Sunday, 29 November 2009

A week full of surprises

Well that was a climatic end to the week and I feel somewhat pleased with myself and the events that have occured over the past few days. Something I cant always say.

Since Friday I have been rather busy. Friday was a major muslim holiday here and that meant lots of things, mainly lots of people not in the city so it was a little quieter. Also having been paid meant an easier weekend so that was good. It was also the key muslim festival where they sacrifice livestock and give the meat to the poor. It is a great custom although it is done in public and whilst I never saw it this year, it is quite startling seeing so many animals simply slaughtered.
This all happens around the mosques and the meat is blessed and the animals are humanely killed.

Off to Senayan City to watch New Moon. The mall is currently under investigation as it apparently has office space when it should not have blah blah blah, Another tale of corruption and then someone trying to fix it. It will no doubt end in nothing. There are calls for it to be closed. Nah that wont happen.

New Moon. Enough said.

The place was fairly busy and the need for coffee could not be satisfied there so we nipped (Yovita and I) across the road to the other stupid sized mall in the same street, Plaza Senaya. Starbucks was accomodating there so we mulled the movie and watched the rich and famous wander around looking at £200 handbags.
Its Christmas and so time for Crimbo cards and the joy of writing them and then sending them. If you are lucky and I have your name and address there is a 75% chance of you having a card written and posted to you. However the choice is limited although better than last year, so keep an eye out for Indonesian stamps and well that will be from me.
Enjoyed spending the day at the mall and watching a movie I had no interest in and then chillin in a coffee shop. Good way to spend Saturday.

I went to work on Saturday to complete some big reports I have yet to start and so spent some time sorting that out and then went home for a bit. I met Yovita at Semanggi and after a nice cup of tea in Dunkin Doughnuts, off to get my passport photos taken for my new passport. I have to get that sorted this week as it can take up to 4 weeks for a new one and with Christmas looming need to have it sorted. Photos easy. Forms to complete simple. Pay in cash - no worries. Pay twice as much as you will in England. Shocking. Plus the hassle that this city has to offer. I can only hope it all goes well. Biometric photos, printed forms and visits to the embassy. Joy.
Back here for the evening after going deaf from the music and rubbish signing from what ever was happening on the stage. Lots of little girls very over dressed surrounded by proud mums. Great. Get me away from that.

Top night for Soccer though with West Ham just about managing to win, lots of goals at Man U and other scores meaning a good weekend.

I was awake at 7am this morning. I had an appointment with Yovita at 8am at her house. So leaving late, deciding to take photos of the mountains from the window in the hallway of my apartment, forgetting my bike keys never really helped. But it was a nice trip as it was early and no traffic.
I sold my bike. I bought it for 6 million in 2008 and I sold it for 5.2 million in 2009. Thats not bad. I then was shown a bike I am renting for the next 4 weeks and asked if I wanted to try riding it. Yes of course. I am now the proud owner of a Yamaha 135, teenage racer bike. Not much difference to a Fiesta or Nova with a big exhaust and rattly doors. This bike also has a clutch. That was and is scary as I have to think now as well as ride, indicate, brake and not get killed by the traffic about what gear I am in. I managed to stall it about 15 times in front of the owner but I still said I would take it. And for £30 I cant complain about the rental price.
Then I had to wait for a man to come and interview Yovita as she is putting her name up for me so I can buy a new motorbike, which I am excited about. I will or rather am getting a Yamaha Jupiter MX 135 with sport wheels and auto clutch. That is exciting. I have yet to see the bike as the showroom (someones front room) did not have to look at but I am assured it is the same as the one in the brochure. It will be delivered to the dealer on Monday but then I have to wait for the paper work which takes 14 working days to get. So that is the 21st of December. I can wait. On the 22 I go to Bali. So thats ok. It can sit an gather dust for a week.

So my bike was sold in 10 minutes and then I was given another bike to ride and then signed for a new bike pick up in December. Quite exciting.

Riding home on this machine was a challenge as I need to get used to the gears and with Jakarta traffic not really concerned about my plight, I had not to stall to it, which I did rather well with. All was going well until I felt the back wheel wobble and the bike shake and at 40/50kph is not a good thing. So stopping, yes a flat. I have ridden my honda all over the city and outside and never once had a puncture.
Embarking on a new experience of pushing a motorbike down the main artery of the city is fun. Asking where I can get it fixed was easy. After about 10 minutes walking, I found a bunch of Ojeg men (motor bike taxi men) and behind them was a man who fixed tires. That is something I like about this city, someone is always there to help no matter where you are. So sitting on the kerb talking with the men about not wanting goat satay and AC milan seemed to pass the time away. I called Yovita and asked the going rate for payment. 15,000 or about a quid. That is good. 15 minutes later, all sorted. The security guard waved me off and back into the crush for a the final stage home.

Tidak Sticker Boss? Iya Motor Baru, Ada Rental. Was the conversation in the bike park. A sticker is my prepaid parking slip. Motor baru, ada rental is I have a new bike and its a rental. Met with smiles.
The parking manager could not help me as I need to go to Customer Service tomorrow, get a piece of paper saying I have changed my bike and then go back and see him and then free parking again. Great. Love procedure.

Fancied some nice bread for afternoon tea with cucumber, cheese and tomatoes. There is a new Carrefour in the mall next door. It is not that big but all full. The mall is big but empty of people and shops but I am told they are coming.
Managed to get everything I needed in 15 minutes. 45 minutes later I managed to get served by the worst cashier in the world and that takes some beating after working for Safeway, Morrisons and Somerfield. She was possibly just not trained but made too many mistakes and kept asking the supervisor for help. Carrefour is very nice but the service is rubbish,.
I would complain but why bother, it never worked when customers used to complain to me. I used nod and be all yes thats bad etc but nothing changed.
The bread etc was great and eaten with the sound of a fearsome thunde storm hitting the city.

A top weekend all in all and the count down now to the Christmas holidays. 18 days. 14 of those are working days. Then holdiays until the new year.


Thursday, 26 November 2009

100 good things about life here

Oh so thoughtful today........... cant say why!!!

1. Hot
2. Diverse
3. Friendly
4. Smiley
5. They have belief
6. It wants to improve
7. Its a secret to the outside world
8. Nothing is an obstacle
9. People accept rather than blame
10. Lots of strange wildlife
11. Big Leaves
12. Bigger Trees
13. Huge Ants
14. Lots of flowers
15. School uniforms
16. Lack of judgment against others
17. You can find everything you need
18. Cheap transportation
19. Even cheaper food
20. Beer is £1 a large bottle
21. No drunk people
22. No mothers pushing prams smoking
23. No-one shooting up in public
24. People have religion
25. Family values
26. Nannies
27. Maids
28. Volcanoes
29. Earthquakes
30. Mountains
31. Sunrises
32. Sunsets
33. Ease of travel
34. Taxis overall
35. No queues in restaurants
36. Lots of places to visit
37. Chance to eat lots of animals like dogs and cats
38. People are intersted in you
39. Beaches
40. Bali
41. Lombok
42. Coffee
43. Tea
44. Chocolate
45. Eat 3 meals in a day for less than £3
46. It never gets cold
47. When it rains it is exciting
48. Thunderstorms
49. The risk of being struck by lightening is increased
50. So many ways to die
51. Never far from a beautiful place
52. Very Traditional
53. Pot Mie
54. Seafood
55. Strange coloured cakes
56. Fresh Fruit
57. Even fresher veg
58. Amount of coffe shops
59. Cheap Cinemas
60. Air Asia
61. 3 network is cheap and give you free things
62. Shopping malls - even Ambassador
63. My gf
64. The friends I have here
65. Getting post is so exciting
66. Macdonals deliver 24hours a day
67. Everything can be delivered to my apartment
68. Monkeys
69. Elephants
70. Tigers
71. Stepping off the plane in Bali knowing you are 15 mins from your first beer sat by the sea
72. Drivers
73. The company I work for
74. You can take beautiful Photos
75. Wondering what will happen next
76. Bromo
77. Borbordour
78. The British owned it at one point for a few years
79. Free Premier league footy
80. People know less about sport than me
81. Going into Underwear shops with my GF and seeing the stares from the other women
82. Being called handsome!
83. The strange western people I meet and cant ever forget
84. Pirate DVDs
85. Cheap t-shirts
86. HP sauce
87. Ice cream
88. A&W
89. Living without debts
90. People open doors and salute you
91. You can rent a house or apartment for a year for the same price you would pay a month in the UK
92. Lots of different cultures
93. 15000 islands to visit
94. Next to Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore
95. The smells
96. Indonesian food is good
97. Chinese food is great
98. Everyone wants to feed you
99. Drive through starbucks
100. Not being in England

Things I have learnt about Indonesia

Just some information about Indonesia to amuse you

1. Hot water is a luxury.
2. Vacumn Cleaners are a brand new concept
3. Mercedes are considered to be impressive
4. You can buy monkeys at traffic lights
5. Soap works hard here
6. When it rains streets get dirtier
7. No wasps just big black killing things that fly about
8. You shop  in PJ's with fluffy bunnies printed on them and slippers at 5pm and no one minds
9. If a customer service dept rings you and does not like what they hear, they hang up
10. Everything contains extra vitamins
11. Its normal for a family of 5 to ride together on 1 bike
12. Helmets are considered bad for your image
13. A trye is never worn out or thrown away unless it falls off the wheel
14. It's ok for container trucks to have racing slicks
15. Trucks simply overturn
16. Ice Cream does not like to melt
17. Cheese slices does not melt in heat either just chars
18. Everything can be recycled
19. After seeing rats here you would not want one as a pet
20. Swimming fully clothed is ok and culturally correct
21. Having more than 2 phones is ok
22. Once driving in Jakarta you will never complain about traffic again
23. It takes 10 minutes of rain to bring the city to a stop and 1 meter floods
24. You can only buy white rice here
25. You can fit 85 people on a normal bus and 90 if some hang on outside it
26. In the rain traffic is slowed as everyone hides under road bridges
27. If you breakdown in a car, bus, truck, simply put a branch on from the local tree sticking out on the vehicles side and everyone knows you have broken down
28. Hazard lights are for overtaking
29. People let you drive their cars with out considering if you can actually drive
30. Its ok to hang rubbish in trees
31. Its ok to hang your washing out in trees
32. You can spit and piss on the streets but not show any affection
33. Toilet roll is still not fully understood
34. Some men grow a nail very long on one finger to help them poo
35. In the local supermarket there are often more sales reps than customers
36. No one ends a telephone call saying good bye
37. Riding a motorbike while texting and smoking is ok
38. You can drive a vehicle without lights on at night and no one worries
39. People start the day with cold rice and egg or chicken porridge
40. You go swim in a swimming pool and eat and smoke while swimming and thats ok too
41. Everything is negotiable
42. No one knows where the sewage goes as there are no pipes
43. Pouring paint, oil, milk in rivers is ok
44. The government tells you when Dengue fever will start
45. If you get flu here it knocks you out for days
46. No such thing as a cold here
47. Movies on TV have violence, sex and bad language removed but if you watch the news you can see dead people and car accidents as they happen
48. 10 year olds can have credit cards and the latest nokia phones
49. People hate global warming but have 5 airconditioners in their homes always running
50. Jakarta can have thunderstorms in 1 part of the city yet 1km away just a nice sunny day
51. Washing Machines consist of 2 legs and a heart and are called maids
52. Washing clothes in the river full or milk, paint and oil is common
53. When someone does not understand they say yes and then walk off and nothing happens
54. People do not like to say no so sometimes you have no idea what is happening
55. Buses change routes when things are quiet but no one tells the passengers
56. None of the big supermarkets have conveyor belts on their tills
57. If someone tells you dinosaurs never existed, they mean it
58. You can go to Saturday night Church services
59. Everyone  believes in a God
60. You cant find a Koran in English
61. Everyone eats rice for lunch or rice and chicken
62. Fish eyes taste nice
63. Mcdonalds serves rice but Burger King does not
64. You can get fish and chip pizza in Pizza Hut
65. Cars come with out airbags and abs and have casette decks as standard
66. With one hand you can stop traffic to cross roads
67. Riding your motorbike into ongoing traffic is encouraged
68. A filofax is called an agenda
69. Daily jobs are called job desk
70. A bottle of HP sauce costs less to buy here than it does in England
71. Cheese is a luxury item
72. Floor cleaner melts your skin
73. You can build a speedbump where ever you like and how you like
74. People pay people to force people to use buses
75. You can rent babies by the hour
76. FHM for men contains women fully clothed
77. Indoensian porn is almost impossible to find
78. Everyone has seen a ghost
79. No one believes in UFOs
80. Most people have 2 names they use
81. Its ok if people dont have a surname
82. The big rivers in the city move so slowly that the rubbish takes days to build
83. You cant fly direct to europe as the planes are not safe enough
84. It get dark and light at the same times every day
85. You can fit 5 lanes on traffic into 2 with not much fuss
86. I now know who buys all the worlds whistles
87. There at least 6 types of police man
88. Every mall shuts at 10 and opens at 10
89. You can make fires in the street in drains etc
90. Charcoal burns really slowly here
91. There are very few birds in the city
92. No spiders either
93. Everything is for sale
94. The airport is orange
95. The main railway station is lime green
96. Every shopping mall has a expo every week
97. Drinking straws are washed and reused....
98. You can buy Cigarette merchandise from shops in malls
99. Eggs can be brought individually
100. You can buy coke, sprite or hot coffee in plastic bags complete with straws 

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Strange things that I am told....

Having sat through another weird wonderful day at work full of lifes curiousities and quirks I feel compelled to write some down.
One thing I forgot to mention the other day was the fact that the mountains to the south are visible for upto 3 hours a day at the moment, either in the morning or the afternoon. The sky and clouds are not hazy and things look great. Then the pollution levels rise and bang, back to haze no view and the desire not to breath very deeply for fear of ruining what is left of my healthy lungs.
I am not saying the air is bad but when you are stuck behind a bajai which is pumping out pure black poison I can only shed a tear for my future and my lungs who I now apologise to on a frequent basis.
The mountains are simply stunning and a great backdrop to the city land scape. It actually puts things in perspective. No matter how big the city gets the mountains are simply bigger and better in every way.

So the gas main outside on Jl Tanjung Duren is a pain in the ass as it messes up the traffic flow which is not really not a mess but just flows. Now it does not. Still the sight of 30 men in a narrow trenches digging the space for the pipes is impressive and they must work hard and be very tough as the weather is not ideal to this kind of work.
On the main road out side the apartment they are building an overpass to somewhere for some reason but no-one really knows. It is not common knowledge. I will get Yovita to ask taxi man and then I will know. Simple. Thank you :)

Sometimes the logic used here is not say the best. Actually what I am saying is that I still have western thoughts and ideas about things and I do fight them off and go with Indonesian rationale but the shrugging of shoulders and well this is not western culture cant hack it somedays.
Here I am in the gym sweating and not paying attention to anything but not having a heart attack when this guy comes up to me and says. "You know my daughter", ok, now I am worried. But he then says "you teach her at EF", great. The puzzled look is not helping so I ask questions and then when he says her name and age and a few other things I say well thats great and I remember her. Just to placate and feel better. Then he says "where do you live?" and I tell him. The look on his face of pure disgust and he wanders off. What the f**k was that about. I like mediterania and its a great place. I am seriously considering if it is worth leaving here next year or bite the bullet and go to another apartment.
Getting my membership card back at the gym is also another strange event. Everyone holds onto it and smiles overly nice to me and  says thank you mister...
The guys in the bike park speak no English. Smiles and nods. Somethings a thankyou if I buy them a bag of Mentos or something when I remember. Today they start rambling on. "Hey Mister you work EF Puri..." mutter mutter something in Indonesian, then something else". I smile and say " yes thats right" and then another barrage of Indonesian so I ride off and dont look back. I guess the same people must work in the 2 places. Weird.

Ethics are as I was so reminded today important to people. I forgot living here where mothers cant leave hospital until they pay the bill and are charged daily that these things are important. Shark Fin soup ok, deforestation, ok, Tiger claws, yes please, starving children in the streets, hmm maybe but they still look well. Cynical now oh yes.
Danone Aqua is the probably the most popular brand of bottled water here. Sold in the swimming pools full. I drink it all the time and there is 1/2  a gallon of it in my apartment now. It is part of the coca cola company. I was asked today if we could stop the supply of it to the school and the teachers house on ethical grounds that Coca Cola exploit the poor and encourage poor diets etc through their image and branding. All correct and true. Hmmm. I will try. The answer as I already know is no. But it is worth the attempt and the look of confusion on my bosses face when I pose that question.
I really can only thing, isnt there something else to do other than complain about well everything but also I should understand and respect a persons personal beliefs. I do in religion and spiritual needs so why not this.

I actively think and suggest to my shocked teachers that if my shoes arent made by a childs hands then they are not well made.  Indoensia is a textile and shoe producing country and I am sure the workers are treated fairly but harshly at the same time. And with the current levels of black outs and power cuts could all be made redundant due to costs and time delays. Very Zoolander.

The rest of the week has been the slowest it possibly could so far. I am looking forward to Friday and a days holiday and maybe take Saturday as well and have 3 days off. That sounds nice. I can go to work on Saturday but will see.

I leave you with this article about buying animals from the Jakarta Globe. Fantastic.

Muslims commemorate the Idul Adha holiday by sacrificing goats and sharing the meat to feed the needy. (JG Photo)
Muslims commemorate the Idul Adha holiday by sacrificing goats and sharing the meat to feed the needy. (JG Photo)

Indonesian Muslims Surf Internet for a Sacrifice

Muslims no longer have to purchase sacrificial goats and cattle for Idul Adha in person, but can arrange for them to be delivered to their home or slaughtered in their name via the Internet.

In the days prior to Idul Adha, most Muslim families of sufficient means purchase livestock at their neighborhood mosque or at tethering stalls on the side of the road.

On the holiday itself, the majority of them bring the animals to halal slaughterhouses for butchers to sacrifice, but some others, who know how to kill animals humanely following the Koran’s edicts, take matters into their own hands.

The main purpose of the slaughter is to feed the needy, who receive portions of meat. However, it is not always easy to find a healthy animal, a halal butcher and bona fide poor people.

Aiming to simplify the process, a number of Indonesian-based halal livestock sellers have begun operating online.

Risdiyanto, 32, a physics teacher living in Central Java, established about six weeks ago, just in time for Idul Adha.

He said his family had always been in the halal cattle industry, but he worked as a teacher and simply didn’t have time to run a cattle market.

“With Internet technology you don’t have to spend a lot of money building an office or store,” Risdiyanto said.

He posts pictures of his cows on his Web site’s gallery. Prices range from Rp 7.7 million to Rp 18.3 million ($815 to $1,940). Orders are made over the phone and the transaction can be completed either by cash or bank transfer.

Risdiyanto requires a down payment of Rp 2 million and says he can deliver to any address in Bandung or Jakarta. After the initial payment has been made, the cow is transported from the family’s stockyard in Purbalingga, Central Java, to the delivery address.

Risdiyanto said it hadn’t been easy building trust among customers, most of whom had so far been friends or friends of friends. First, it’s not easy to convince people to transfer their money to someone they don’t know, he said. Second, most people prefer to see the cows in the flesh, and are generally fussy.

“For Idul Adha, most people are concerned about the appearance of the cows,” Risdiyanto said.

“Most people want plump, white cows, while it’s hard to sell black ones.”

He said people also liked to show their animals off around their neighborhoods, signifying the extent of their charity.

Mulyadi Ilham, a customer of, said he learned of the service from a friend. “I just wanted to try. It’s a very easy method of buying a cow for Idul Adha,” Mulyadi said.

Rumah Zakat Indonesia (The Indonesia House of Alms) also offers Idul Adha services at

Founded by Abu Syauqi, a cleric living in Bandung, in 1998, Rumah Zakat cans beef and goat and sells it online with the aim of distributing the meat to those in need in the poorer parts of Indonesia, such as in Sabang and Papua.

Before the sacrifice, the butcher will say a prayer and also mention the buyer’s name.

Purchasers, however, don’t get to pick animals out, and are not presented with proof of their sacrifice other than an e-mail confirmation.

A goat, priced at Rp 1 million, yields about 40 200-gram cans of meat. Cows sell for Rp 10 million and provide about 400 cans of meat for the poor.

Another option is for buyers the share the costs of a cow with seven others.

Rumah Zakat also has consultants available to talk buyers through the process via Internet messenger service.

Three sociologists from the University of Indonesia declined to comment about the practice of arranging sacrifices online, because it is considered a sensitive issue. However, Masdar F Mas’udi, the deputy chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama, said buying sacrificial livestock on the Internet should not be controversial.

“Life is changing. If it is possible to buy sacrifices indirectly with credible information, it is not a problem,” he said.

Masdar said the most important concern was whether buyers were being scammed.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

The future is not like 2012

Apparently, because the movie does not agree with Islamic faith it is said it will be banned here. How it is connected to any faith is beyond me. Anyway, seen it, enjoyed the special effects, liked the sheer drama of it all and was bored with the underlying theme of reuniting families and to be caring and sharing. It filled some time on the weekend and it was spent with Yovita and so that was great. Sadly / Luckily New Moon has yet to appear here so I can watch that in the near future. Can Wait for that!
So another week rolled by in Jakarta and really what fun. Lots of things happening in the city and the weather is definately on the turn and it is windy and rainy and stormy and cooler and in the evening rather cold.
The weather on Monday was bad. I had to get to work as there was a meeting I needed to attend (that never happened but these things do go on) and when I left the apartment it was torrential. Riding in torrential rain on a motorbike with flip flops and waterproofs and a open face helmet keeps you about 80%b but how it hurts. The rain hitting the face and mouth at 50kph is painful. Slowing down of course is not an option.
I have more private classes that I am trying to give to the other teachers to make life a little more easy and I can concentrate on the teachers rather than teaching. I have another private IELTS and also a CEO of a land selling business who is a very busy man and a kind and polite man so I am enjoying teaching that class. I do enjoy all my classes as they are all great and different. The crazy class of 6 year olds are great fun although I do have a hoarse voice at the end of the class for the shouting and screaming that i have to do to keep the kids under control. Lots of games and running around to keep them happy and keep the lessons going.

I managed to extend my life here for another year. After a lot of worry and deliberation and thinking I have accepted the contract to stay as DoS at Puri for another year. Yes it means I aint coming back to the UK any time soon but it does mean I can continue the life and the fun and the good times here and that I have an opportunity to continue travelling here and spend time living my life here. I have lots of things I want to do next  year.
The contract is fair enough with targets and bonuses and also it allows me to develop academically. I am not really in it for the money so it does not drive me that much but the lifestlye, friends and my gf are the things I enjoy the most here and thats just as important as the job. The work next year will be just as hard and challenging and I am looking forward to that and what challenges it brings me.
So thats the broadcasted news to the world. So far only 5 people know of my plans for 2010 but thats because I have not told anyone. Mind no-one has asked so there is that. Actually I never walked out from the meeting singing and clicking my heels in a Fred Astaire dance routine rather strolled out of there thinking well thats that and lets hope for a good 2010 to counter the ups and downs. I am not complacent about it more ok and lets see what I can do to become more successful and more competent at my role.

Lunch with the owner was interesting, no not the pep talk and chat about what needs to happen next but the food. Cows skin, Jack fruit and Fried chicken. Not KFC style but  just a whole fried chicken, head, feet an all. It was ok, I have been to better places with him. It was truly Javanese food and the chicken was good although I stayed away from the head.

My immediate manager has Dengue and I hope she will be ok, it leaves a huge gap at school and it shows and that as normal increases the frustration by about 100%.
Top EF news this week. What happens if we die. Asia cremates in 24 hours and if my family cant be reached I am toast. I am not sure what I want to happen in that case, however i do know I dont want to be forgotten and just a memory. Maybe I should make a will or something or give someone access to my email etc so it can be opened when I am a shadow.
Anyway, I told the teachers that one. That caused general mirth and shock. I hope I will recieve training on how to tell someone their child has died. Dont see that bit in the Job description but better i do it that anyone else (indonesian) as they can be a little tactless.
So everyone is completing emergency contact forms. Useful, especially as with the latest ferry disaster and the weather at the moment and also we will all disperse over christmas.

Speaking of which, great times are coming. Lombok is where I shall be on Christmas Day. Sun, Coconut Trees, Gin and maybe turkey but the sun, sand, gf and a few gins will help celebrate it greatly.
Our plan is fly over to bali late, stay in Kuta for 2 nights at the new Air Asia Tune Hotels (cheap and cheerful) get drunk and sunburnt, then take a ferry to Lombok on Christmas Eve, stay at Senggigi for a few days, then back to Bali and then fly back to Jakarta.
For New Year, going to check into a hotel and then hit a bar all night, which will mean me getting wasted and probably stripping again in the bar and Yovita carrying me home and then hopefully she will enjoy that bit too!!!
I know I will.

So Christmas is sorted. I am happy with that

Superman is on HBO the original. Fantastic. Twilight was on but that was rubbish.

That was my week. I had a great Italian food on Saturday before the movie and also had the chance to ride around the city but I do need to get the bike serviced..

Lets see what this week brings. Need to get back to the gym, went once again this week. I know I know but I will overcome....

I am sure that more happened this week but I cant really remember all of it. Oh yes the apartment has new doors etc to the elevators and no one is allowed in after the murders. I will report more about that later on in the week and about the traffic. Time to go and watch Christopher Reeve do his stuff.

Sunday, 15 November 2009


Since Tuesday work went crazy. There is now Overtime, students on Saturday and everything kinda fell into place all at once. Sure there are the ongoing battles of arrival times and quality of lessons but actually it felt pretty good. It did fall apart on Friday though what with heavy rain, No power and a then the school testing the power to make sure it works after the power was restored. This involved turning the power on and off. A pain in the ass.

I never made it to the gym this week as well I am suffering from a few ailments at the moment. The first is working 9am to 8pm which makes me very tired and with the weather chucking rain at me and the lack of power making me sweaty and hot gave me no interest in going running on a treadmill for 40 minutes and then through some weights about for another 20. The second was really tied up in the answer above. Tiredness. And finally, lazy disease. I am the worst person to get motivated to go to the gym. I so need to go to the gym.
So in order to combat the laziness I will be going tomorrow morning. Before school.

The weather has been exceptional in all ways. Bright sunny days, melting temperatures and then rain so hard makes the face hurt riding a motorbike. The rainy season is coming or maybe it has arrived. The storms are terrific and traffic stopping. I left on Friday at around 7pm, fed up with the heat, power and just being at work and ventured into the rain. Now my normal way home and to work is pretty much a straight line. It follows the toll way. However the toll way is slightly higher than the road and so all the rain water runs onto the road which is annoying. Knowing this and seeing the traffic I took the other way to home. Now this was probably a good move even though it took me 50 minutes to get home. The reason for that was the fact that the rain was so heavy that it was about 20cm deep in places and rising and the houses and shops were already starting to flood. The traffic was slowed down by flooded roads, The rain, sheer volume of traffic and the mini vans that stop on bends and prevent traffic for getting by. Then by the rivers there are huge excavators which are clearing the mud etc from them so the road is now only one way. Needless to say I was soaked through, My shoes have dried and shrunk and turned white with all the salt inside them. But I got home and that was the main thing. Lesson learnt, bring more shoes. Something to consider for the rest of the rainy season.
My bike also now has started not to start without being kick started which is a pain so I better get that fixed.
Not upset but frustrated as everything always seems to happen at once.

My free internet is a pain in the ass and I am lucky it is free as I cant really complain too much when it does not connect which is pretty much 50% of the time. I tried to use MSN live messenger but I have to download everything again and as I tried to do that it disconnected. 3 hours later it reconnected. Rubbish.
Anyway, I had a bill from the free internet company. Now I admit I do owe a months outstanding useage before it went to free but I did not expect a bill for something just short of a million or 4 x as much. I am in the process of sorting that out. It sounds about right for this country, as nothing is simple or made to be simple.
I will keep you informed.

Saturday was spent at work and that was ok. I managed to catch up with all that was outstanding and the class that was scheduled went well and so that was a relief for me. The CC team dont seem to be too busy but I know there is enough for me to be doing.
I then went to see Yovita at hers and the afternoon was spent sorting out her CV and a few other things. I like the area where she lives as it is so full of life, noise, people and activity.I am sure that it would drive me nuts to live there but its nice to visit.
Managed to book tickets to Bali for Christmas at a steal for 2 people. 2.7 million or £170 return with Lion Air which was about £60 cheaper than Air Asia. Now the decision is now do we hire a bike and take the ferry across to Lombok or just take a fast boat or do we just explore Bali, go to the east coast and the north east of the island to the volcanoes and lakes. I will see.
The next thing is for New Years eve and what to do. I will get a hotel room so that we are in the city and then find a bar to hold up to 2am. Then stagger out and collapse in the hotel.

I spent all day cleaning the apartment and it is nice and shiney again. It has been a really cool day here and the beer was nice and cold. I am watching 88 minutes and well its crap. Thats for sure. I need to get to the movies and watch 2012 but I am more interested in watching Paranormal Activity and not sleeping for 4 or 5 nights so that sounds fun.

A busy old week and only 4 weeks to the Christmas break. I cant wait.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

And its such a nice place to live.....

Dont have nightmares but it appears my little home is in murder central!!! News about killing etc is not often reported or I never look for it, but this is making bigger news than normal as there have been 3 murders here in the past year that I can find out about on the internet. But then there is 20 million people in the city and greater Jakarta, or 1/3 of the total population of the UK, so it sounds worse than it is.

Mediterania Apartments is a large complex of towers full of life. There are many things happening here. I am in Tower complex 2 and they are all new. From what I am told Tower 1 is full of students and young people whilst 2 seems to be more adult and young couples.

The stories about drugs etc have been told to me now I live here, no wonder the Africans are given such a wide berth.

I always lock the door.

Police optimistic in hunt for third Mediterania killer

Indah Setiawati ,  The Jakarta Post ,  Jakarta   |  Thu, 11/12/2009 9:24 PM  |  Jakarta
The police are getting closer to finding a suspect in the murder of Setianti Retno Dewi, 24, who was found dead in her bathroom in Mediterania Garden 2 Apartment building in Tanjung Duren, West Jakarta.
“We have obtained information from witnesses, which we believe will lead us to the perpetrator,” Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Boy Rafli Amar said Thursday.

He said the police had gathered information from seven witnesses, including the victim's boyfriend, identified only by initial S., a female domestic worker who was the first to find the body, and the apartment building’s security officers.

“We cannot reveal their information. We promise to reveal the case once the murderer is nabbed.”

He said the murder was likely the work of one perpetrator because the victim, who had only moved to the apartment nine days earlier, was a female who lived alone.

Boy said the police found out that the victim's three mobile phones and a handbag were missing from the apartment. He said theft could be a possible motive behind the murder, but refused to speculate further.

Setianti, a student from the Institute of Finance (STAN) and a freelance model, was only wearing underwear when she was found dead with wounds to her head, near a toilet bowl Wednesday afternoon.

Woman killed in Mediterania Apartments

Wed, 06/10/2009 1:01 PM  |  City
JAKARTA: A 30-year-old woman identified as Jovita Sagita was found dead in her 18th-floor Mediterania Apartment in Tanjung Duren, West Jakarta, Tuesday afternoon.
The police is still investigating the crime scene and has not declared the cause of death, although they suspect she was murdered after finding a 20-centimeter-long knife covered in blood in the apartment.
"We are currently questioning security guards and checking the CCTVs for any further clues," said Tanjung Duren Police chief Comr. Jhony Iskandar, Tuesday evening.
Jhony said Jovita's neighbors found her lying face down in a pool of her own blood. - JP

JAKARTA: The Jakarta Police on Saturday arrested a man and a woman on charges of killing a man in an apartment in West Jakarta.
According to a police statement released last weekend, M. Hamson Elvatri Entazero, 47, and Irma Widya Astuti, 24, were arrested in Surabaya, East Java, after police conducted a two-month investigation into the murder of Petrus Indra Tjuatja, 47.
The murder took place in late May.
The two allegedly killed Petrus by stabbing him when he was asleep in his unit on the 8th floor of the Mediterania Tower Apartments, on Jl. Gajah Mada.
The murder took place during the day, the statement said.
One of the suspects, Irma, was Petrus' girlfriend in 2005.
The police confiscated four mobile phones and Rp 210,000 (about US$23) in cash from the suspects. -- JP

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

I cant be astronaut it would never work out

No its not another of my random titles this has a more deep meaning surprisingly. The idea that I could be astronaut I don't think is all that far fetched, although the likelihood is. However, lets all pretend we could go to space for a weekend and float about and see the most stunning view and scenery in the world. Earth. Could you honestly say that you could return to normal life, cook dinner and wash the dishes straight away and settle into routine life again?
I would hope the answer is no. This is the same thing I have found returning from Thailand. I have yet got back to a normal routines at work. My desk is a mess, the files are not up together and my mind is elsewhere, mainly next year, christmas and teaching. I am currently teaching 25 hours a week which is a lot of hours out of my 45 hour week and even more fun is that 11 of those hours are overtime for me so I am earning while they are learning. However this is severely preventing me from doing what ever it is I do at work. Also the fact the electricity company keep turning off the power ( more on that later ) and I am having to be at school from 9 to 7 every day and teach 3 hour classes is draining me for now. It will change and then off we go again.

So getting back from Thailand was good. Work was surprisingly still there and not a single feather ruffled and nothing but praise for the teachers which was a relief for me. Friday was back to the wonderful world of oh I dont need this and so I why did I return. It has since died down and life is back to normal. Teachers stressing me  out and doing dumb things and the school busy and getting better all the time. It was kinda good to be back.

I have to think about my future and what I plan to do in 2010. I am not the quietest person when it comes to my plans next year. Ideally I will stay with EF as I enjoy it and it is overall a good place to work. I do have my doubts and they are not for printing but speaking and when I have my meeting to discuss next year I will discuss them.  The other thing is that I will need to consider moving out of the apartment and looking for somewhere else to live in March so I will have to start thinking about that.

Nothing else has happend at school, I did placement interviews for a telephone communications company and that was for 35 prospective students. That took all day but hopefully it will generate some business and some teaching needs and fun for my teachers. I have also been teaching IELTS which is a exam that non western people must take to work and study in Western countries and it is damm hard and I feel sorry for those that have to take it. I am currently teaching 3 hours every morning IELTS writing only and that is a reqarding but useful challenge as I am learning and the student is improving. Also I have been teaching a another student all areas to help her get to Singapore to keep studying. It has been hard work and I spend almost as long planning as I do teaching.
I am trying to get back to the gym but I am too tired come 7.30pm and so by the time I leave I just go home eat and then watch some tv before sleeping. Once I am not teaching in the morning I will be back on it. Man boobs and big belly need to shrink.
The weather is changing, it is getting hotter and then the rain falls, the thunder roars and the wind howls and then it goes back to normal. It is predicted to get worse so that is something to look forward too. I cant wait. I think the rain at night is worse than in the day as I am prepared for it in the day. Getting on the bike knowing you will be drowned by the time you get home is not the best thought. Not only the rain, but the traffic slows and they are putting a gas main into the road out side the apartment causing no end of more traffic and mess, the strange thing is that they have just resurfaced the road. This must be a global thing about resurfacing and then digging it up. Still they will have that done in a fortnight I hope so it will be all ok again.
The other issue is the power supply. With the local electric plants being serviced and a couple more breaking down West Jakarta is suffering huge power outs through the week and days. Last week it was every 2 days. Saturday was 13 hours and today was 1am to 11am.
To describe it. Hot and Sweaty and miserable. It is predicted to go on until December which is about  23 days away so only another 11 power cuts all lasting at least 7 hours long. Fantastic.
Now todays finished at 11. The power came on and the AC cut in and everyone smiled. The maintenance man turned up and switched all the power off to test the system to make sure it was ok. This went on for an hour right up to 3pm when I finally decided that I had had enough and got it all switched back on.
Thats it really for Jakarta at the moment. The crazy clerics of Bandah Aceh have now banned women from wearing trousers and jeans but I dont think that they can be stoned to death for that. There is big noise about corruption people being framed as they are doing a good job. Thats the key news here.
The internet has become decidedly worse over the past few weeks with it cutting out and disconnecting more often than connecting, like now.

So its not been the most exciting time since getting back but I am happy to be back home and at work. Always plenty of work and lots of things to do and see.

So best get to it

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Paradise Thail Style part 2

Ao Nang is a lovely or beautiful part of the world and simply stunning. The beach resort is overlooking huge rock formations that stick out of the sea and with the sea being very salty and calm a great place to float and do nothing.
That is exactly what we did for most of the day. Yovita went for a massage and I spent about 2 hours in the sea before going off for a walk down to the ends of the beach to look at well whatever. One end was boats the other end was monkeys and a brook. The weather, well hot and sunny. The sea temp relaxing. The beer was cold.
After lunch we took a walk over the side of the hill to a private beach resort which had a private quay and so after some kind words to the security guard I walked along this. It was like walking on polystyrene tied together with string. Lots of fish though and breath taking views as I was about 100m out to sea but walking about.
The rest of the afternoon was spent really drinking tea and swimming. The nights adventures involved drinking a bottle and a bit of Samsung Thai whiskey rum and then eating hot and spicy Thai noodles.
IT was a good night.
The next day was the boat trip. I like boat trips. It was a trip around 4 islands, no idea what they were called. Before this we had to book ferry tickets to Phi Phi island and at this point it turned out that the ferry got back after my flight but also my flight may be later than I had scheduled and so it left me in a bit of a quandry. At 10pm at night no one seemed to be able.
Before breakfast Yovita and I wandered through the early morning rain looking for an internet cafe and an open travel agent. On checking I had no email from Air Asia but the travel agent confirmed my flight had change. So we went along with the trip to Phi Phi.
The boat trip was great. Snorkelling off the boat, off an island, sunburn so strong it just hurt all day and great food from a seaborne bbq.
The beaches we white sand and the fish were hungry and seemed to like all foods including chicken, corn on the cob and bananas.
Yovita did her first snorkelling and whilst I dont think she will do it again she did try it and it was a good attempt.
The fish off the beach were limited but off the boat in the sea were plenty and it was great just jumping in and snorkelling for 30 mins.
The trip on the boat lasted most of the day. Sadly Yovita was ill after the 2nd island and fell asleep. Heat, fear of Tony tipping the boat and some travel sickness did not help but she survived the trip and a hot bath later she was ready to hit the town. Another night on the sauce and this time we found a hippie bar with strange drunk people and good music. Yovita danced all night, I drank a lot of alcohol and danced and then spicy noodles at 3am before sleep.
Breakfast was not appreciated at 10am thats for sure.
Starbucks beckoned andso coffee and some good thai food followed by far too much icecream left us wondering what to do. We took a tuk tuk to a traditional open market and went for a wander. Amongst the flies could be found great sea foods, meat cheap clothes and all sorts of other things. So every one was happy.
The meal that night was just the 4 of us Tony, Lotus, Yovita and I as Cathy etc had there own plans. We found all you could eat BBQ for 250 bht and happy hour buy one get one free drinks and settled down for the night. Around midnight, feeling far too full and merry we went back to the beach and let some thai lanterns off. This involved lighting a big burning lump of something, letting the lantern fill with gas and then letting it go. That was good fun.

Next day bright and breezy we got a mini bus to the port of Krabi, boarded the ferry sat down and watched the sea and flying fish go by until Phi Phi.
Phi Phi is as the post cards show. Stunning.

You arrive by ferry and are met naturally by 200 people asking if you need hotels, diving food etc. There are no vehicles in Phi Phi. The only people with motor bikes are the police. The roads are far too narrow for cars. But there are many bikes and handcarts rushing about.
A steady march to the villas and we were home for the rest of the stay.
The villas are lovely. Facing the pool, 1 minute from the bar which is directly on the sand. So great. The rooms are large and AC. However the lights in the shower room is small and makes that dark but no worries. It is a wonderful place.
Dumping our bags we went straight out to look around and find things and our where abouts. The village is a mass of streets and shops and bars and hotels and actually easy to get lost but also retrace your steps at the same time.
After about an hour ( I remember we were in search of Coffee) we found a bar with italian coffee and pasta for 120bht. So we tucked and chilled out. After back to the beach for a swim and then the bar for beer.
The evening was spent drinking and having fun and mainly getting very drunk.
We missed breakfast the next day. So we went and found some. The massage that followed was great, a few clicks for me and a chance to snore in public. The weather was still blue skies and sun and so the tan was coming on nicely.
The party that night was in the rain. Liverpool v Man U first with beer and then after a while we staggered to another bar got back on the buckets and 4 buckets later, Tony and I were roaring drunk and dancing and generally having far too much fun.
So it was time for 2am swimming in the sea. Always fun, especially when the cameras stayed at home. Swimming when drunk by a bar in Thailand with alcohol at your reach is the best.
Dont know when I got back.
No breakfast.
The rest of the stay in Phi Phi was pretty much the same really. Massage, good food and lots of beer.
The last night was great, I had too many chilis and then finished off a litre of bacardi with tony and also had 1/4 wheel of danish blue and at 2am possibly not the best thing.
Going home day always the least fun. Leaving Thailand, Phi Phi and most importantly my good friends is always hard but such is life.
Our flight was at 2pm. The ferry is to get to Krabi at 12.30. The flight from KL to JK is at 7pm. Easy
Yeah right!

Feeling like its going to be runny shit all day after, chili, cheese and bacardi, I had water and melon for breakfast. The ferry had to be late so it was. It took 2 hours instead of an1.5 hours and so I was getting unsurprisingly a little sweaty. But its ok.
We got to the pier and the taxi was waiting. A fast car took us to the airport. We checked in by 1pm so I was happy again. The toilet made me even happier. So after washing my hands and drying them, it was hugs all round and I said goodbye to Tony and Lotus (Cathy and family flew later) and we went through to international departures. Which was a bunch of chairs and a coffee kiosk. Sprite helped the belly so I was smiling again.
The flight (the only flight) from Krabi to KL is it only could be late. It was an hour late. I am not sure how to write my feelings of 'for fucks sake' but that is what I felt.
Knowing how tight the check in times were for KL I was not best pleased. I think Yovita felt some of this and  I am sorry about that.
The flight eventually took off and we landed at KL at the furthest part of the airport to immigration possible. Luckily we were sat near the front so I made Yovita run while I walked very fast across half the airport to... yes you guessed it. A full immigration lounge moving slower than a fat cat in the sun.
Queuing behind a 8 indians all with visa paperwork the clocked ticked slowly by. We needed to clear immigration, get the bags, check in and get back through immigration in about 45 mins. At 5.40pm we got through Immigration. Then rushed to the baggage got that then found the check in desk, checked in at 6.10pm. We fly at 6.50. So just made it.
Back through Immigration, quick pee and then shopping in Duty free for everything we never bothered to buy anywhere else, a bad sandwich and ice tea and our flight was called. Totally worn out from rushing about, we got on the plane and headed home.
I have completed 6 departure and arrival cards and so I am not able to write on planes with turbulence and the storm between KL and JK was a strong so nice and bumpy.
Finally we landed at JK on time and back on home turf. Strolling to immigration as there is no hurry I joined the queues. Told Yovita to stand in the Indonesian queue and I was through in 5 minutes, with even a smile and welcome from Immigration!!!
I went and got the bags and fought people off to get them. Bags sorted, Yovita arrived. Cleared immigration. Then the madness of outside at arrivals. I do arrivals when collecting new teachers and it is nothing like getting them It was total chaos. Go away is a phrase used more than once as I did not want a taxi, watch, hotel or bus ride. Just a blue bird taxi to get home
And by 9,30pm. We were home, unpacked, showered and worn out.

I can safely say that I had never needed a break from life so much as Thailand gave me and it was great to chill out with best friends in a great place and just unwind. I do enjoy Thailand and what it offers. I find time on a Thai island is so chilled, more so than an Indonesian one. Everything was and is always good.

My next adventure outside the country is a long way off I fear. It should be the UK, and home for lunch at mothers. We will see.

I do need to get a passport pdq as I am down to the last page and so that will cost and frustrate the plans for christmas. But I do need one and so that is my next random Indonesian adventure.

I am back now at work and have been for 3 days. It is full on and  so there is much to write about. Its Tuesday morning. I will write soon. Maybe Friday.

Zohan has just finished. The area in blackout and I writing this thanks to the apartments backup powersupply. Love it and hate it at the same time.

Oh and its so hot tonight as well. That dont help. See you