfriend?” Funny.
At the end of the massage, I asked her to wait so I could bring her a tip. I doubt she believed me, but she said okay. Went back to my room, brought down and gave her 50,000 Rupiahs ($4.09). That’s nothing to me, but that’s a 20% tip which I hope will save her from a potential sexual favor. Asked for her name and shook her hand. Her name is Ella, pronounced Ay-la. I hope she felt respected that night.