Monday, April 24, 2017

The 2 A.M. Big Bad Wolf Book Run

I have a love-hate relationship with my hometown. One of the reasons is that living in Jakarta is never boring. You always have something to do, even in the middle of the night. We have two long weekends in a row where public holidays fall on Monday. And we have that 24-hour Big Bad Wolf Book sale. Perfect.

Despite being not as enthusiastic as when the Big Bad Wolf first came last year with their books, I pushed myself to go. Mainly because last year we found Garfield comics and hoping this year the book collection would be as interesting. But the reviews had come back with long queue reports, especially on the cashier area. The only time to go is hours before dawn. So I threw the offer of “stay up all night” to Dudu and to my surprise, he agreed.
How to Get to ICE?

We left at 1.30 AM, a little delayed from the original midnight schedule because I set the alarm to 11 AM instead of PM and it (of course) didn’t ring. Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is located at ICE BSD City (right across AEON Mall BSD City) which means we have to take the Serpong toll road to the last exit, take the right lane to BSD City and turn left at the first traffic light. Follow the road to the end and you’ll see ICE and Hotel Santika on your left. The parking area is at the far end, and it costs you Rp. 20,000/entry. A little more expensive than the hourly Rp.3000 rate they used last year.

It took us around 30-minute drive to the location. And yes, driving is still the best way to reach this place. They have shuttle busses during morning hours (maybe) and you can also take Taxi (regular or online) to save time searching for parking. It was packed. Even at those odd hours.

Inside the Big Bad Wolf’s Lair

The bazaar area occupies roughly 4 halls including food trucks, cashier and staff-only areas. The books are plenty and most of them are imported English books. Books started at Rp.30,000 with average price between Rp.50,000 for activity books, Rp.65,000 for paperbacks and Rp.75,000 for hardcovers. Box sets and books in packages are above Rp.100,000.

Payments are available for all type except Debit BCA. I brought cash just in case (there’s a rest area in the toll road with ATMs). If you have Mandiri card, you can use the Fiesta Points to get more discounts.

With Dudu awake and well, he was soon hungry after we explore several tables of fictions. Unfortunately at around 3 A.M, the food trucks are all closed (except for one and thank god it serves Hainan Chicken Rice for Dudu), and what’s left is drinks and instant cup noodles. For those thinking about following our footsteps (with children or not), bring bread or something to eat just in case you got hungry in between your hunt.

The Ups and Downs of coming at 2 A.M.?

  • Trolleys and baskets on wheels are plenty. 
  • No line. Be it on entrance, cashier and even toilets.
  • It’s not too crowded and quiet enough for peaceful browsing. Even though the foyer is cold, inside the hall area is warm. 
  • Books are being refilled as we browse. Maybe because it’s rather quiet that the staffs can refill the book as we shop. Hurray for that.
  • No food. Drinks are available but if you come after 1 A.M., I guess you better bring your own meal. Black Coffee (Americano) is available at Rp.25,000.
  • Shops and booths outside are closed. Plus, BSD City and its neighboring areas have nice places to visit. If you visit during the day (and have to pay for that rather expensive toll road), you might as well drive around.

Take-home Treasures

We managed to find a stack of Garfield comics at Rp. 75,000 each. The children activity section is also interesting because other than coloring and puzzle books they actually have math, science and English problems for primary schools. I found a Sherlock Holmes DVD box set at Rp.85,000 and several fictions both in hardcover and paperbacks. Dudu is happy with Minecrafts and a Resident Evil Walkthrough book (Rp. 160,000). But Garfield dominates our purchase that morning. Does Dudu think it’s fun? “Yes, it’s like we’re buying millions of books. We’re happy and sad at the same time because we ran out of money.”

One tip to remember is not to hurry yourself. Spend time on each table and each stack. Ask around if you couldn’t find what you’re looking for. Our Garfield is spread out between Humor and Graphic Novel sections. The school books are also located on different tables, even though it’s still the same Children Activity section. Even after cashier, we took our time selecting pins to buy. They're Rp.50,000/3 pcs.

Come back again if you still feel like you need to shop more. We both have soft spot for books. So, we’ll come again, but probably have to wait until payday next week, which means cutting it close to the end of the book sale. We’ll probably return during the day. “Staying up all night is weird,” he admits after we arrived home. “I did that before but it still feels weird.” Dudu still wants to look for several self-help books I stopped him from buying them today. Something with the title of How to Earn Love and How to Live Your Live 24 hours A Day. Not really sure why a 10-year-old kid wants to read books like that. He already bought a book called “100 Things Every Man Should Know.”

Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is open for 24 hours until May 2, 2017.

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