Tuesday, 14 June 2016

How old am I?

I just had my birthday, which for most of the day had me convinced I was 45 (I am not the best at math) but actually I am only 44. Still, there was cake and beer and silence and time off from work so the age became less important.
I have had some time off recently and have more coming next week and then a week off in July for the Idul Fitry Muslim holiday so that's good. This means I can spend more time with Jeremy and the family and do stuff I need to do and also do nothing, which I need to do more.
So on my birthday, Jeremy was sent off to grans as normal and then I went off out for a haircut and some random shopping and what with it being Ramadhan the malls were empty, the streets still full of traffic but that was OK.
I then spent the afternoon and evening with family eating cake and drinking beer and it was a quiet day.

I took Jeremy to work on the Saturday because he hadn't been for a while and once he remembered where he was he was off exploring and climbing up and down the stairs. He spent time with the giant Interactive whiteboard and played some of the learning games we have but he was far too restless to do anything else and so carried on running about. Once home, he passed out for a few hours, probably due to the amount excitement and energy produced through the morning. This meant he slept fairly early but at 3.30 am we were up and sat of the sofa because for reasons unknown he was wide awake and full of life. He managed to be like that until gone 1 pm when after shopping he fell asleep in the taxi and then slept for 2 hours in the afternoon.

Messing around

Climbing stairs at work

It was also haircut day for Jeremy. He is not a fan of this and although he kind of liked Kiddie cuts and did not scream the place down, he was not that happy there. The last time we had his haircut round the corner from the house (15,000 idr vs 100,000 at Kiddiecuts) he screamed and stressed everyone one out so we left. This time we never left. Jeremy had already said no to a haircut prior to us taking him but he did need it so we once the queue has gone it was his turn. With both me and Yovita holding him still and going deaf in the process due to his wailing and protesting, he had his hair cut. It was even almost finished and I am sure the barber was happy with that. We paid him twice as much as normal for his efforts which hopefully showed we knew it was hard for him. Strangely enough with young children once whatever they don't like stops, they stop and we had him singing and waving goodbye to the barber almost immediately. We stopped off at Indomaret for ice cream and a bubble maker to make him happier and went home.

New Hair

Both of us have 'new hair'

Jeremy now has less hair and wont need to go back for a few months. He did sleep well again Sunday night, I guess the stress made him tired but his happiness never dipped for long.

The next challenge will the booster vaccination in July he needs. I will bring earplugs for that!

Monday, 6 June 2016

Artotel Jakarta

I do like my random nights in hotels across the city or Indonesia (If I get the chance) but the nights out in a hotel in Jakarta make it a short trip away from reality for me and the family and it keeps Jeremy busy and engaged. This weekend was one of those trips away with a nights stay at the Artotel in Thamrin. The hotel is sort of purple and 'arty' from outside and is behind the KFC and McD at Thamrin Sarinah,  or it is next to St. Theresia church.

from Agoda.com

Its not cheap and booking through Agoda only gets you the smallest room option but it was still a good deal (over 60% off the Hotel website price) and so we opted to stay.

Inside the hotel is a lot of art. It is themed around the idea that local artists display their wares I guess inside the hotel and to be honest some of this looked better than the usual patterned wallpaper and gold leaf mirrors and lamps and thick carpets.  It being a small building we were on the second floor. There are only 7 floors, the highest being an bar area which sadly due to having a 3 year old we never got to see, maybe next time.

Lobby area

Our room was small but OK. There was a view of pretty much nothing and very limited storage space and no fridge. Instead of a kettle there was a Nescafe Dolce Gusto machine which after some training could provide us with hot water as well as coffee. That said, the room was quiet and with a good bathroom.

By the bed

In the Wardrobe
on the door

random in the room

near an elevator

The walls were covered in arty drawings as were the ones in the halls and were interesting to look at. The service was good and quick and the room service food was nice. Interestingly when we checked in at 4.30 we still had to wait for a room even though we were expected. Jeremy was presented with an Artotel Rhino soft toy which was great.

Dinner was provided in the mall and Jeremy does seem to like eating anything we give him, which is good. The evenings fun was TV and beer with Jeremy watching You Tube and then sleeping around 8.30pm.

Breakfast was free but with a very excited 3 year old, it was short. The coffee took forever to come and the food was limited probably due to the amount of guests but I ate as much as I could.

As it was a Sunday the area of the city we were in was full on car free day so in the morning we took some time to join the masses and wander about for a bit but there were still too many people so we went back to the hotel and sat about.

So that was the hotel. The rest of the day involved shopping in Lotte with 4,000 others (like Christmas food shopping) with everyone over buying everything and then once home, we had the AC serviced and fixed to hopefully stop the constant drip and the bad water smell. That seemed to work but then the remote would not work so we slept in 20 degree chill with the fan full on last night. This morning the AC guy returned and fixed that.

Another chilled out'ish weekend and things repaired at the house and now to enjoy the fasting month.

Ramadan Murabak 

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Puri Avia Resort

I am not a big fan of Bogor or Puncak despite its beauty, fresh air and cool weather mainly because you can never judge what the trip there or back will be like if you go by any means of transport from motorbike to train. Also once there, you have to rely on minibuses to get round or motorbike taxis and whilst that's not a really a problem it become more problematic with a small child. However, if there is a chance to overnight then sure count me in. And so last weekend with everyone at EF who I work with we all jumped on a bus and headed into the foothills behind Bogor for our annual outing.

Our Bus

This year it was decided not go to the sea because for the previous 3 years that is all we have done and so after realising Bandung was a bridge too far, the villas and peace of Puncak over looking the city of Bogor was the place to go. 

Ready for the off

We had given ourselves 3 hours journey time which should have been enough, considering its only 70km away and even on a bus it should not take much more time. But, as soon as we got on the toll we faced traffic and delay. The 3 hour trip ultimately took just over 6 hours. Still, everyone was in pretty good spirits after the traffic and the traffic was awful and the huge rain that fell did not do anything to help matters. I managed somewhere along the way to grab a Starbucks so that cheered me up some but ultimately the journey was fine. 

Traffic waiting to pass a toll gate

There is always a risk of traffic when you head into the Puncak on a weekend because it is one of the most visited places by people from Jakarta. The road up into the area is also over crowded and the police often close the road in one direction to allow traffic to either go it quicker or come down it quicker.  The police had this in place on Saturday but still we got there.


The evening was cut short by the late arrival but we had time to eat and chat and play some games before being ushered off to sleep around 1 am. Our rooms were all sharing and the rooms were pretty good. I was sharing with 3 others. We all had beds and the room was big with good AC as well as hot water from the shower so it was nice.

Add caption

The room
Hot water, always welcome as well as a western toilet

In the morning there was no real hurry to get up and most of the 30+ people were at breakfast before 8.30 am. It was an all Indonesian food affair but the rice and noodles were good although the coffee was pretty weak and lifeless and only really started to kick in after 4 cups!!!

Our villa

Nice pool

Views  from the venue

As it was an official group outing, games ensued in the Outbound area. Everyone seemed to enjoy them and everyone won a prize of some sort which was good. After the games were done, it was time for more photos (there were far too many photos as normal taken) and some time to relax before lunch of random fish and rice and then back on the bus for the trip home.

The complete view

We left just after 2 pm and got onto the toll before 3 which was good but the traffic heading into Jakarta was pretty horrendous again so by 6.30 pm we were in the middle of the city but not at the final destination. I was lucky enough to be able to get off and catch the Transjakarta back to my home where I met by a very excited 3 year, a wife bearing pizza and the chance to catch up on my sleep.

The team who I am proud to work with

It was a short trip out but a fun one and now I have been and stayed in Puncak twice in 9 years.