Monday, 5 October 2015

Things that are happening in Jakarta

Here is a short list of things that are happening in the city which are good bad indifferent all at the same time and some nationwide ones. Its been a while since I have compiled a list of stuff.

  • There is a new Terminal being built at at the airport Terminal 4) which is all modern and things
  • If you are flying international with Lion Air, you still need to check in at T2 and then they bus you half way around the airport to get on a plane outside T3
  • The rail link proposed has been shelved for now or if it is still going to be built is being delayed.
  • The rail network is expanding throughout the country and Jakarta with new stations and longer platforms in the city and and railways being built across the country
  • There will be a higher speed rail link between Jakarta and Bandung to be built
  • Uber Taxis are not really welcome here
  • GoJek, Grab Bike and Blu Jek are the latest mobile app for ordering motorbike taxis, good for short distances, expensive for long. But its not rained yet so lets see what happens
  • The police are concerned about these groups delivering drugs unawares as its seems to have started
  • Bajais (blue ones) with have their own app soon.
  • There are new Scania buses on the busway now but not all over the busway
  • The police have commented that there are 420 traffic blackspots through the city and it will get worse
  • There are currently many major infrastructure developments across the city including the MRT (overground and underground) elevated Bus lanes, Flyovers which are on most of the major routes through the city which are causing huge issues.
  • The extra lane on the toll from Tangerang into Grogol has been closed making morning trips into the city from work so much longer.
  • The Rupiah is currently struggling against the dollar and once it reaches 15,000 then it will make it even harder for everyone as things are becoming expensive. 
  • If you are English, then fly to Indonesia as the rate is a fantastic 1gbp = 22,000 rupiah (at this moment in time) which means I cant afford to fly home for a holiday as I am paid in Rupiah
  • The Dollar is currently $1 = 14475
  • There will a shift in fuel price downward at some point this week
  • Hero Supermarkets are closing stores both Hero and Giant brands
  • The Giant at Semanggi has closed for good
  • Alcohol sales are being reviewed in the city with the hope that Beer can be sold again in mini markets and stores
  • The price of beer has not really moved since it has been banned in nearly all stores
  • There was a 150% increase in tax on imported clothing and goods which was helpful
  • There is a desire to close clubs and bars here at midnight instead of 2am to help reduce drug useage
  • There will be an increase in taxation of cigarettes but its still OK to sell them to anyone who wants them
  • Nappies have become more expensive now Jeremy is XXL but milk gets cheaper
  • The small shopping plaza thing called Tebet Green closed down as there was an issue with the tax payments
  • It has not rained for 3 months now and its just dry and dusty with more of this to come
  • The fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan are made worse because of the dry season, El Nino is to blame
  • There was no blood moon as the optical effect does not happen here
  • Mobile phone manufactures have to make products here. The Galaxy note 5 is made here
  • Samsung is not the most popular make of phone here any more due to local or region made phones being more affordable and offer the same Android stuff
  • The phone networks are planning 4G through Jakarta. I am waiting for 3G still for my area
  • I still cant get Internet cable to my house
  • The internet at work is transmitted over the air rather than through cables
  • There are now 3 fully functional huge shopping malls 5 minutes from work that I still don't need to visit
  • US size 13 trainers here are impossible to find unless they are bright red or something equally abhorrent
  • After surveying many students, nearly all said that they would never date in a Cemetery and this was their top or second from top answer, fast food outlets were also a no no
  • Car Free Sundays are now almost impossible to walk or enjoy due to the amount of push bikes and sponsored runs along the route so I have to stay in bed now
  • If I take Jeremy on the bus I am given a seat by the conductor whether I want one or not (transjakarta)
  • Visas to other countries become easier to obtain once an initial visa to somewhere has been approved (not including ASEAN countries)
  • There is a big Samsung repair centre at ITC Ambasador with the one at Pacific place being closed
  • With all the issues and publicity concerning air pollution there is no actual measurements of the air quality in Jakarta that I am aware of
  • Riding your bike on a scalped tarmac road is no fun and you really shouldn't go above 35kph 
  • Dog is a popular food in Jakarta but it is unregulated but the rest is too unsettling
  • 70% of all public spaces do not follow the no smoking bans in place mainly through fear of telling someone not to smoke because that person is probably a moron who cant read the no smoking signs
All information is from news sources such as the Jakarta Post, Jakarta Globe, Jakarta Coconuts and from my own experience. 
If this stuff is not quite right, well its what I know at the moment.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Days trips overseas

I have just returned from another trip out the country and I went to Singapore for the day. I did not really do anything as I had a very short time there, however it was nice to fly and visit somewhere different for a change.

As many people know, Singapore is currently suffering from the haze and smoke from Indonesia, where land is being burned to make way for more palm nut trees or something. So I was expecting lots of smog and grey skies. I am sure it was there. As I said it was a short trip out and I really could not be bothered to leave the airport. There is enough to do there, so I never really saw any smog or haze.

Actually, I have been to Singapore at least 20 times since 2006 and I have seen most of the sights to see and visited most of the city at some point. I have flown in and out of it. Took the train to Kuala Lumpur from it and had many a cold beer say waiting for visas etc so unless I am there for a weekend then I am not really fussed. I know there is a lot to do when you get there but my budget often wont allow me to do everything.  So this time I sat about the airport.

Flying at 8am in the morning gave me a on time, third full Lion Air flight which was predictably non eventful and there were no issues with immigration on the trip out both here and there.  Changi was emptier than I have ever seen it, maybe because of the low season, maybe because of the smog but it was quiet.

Plenty of empty seats on this flight
My plane was the same as that one

So, wandering around time to eat at McD (they do 1/4 pounders) and then surf the world through the free wifi. However, McD and BK at the airport stop serving breakfast at 12 so it was McMuffins and coffee instead.

Changi Airport Saturday Morning

Shiny floors are the order of the day

Changi Airport offers many things and in Terminal 3, it offers loads of things. Quiet areas for sleeping,showers,  a Cinema, A pool, a butterfly enclosure, bars and shops and free Wifi. You can get access to the free wifi in Arrivals by going to an information desk and the helpful people will type in your passport details and then give you a slip of paper. You follow the instructions and you have pretty good connection all around the airport. Once you have checked in, then you need to do the same thing again. Find a customer service desk and ask for free wifi. They will also give you a piece of paper with instructions and ask how many devices you need it for and then again, follow the instructions and you are off.

Departure lounge T3

Place was pretty empty for a Saturday

Now, what else was there? Oh nothing. I didn't anything else. I took a plane back at 5pm and was  home with the wife and kids by 8pm. A small adventure even if it was not the most exciting of one, but not many can say that they popped to Singapore for a few hours for something do.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Old Friends

Another week gone and more or less as tired as normal. I am currently teaching mornings and then doing my day job later in the day. The early morning teaching is still hard work but not as bad as last year because I am now used to being awake and moving about from 5.30am so being ready to teach at 8.30am is not so bad.

I am still there at St.Ursula, in the middle of the city but I have changed from elementary school to senior high school and this is for girls only aged from 15 to 18. Its a new challenge for me and less noisy so thats a good thing.  The views of the school as well are good. I am sure to post more pictures over the weeks of my time there but here are some shots from last week.

In the corridor outside a class

Looking towards the Cathedral

The class rooms themselves are still very traditional wooden desks and chairs and the most alarming the floor tiles (photos to come) remind me of the floors at Safeway where I once worked, as it they are I believe, the same pattern.

However much fun it is there, when my classes are cancelled its equally as great as I found out on Friday and as luck would have it, this allowed me to meet an old friend and colleague.

Back in the day when I first started with EF I was a teacher and I lived in a teachers house with everyone else. It was fun. The number of teachers grew and so a second house was called on and so I moved. It was far nicer. Teachers come and go and you have fun along the way. From the original western teachers that I worked with between 2007 and 2008 in Cengkareng; 5 of us remain in Jakarta as far as I know. Everyone else either moved on to somewhere new or went home after doing their year.  Keeping in touch with those I worked with is probably almost the same in number, be it through Instragram, Facebook, Whatsapp but some you still keep in contact with and some I still meet on occasion.

Class of 2008 EF Cenkareng Kartini Day

So hearing that an old colleague was returning for a holiday as part of his honeymoon was great news, especially as he was coming from Canada.

Dagan with my then girlfriend, now wife, Yovita

Just a typical day in West Jakarta
It was good to meet Dagan and his wife and we spent some time catching up over coffee and cake on Friday morning. Its good to see people move and develop and know that life goes on. Sadly Dagan lost his hair along the way, but his vests are the building blocks of legends!

Now Married

I forgot how short he is, but still just in a vest

Hopefully before he returns west again we can meet up and he can say hi to Yovita and Jeremy as we could not do that Friday. If not then again in another 7 or 8 years!