Special Orders Do Upset Us.

In an odd turn of events, I found myself home alone for the weekend.  Both the spouse and offspring were away.

I wandered out into the evening in search of a meal.  Along the way I came upon two mormons.  Doing a mission trip here must have been required for some bad misdeed back at Uncle Brigham’s. I can’t imagine how hard that must be.  Fearing my own conversion, I didn’t stop to ask.  

I also saw three men relieving themselves.  Jakarta doesn’t have a lot of street lamps, so there are lots of shadows to hide in.  Just watch where you walk. That puddle may not be leftover from the rain.

Eventually I found a place called “Three Buns-Burgers and Heads”. I had only a limited idea what this meant until I asked and found out that the place is run by a group who also runs some restaurants called “PotatoHeads” 

Anyway, the set-up of the place is kind of funny .  There is a food truck out front that serves no purpose other than to handle cash and give workers a place to check their cell phones. Inside, on a series of very high risers, is the seating area.  Imagine, if you will a restaurant designed like the old “Q-bert” video game with tables and steps rising randomly and steeply around the room.  That’s this place.  Honestly, it is an alcoholics nightmare.  It was a quiet night when I was there, but I can only imagine women in heels cascading down to the ground floor in the wee hours of the morning.

There was a large grid of 36 numbers on the wall. Every so often a few numbers would light up. I asked what this was and was told it’s a Bingo game. “Are people playing bingo now?” “Yes”

I looked around. No one was playing bingo.

I picked out a burger and then asked for the house fries.  The bartender started upselling me on the “Naughty fries” which looked good except for the beef chili.  I told him I didn’t really want the chili and I asked if I could have the fries without.  “Sure”, he said.  “Or, maybe you can have the chili on the side?”  

“All right. Naughty fries with chili on the side.”  

My burger came quickly along with my fries. The fries were simply and totally slathered in beef chili.

It reminded me of how hard it is to get substitutions here.  

For whatever reason, people here are fanatical about the cleanliness of their cars.  My own 10 year old car is simply flawless having been washed or wiped down twice a day.  My driver arrives in the morning and he wipes the car free of any dust that may have gathered in the closed garage over night. If we drive in the rain, he wipes down the car.  If he’s bored, he washes and waxes the car.  

Car wash/detail shops are tucked in neighborhoods all over.  A clean car is a big, big thing.

But, if you go to a car wash you have to do the whole detail.  We’ve had friends who are in a hurry and just want to rinse off the car.

“No, sorry, mister. Can’t do that”  

“Why not?”

“It’s not what we do.”

“What if I pay for a detail, but you stop after you rinse off the car?”


“But you’ll do less work and make the same amount of money?

“That wouldn’t be right.”

The same thing goes for pizza.  A friend wanted a cheese pizza, but it wasn’t on the menu, so they asked them to make one, but they wouldn’t because it wasn’t on the menu. They asked for the simplest pizza they had, which was maybe a margarita pizza.  They asked for a margarita pizza with only the cheese,  even agreeing to pay the higher price.  Alas, they ended up ordering a pizza and picking off everything but the cheese.

The bartender at the Three Buns told me that their format changed.  It used to be that people came to the restaurant and placed and paid for their order at the food truck and then went to sit down to wait, but people didn’t like that concept.  “Why are we paying for food at a nice restaurant when we haven’t eaten it yet?”  

The bartender said, that prepay concept may work in New York or London, but this is Indonesia. We do it our own way.  Indeed, they do.

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