While others have this urgent need to harvest their pumpkins which they planted together with the Smurfs, I have to have my café run, a habit that developed when I was living in the Garden City. Starbucks or Coffee Bean Tea Leaf was my refuge from the alienation, dislocation, loneliness etc that were building up inside and could be momentarily quelled by a hot drink. It was also my spot for marking papers (no one chased me away) and a meeting venue with close acquaintances and friends (it’s hard to miss). The crew I knew way back then was pleasant, their bonhomie disposition so infectious that I’d forget all the agitations of the day.
Café run in Jakarta lends itself solely to Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. It’s to assuage my feelings of deprivation with the absence of a Coffee Bean outlet in Kalimalang, which is definitely pro-Starbucks and pro-J CO area. Like in Starbucks but not like Starbucks, I have a cup of hot genmaicha. I like how the roasted rice taste lingers on the tongue and disappears without leaving an awful taste in the mouth. It’s a neat and smooth sip, and, trite as it may sound, all is fine in my world.
It’s my me-time where I sip my favourite hot drink and bite into my current favourite cake. Starbucks is a de facto café for my café run in Bekasi being the only one in the area. Order of the day is a tall mug of green tea with granny apple pie or chocolate avocado mousse or the popular red velvet cake. The crew is very pleasing, which is quite refreshing as it’s not every day I can engage in pleasant repartee and not trip all over my tongue because of my meagre knowledge of Bahasa Indonesia. Located in Metropolitan Mall, Starbucks is a complete haven when the afternoon crowd has not yet streamed in. Its comfortable sofa chairs invite the bookworm, tempting her to sink in and get lost in her book with the mellow music wafting overhead. The serene ambience for reading, unwinding or simple people-watching lasts until the smokers troop in for their café run – coffee with a fag – which is my signal to leave and head on for home.