“I heard the second one go off”: post from Jakarta
Australian travel journalist Natasha Dragun lives down the road from the Ritz and Marriot hotels in Jakarta. She filed this post for The Punch on the bombings today.
I’ve lived in Jakarta for about 15 months (I moved here having spent 5 years in Beijing, and now work for a travel magazine based in Jakarta). I’ve always felt extremely safe here.
In fact, I’ve felt safer here than when I lived in Melbourne. Everyone here is always so friendly and lovely.
I’ve never been scared for my safety – even during the elections, or the executions of the Bali bombers… my family and friends were more worried than I was.
The security at both hotels (the Marriott and Ritz) is extremely tight, so I just don’t understand how the bombs got in.
There are about 6 security guards checking cars (the bonnets and boots, and inside and under as well) and then everyone entering the hotels has to go through metal detectors and have bags checked.
I lived in the apartment block (Bellagio Mansions) directly opposite the Ritz and next to the Marriott for 12 months.
My apartment looked onto the restaurant at the Ritz. Two of my closest friends in Jakarta work there (thank goodness they’re ok – thank god for Twitter and Facebook at times like this! They both posted updates… I couldn’t get through to them on the phone).
I still go to the gym in the building opposite the hotels, and am always in the area. In fact I was there late last night.
I sometimes have breakfast with my friend at the Ritz. It’s a really nice area.
It’s one of the few places in Jakarta with parks – people are always out running. There’s lots of cool restaurants in the area. So it feels surreal to know this is happening.
Now I live about 1km up from the hotels. A close friend of mine lives really close to the hotels and called me at 7:50 this morning when he heard the first bomb.
I heard the second one go off, then all the sirens started ringing out over the city. Then all the phone calls started.
Sometimes I go to the gym in the morning. Luckily I slept in this morning.
If I hadn’t, I might have been there. It’s all very surreal.
All the buildings in the area have been evacuated now I think.
There are hundreds of people milling around. Everyone is on their phones.
Strangely it’s not really that chaotic though – people are more surprised than anything.
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