Jakarta's extravagant new shopping complexes

Indonesia -- a country where almost thirty percent live below the poverty line -- now has some of the most extravagant shopping malls in the world. Below are some photos I took inside a new mall adjacent to the Plaza Indonesia complex.

This photo at left shows cherry trees blooming in the "Japanese" section of the mall. The trees are fake, but they sure looked real to me.

Given the level of pollution, shopping is understandably a popular occupation of the city's well-off residents.

From a tourists' perspective, the malls employ many young locals, providing the friendliest service you are likely to find at a shopping mall anywhere in Asia.

One good thing about the big new malls going up in Jakarta is that these projects will probably encourage rich Indonesians to spend much more of their money within Indonesia (instead of heading overseas to Singapore or Hong Kong to shop).

Today, why would an Indonesian travel abroad to shop? The sheer opulence of newest shopping malls in Jakarta easily rival anything I have seen in Singapore, Europe, or North America.

The next photo shows the fair grounds:

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