I was browsing a bookshop next to the hotel where I am staying in Jalan Kemang Raya in Kebayoran Baru last night and I was surprised to see so many locally published books on Adeniums, Aglaonemas, Anthuriums and Caladiums (as well as a few on flowering Euphorbias in which I am not very interested). But what was even more surprisng was the quality of the books. Some were over 200 pages in full colour, and the quality of the photography and reproduction was top class. And another surprise was the price - ranging from 28,500 rupiah (about US$3) to a maximum of 65,000 rupiah (less than US$7).
Most locally published horticulture books that I had seen in Indonesia before were of quite a low quality, but these were excellent value for money. I ended up buying seven! The books contained excellent photographs of over 100 varieties of adeniums, over 300 varieties of aglaonemas, 175 varieties of anthuriums, and 220 varieties of caladiums, as well as very detailed information on propagation techniques. Only trouble was that they were all written in Bahasa Indonesia, so I will have to find someone to translate them for me. The variety names are all in English though, so the books were worth having just as a identification reference.
Another surprise of a different kind was in a taxi on the way to a meeting this afternoon. Whilst stuck in a traffic jam, a magazine vendor approached our window and tried to sell us a copy of Playboy. I've not seen that in a Muslim country before.