Sunday, 25 November 2012

Permata Bank

After the debacle I had with BCA and the problems banking with them, I moved all including my salary to Permata Bank and have been happy with them for a few years now.
I have managed without the wife to set up Internet banking, and mobile banking. I can pay all my bills, credit cards etc from home and transfers to here and there have never been easier.

So when a Bank Mandiri ATM swallowed my Permata ATM card, you could imagine how annoyed I was. Well actually, no I was not. I calmly went to Starbucks, grabbed a coffee and then went online and moved all my money to BCA so that I still had access to it. My plan was then to go the bank branch the next day and get a new one.

Things went slightly wrong from there. I had my card swallowed on a national holiday which fell on a Thursday and so the Friday was a holiday for the banks so my bank was also shut.

I did phone the customer service line to tell them my card had gone but they wanted me to input my 16 digit card number, which was pretty useless as I did not know it. So I hung up.

I got through the weekend no worries and could not get to the bank on the Monday due to work so I ventured in on the Tuesday.
After about 10 minutes with the customer service man, I got a new card, signed loads of forms and got a voucher for half price doughnuts in JCO, how good is that?  Easy.

So going on line to check my accounts, I could log on but I had no visible account balances showing and that was the same for my mobile banking.

Frustrated with this, I returned to the bank to be met by an over enthusiastic customer service man who kept asking for my passport because he had missed that bit in his paperwork and so, I guess was in trouble. I explained that sure no problems but why could I not use my online banking or mobile banking. He happily told me (since I asked) that because I had a new card which was issued because of the last one being 'lost' the passwords etc were frozen for my mobile and online services. Not wanting to sound too pissed off that he never told me that the first time we met, I told him, that I had no desire to speak to a some one on the phone to get my accounts reactivated as it took me 2 hours the last time and it was just the worst experience. I then told him, if he sorted it out there and then I would bring my passport the following day so he could copy the pages he needed.

He agreed and within 20 minutes all was back in order and after the usual 2 hour system date waiting time I was back on line.

He was a happy chap as the next day, he got the pages from the passport that he needed.

So all in all well done to Permata, they are pretty good really and all the above was done in English. I have also almost forgiven them for the lies they told me about a bank loan where the branch said yes no problem and the call center said no and it will always be no as you are a western foreigner type.

The only downside with Permata I guess is that they dont have the network of ATMS like Mandiri or BCA and alot of the machines they have dispense 100,000 notes. Which is very unhelpful. Other than that I think that they are the best bank for simple banking in Indonesia. But thats just me.


One things for sure, it is now the rainy season and it has hit the city with a loud bang. My desire for rain and  coolers days seems to be have been achieved and so now its almost certain that should I see black clouds in the distance, then it is raining and always heading towards me.
So what does that mean?

It means:

1. No taxis available once it starts to rain
2. Underpasses full of motorbikes parked as the riders have no wet weather gear
3. My bike is dirtier than normal
4. It now takes a little longer to get home
5. The pot holes have returned
6. The newspapers show pictures of children swimming amongst their homes
7. Everyone gets home an hour or more later
8. All my plants are growing
9. I get wet riding home every night
10. I can see the mountains now and again.

Riding across the city, I see all things weird and wonderful and lots of repaving of  existing roads and bus lanes causing even more traffic than normal.
I have to go from Puri to Pasar Baru twice a week in the morning and it can take anywhere from 35 minutes to 2 hours depending on the weather, the traffic, the police involvment (if any) and so one never knows how long it will take. Getting back normally takes just over the hour. On Wednesday however due to a broken down bus blocking a junction onto a bridge, it took 2.5 hours to go the final 800m as we had to go the very long way round and for the rest of the day the traffic backed up so so badly that there were queues stretching at least 10km in every direction with students telling me it was taking them over 2 hours to go 20 minutes.
I think this is caused mainly by the lack of police presence and action as no-one knows why the roads are blocked and therefore they think they can beat the traffic by overtaking to get to the front, however when everyone does that then no-one can move. If the police just could appear and close the roads and divert traffic then I am sure the mess and the time it takes to solve the mess could be reduced in half the time, but no.
This meant that outside my school which is a 2 way fairly busy road, a 4 lane tangled mess of traffic appeared and no one was going anywhere soon. The lack of control by the riders and drivers was quite unbelievable.

Still that is Jakarta and the way the traffic works. By the time I left for home, the chaos was still in full swing but I could head away from it quickly enough.

To add more misery to that situation, it was raining.

Those photos were taken at 7pm outside my school and yep, whilst they are not that clear, they do highlight the craziness of it all.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

City Tour of Jakarta

Took out my new teachers for a trip round the city on the weekend and as the map below shows we visited a fair few places.

For those people that say there is nothing to see in Jakarta as it is all concrete and traffic, I say look again.

Every time I have a new teacher join the team at my center, I take them on a Sunday morning joyride across the city to help them settle into Jakarta and to help them see not only how big and varied it is but also that there is more to Jakarta than the malls, Jaksa and Kemang and that with a little bit or rather a big bit of will power there is a lot to be seen here.

My teachers started off in Puri in the west and then headed to my house in Mampang. From there we went to the National Heros cemetary in Kali Bata. We refused to go in as they wanted to charge us (despite it being free) as we were 'bule' and had cameras so we took a quick look from the outside and got back into the car and off we went.

The Cemetary at Kali Bata
Looking into the many towers at Rasuna
from Epicentrum

Next stop was the Epicentrum Walk at Rasuna for coffee and cakes and a little bit of shopping. From there we headed into Menteng for a glimpse of the old colonial housing and then to the Isitqlal Mosque and the Cathedral before zooming past the presidents palace, the American Embassy and the Monas.

The Monas
The Cathedral
Not a recent photo but its still like that
today at Sudirman

Istiqlal Mosque

We never got out here as it was raining so we just stared out the window just like tourists. Moving north, we joined the traffic at Harmoni and then into Glodok to skirt around Kota Tua and Kota Stasion for the trains and headed into Sunda Kelapa passing the old fish market, the obelisk for the location of the British fort and then into Sunda Kelapa harbour to see the old boats.

The Railway Station at Kota Tua
One of the museums at Kota Tua

One of the many boats at Sunda Kelapa

After being hit by a truck reversing, we carried on to Batavia Marina for refreshments but they had a private function so we went to Ya Udhas bistro near Jalan Jaksa instead and then headed into Thamrin before I got out and did some shopping in Hero while the rest went back to Puri.

The trip took about 5 hours but it was worth it. There is an awful lot to see here if you are patient enough and had we stopped and got out at all these places it would have taken all day and into the night.

View Larger Map

So here are the letters;

A= Puri, B= Mampang, C= Heros Cemetary, D= Epicentrum, E= Menteng, F= Istiqlal Mosque and Cathedral, G= Monas, H= USA Embassy, I = Harmoni, J = Glodok, K = Kota Tua, L = Sunda Kelpa Harbour, M = Marina Batavia, N = Ya Udahs Bistro, O = Sarinah and P = Puri Indah

If you click on the map you will see the route more complete and more detailed.

There is so much still to explore through out the city and it will take me forever to really look around it. But I will keep going.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Man Utd Jakarta

First things first, I am not, nor never have been a supporter of Manchester United Football club and nor will I be. I am not the worlds most football fan and but I do enjoying watching matches and do follow West Ham closely enough to know their league position and last result. I also will watch England play if it is on TV at a time earlier than 4am.

So imagine my good luck/ ill fortune to stagger from Aphrodites on Saturday after enjoying their buy one get one happy hour lagers to get cheesecakes from Starbucks into Epicentrum to be met by pretty much every single person wearing a Man Utd football shirt, hearing 1980's songs about the said team winning the cup at Wembley and seeing huge banners everywhere.

Also thanks to Bank Danamon, Andy Cole (I mentioned on Facebook Ashley Cole) was there also to cheer the crowd on.

All the fans (?) were Indonesian and they all seemed to be in good spirits with lots of singing and chanting. I am also sure the whole mall did well because every cafe, shop, restaurant and bar was full.

Happily for me all I needed to do was buy cheese cake, go to the Farmers Market underneath for a few bits and then go home and not follow the match.  They do say there are more followers of Manchester United outside of England than there are in. And with the amount of money being thrown at this event, the club must be happy.

Quiet times

Ah Sunday in the city. Quiet and stress free. Laundry day. Shopping day and not much else day. It used to be drinking all day as well day but I because I have a full schedule on the Monday with a 5am start, that bit has changed, and moved to the Saturday !

So what to do on a Sunday morning? Well if you have the energy, there is the car free event on Sudirman and the chance to cycle or walk in relative peace in that part of the city. Or stay in bed. For me, it is still one of finding a chilled out quiet coffee shop and breakfasting until the afternoon. Reading, relaxing, getting sugared up on sweet coffee.

Coffee Bean in Tebet (TIS)

With the wife pregnant, she has moved away from Starbucks as she has gone off the coffee which suits me down to the ground and so we now go to anywhere else. Coffee Bean is my favourite and all are nice, as long as they have the sandwiches!!!

There is I am pretty certain more to be done than lazing around but after a 60 hour week at work and 6 days of it, I really don't care about being busy or doing something that is exciting or interesting. I should take more photos, but I say that a lot. There is a lot more to see. However, there is always tomorrow.

When I was a teachers and living in the teachers house I used to do even less on a Sunday. Get up late. Stagger to a store for shopping. Home to sleep. Then out to a restaurant for food and then surf the internet until time to sleep. So not much has changed except there are two of us doing nothing. The wife is reading her way through as many novels as she can and enjoying the peace of the day and if I am not surfing the web then I too am reading.

Perhaps next week I will do something different. Perhaps