It was unspoken; we had to dress sharp, yet not over the top. Our venue was the Ritz Carlton, Jakarta. We got our bearings in the vast atrium lobby after stepping out of the only taxi arriving at the hotel’s porte cochère.
Past the trees decorated with cascading orchids, across from the hotel’s shoppe and through the featured temporary exhibit of artwork done in pressed gold, we made our way through to the grand staircase.
We were here for a kid’s birthday party.
Cian’s kindergarten friend Russel has a younger brother, George, who just turned one. As soon as we arrived and posed for the customary picture at the photo stage, we dissolved into the hundreds of other guests. Popcorn, cotton candy, chocolate, and candy stands, games of chance with prizes, a train ride and a clown and juggling performance on a custom designed theater filled the reception room. The back wall’s buffet had choices ranging from traditional Indonesian dishes to salmon coulibiac and chicken cordon bleu to ice cream cake with a topping bar. Cian quickly found his infamous posse of pseudo-naughty kindergarten friends and disappeared into the party, his face covered in blue cotton candy. Aine, overwhelmed at first by the sounds and crowds, preferred to quietly spend her time dipping pink marshmallows in the chocolate fountain.
The disparity in this country never ceases to amaze me.