Sunday, 23 September 2012

Another full year

Unlike most bloggers,  I have kept writing and  have reached another milestone in my blogging life. I am into my 4th year of writing and commenting on life in Jakarta, my trips around the country and England and all in between. I have deliberately (as mentioned many times) kept away from work and the stories one could and perhaps should tell as it is all truly unbelievable, rather just focusing on everything away from there and how it feels to live here.
Since 2009 I have written about many things and it has and continues to help me deal with some of the pressures of being an Expat and so far from home. This is also my 5 year in Indonesia and I still do not have any real reason to complain about life here as I chose to come here and to stay. I have yet to feel forced to move on, go home and have never felt that. I am sure that will continue.
As I have continued my life out here, the change from working in a foreign country to living in a foreign country has become more and evident as things change. Housing, furnishing, weddings and supporting a family change everything and so it should. Disposable income is reduced as I now have bills and commitments each month. I have a staff off one now as well which is odd. The nanny looks after the house and keeps us in food and clean floors which is nice.

It is very hard to describe the life and living in another land far from what you call home andso  my blog serves as a way of describing and explaining it. I am rather lazy or forgetful when it comes to recording some things such as the traffic but I will one day that's for sure. The smells I cant describe. The litter, the mannerisms, the differences in peoples beliefs and culture. Their daily lives, how they tackle life. I wish I could sometimes as it would explain so much more.

At the end of the day, I enjoy my writing and my photos and this blog and I continue to put my energy into to help people see my life and learn a little about Indonesia.

According to nearly 40000 people have visited my blog (my visits are blocked and not recorded) and I have been visited by people from 163 different countries (as recorded by, so someone must be getting something from my writings. These numbers amaze me so much and one of my aims is to be visited by someone from every country, if only the people in Greenland wanted to come here and researched it through the internet.

Anyway, enjoy the day and always enjoy a smile.

Smiley Doughnuts from Dunking Doughnuts awesome

"A blogger is constantly looking over his shoulder, for fear that he is not being followed." - Robert Brault.

Sunday, 16 September 2012


For the 3 months the city has been sweltering with no real end in sight. Daily temperatures are around 32 degrees and in the early morning they are around 27 degrees.
This is before any humidity or anything else nature throws at you to make it feel any hotter. The air is dry and full of bad air, the sun rises as a big red ball and sets pretty much the same colour.

This image is from for Jakart and and as you can see its 32 degrees but feels like 37.  Ignore the clouds with rain signs as thats just misleading. (its not just Yowindow that  predicts rain that never comes, all the weather sites do).

Anyway this heat on a bad day makes the people worse, the driving worse, the manners worse and me far more moody and grumpy and sweaty. Making life more challenging is the fact that the ground well is starting to run dry and so the water coming out of the tap is at a trickle but it does come. So we are learning to conserve water and use it more sparingly and that is again, taking some getting used to.

There is however a permanent breeze which at times is nice and helps a little bit. So whilst it seems the rest of the world is reporting floods, tornados, typhoons, Jakarta and the majority of Indonesia is in the middle of a very dry spell. I can only hope this will begin to change later this month and in October. 

I am also missing thunder storms and the torrential rain riding home at night. I am sure though that I wont miss it for too long.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Jakarta Zoo

Finally after 5 years, I plucked up enough courage and went to the Zoo in Jakarta. Ragunan Zoo to be exact, is a sprawling park in the south of the city. Cheap to get in, easy to get to but hard to forget, sadly for all the wrong reasons.
Wikipedia has described the place as being in a 'lush tropical setting' perhaps that needs to be revised as I will explain shortly.

 The map at the entrance from the busway, up high and not easy to use

 This sign post more than helpful if you are planning to leave or visit the animals

I took the TransJakarta bus to the Zoo as there is a terminal right next to one of the 3 entrances to it and so access is very easy and simple. Paying the fee of 4000 rupiah to get in, you wonder what you will get for your money. I got exactly what I expected from an Asian zoo. Hot, sweaty, chased by mosquitoes and the chance to see the usual animals in open areas you would expect to see in any zoo anywhere. However, the one exception was the Komodo dragons which were good to see and also the Gorilla sanctuary was also nice.

This is in the zoo somewhere and so helpful

Komodos, worth going to the zoo, just to see these amazing animals

The problem I have with any zoo is the treatment of animals and the conditions in which they are living. So advertising showing bears performing tricks, monkeys on bikes, seeing fires in animal pens lit and burning away, more rubbish than in a land fill and the lack of information about the animals re-enforced my beliefs about zoo's and that Ragunan Zoo should be avoided at all costs. Taman Safari is better or perhaps just go to the rainforest, jungle or woodland north, west, east and south of Jakarta to experience animals in their real habitat.

Dancing bears, always a favourite 

There are a lot of animals in this zoo and there were many keepers trying, I guess, to make sure that the animals are well cared for and overall I would say that they are. The elephants looked relatively alert, the tigers were busy chasing each other, the monkeys were busy committing monkey business and the gorillas were in a great and well thought out part of the zoo.

Fires and more smoke in the zoo

The whole zoo is covered in random drink and food sellers, and due to this fact there is an uncontrollable amount of litter and rubbish created by this and therefore hence the need to burn the rubbish to get rid of it. I saw people jumping over walls to sell drinks and food, people were passing more food and drink over walls and despite a large police, fire and security presence, no one cares.

Setting up for the day

All the grass has gone just litter

Stalls and more stalls

The zoo is a place for people to come and sit about in and thats why it is so cheap and so popular. There are lots of quiet grassy areas for picnics and to lounge about all day and so people do take advantage of this, with hundreds of thousands of people coming over weekends and national holidays. It is a shame that they don't pay more attention to their litter and approach to seeing the animals.

Always nice to see

Inside the zoo is a primate centre, the Schmutzer Primate centre which is dedicated to the conservation and the protection of various types of monkeys and apes etc. The cost for this is 7000 per person, no bags or food, lots of rules and people stuck by them and the place is well thought out and planned and the gorillas clearly were having a great time. However, the place is a maze, and like the rest of the zoo badly laid out and signed and there were many empty cages through out. I saw one Orang utan and no chimpanzees while in there. The gorillas were hiding from the sun so they were barely visible.

Excellent idea and well funded at some point

Gorillas enjoying the day

The walkway over the Gorillas compound

Many of the attractions in the centre had been closed through neglect which was a pity as it could be really good. But then I say that a lot here in Indonesia, but that's the way it is.
I hope one day someone will update the zoo and make it world class but until then, don't go. Oh and if you do, bring your own food and drinks. Someone tried to sell me a bottle of water for 10,000 rupiah, about 4 times the asking price anywhere else.