Thursday, 24 January 2013

Moving House

Moving house is never easy however for me it was not hard. The rent was up on the place we called a house. The house which was burgled, ran out of water, was built on top of an ants nest, had water running out of the walls and was never really that great, but it was our first home and finally it was empty again as the rent was up and we had no desire to stay another year.
Back in October we put a deposit down on a house further into Mampang. It was still being built and it will be ideal for the baby which will be arriving in May. 

Unfortunately I had to work away upto Friday and so the majority of the packing was left to my wife and the maid. Also we had to pay the money to the landlady upfront before Saturday and so by the time I arrived home from the conference and we got to the bank, we were unable to transfer it electronically but took the cash instead and popped round to pay and get the keys.

After walking through our new house, we notice the roof was leaking and a few other issues which left me a little miffed but the landlady lives next door and has stated she will sort out all the problems and she is being good to her word. So we left to go back to finish the packing.
Goodbye to that

Hello to this

Saturday morning came and by 8.30am we were ready and all we needed to do was wait for the truck and the men we had hired to do the dirty work.

They arrived and 3 trips later all was moved and the old place was locked and the very unenjoyable task of unpacking began. First thing first, fridge on and beer back in! priorities. 

Then some cleaning and sort the bedroom out. After a good few hours, It was all clean, done and put away. All we needed then was Indovision to come and reinstall the TV and it was like we always had been there.

During the day, workmen were on the roof sorting that out, and they have assured me it wont leak again. It is raining hard now so its a good time to check. One of the ACs was leaking and they have fixed that, and now they need to come back and do some painting. 

Sunday saw us going Ace at Tebet Green to get some bits and pieces for the house. So we choose the furniture and other things we needed. We asked for delivery and they said Wednesday at the earliest. They then asked us if we were member and we said no and so they said no to delivering the things we wanted to buy. After more discussion they then said that they could deliver but it would cost us 150,000 idr or 10% of the purchase and still Wednesday. After asking if I could pay with my Permata debit card and they then saying no, I left. No deal, left the things on the counter. Walked out vowing never to return.

The wife then called her neighbour who's truck we used on Saturday and got him to take us to Ace at Pejaten. This time, armed with credit cards and a truck we bought more there than we would have and had no issues with service or anything and was done within an hour. The cost of the truck was 2 pizzas for him and his family. A far nicer delivery charge.

So now we have more furniture and the place is coming together nicely.
The balcony, my favourite place

Tuesday we woke at 4am to the notion that there was a power cut only to find it was just our house which had no power. After 8am we spoke to the landlady who told us the house used Pulsa top up for electricity so off we went to buy some and then typed in the code in the meter and the lights came on and the water ran. Now that we know, we can budget the electricity and spend our time sat in the dark saving money. 

And finally, Indovision came and erected the satellite dish and we have HBO and rubbish TV again. Joy. 

So its taken a week and few stresses to get in and settled but we are. It is a lovely house with a great view, big rooms and space to put things. It is modern and new. It has big gates at the front and is in a far safer area than the last house.  There is a Padang restaurant around the corner and a coconut store opposite as well as everything else within walking distance including an ATM so it is better located. Taxis will have to be booked  but at least they will come. The local mosque does scream a bit during call to prayer but it cant be heard in the bedroom and after this long it liiving in Indonesia the call becomes more background noise than anything else.

Some panoramic views

We still have to get more things for the house and also start getting things for the baby so I guess by this time next year we will have got it all sorted. I am hoping we wont have to move again for a good couple of years. Whilst not that stressful, I can think of better things to do over a weekend. 

Trip to Anyer

Recently as part of a team building exercise all the staff from my centre at EF Puri went off to Anyer for a weekend of socialising and games and relaxing. This is the second time I have been to the west coast of Java and it was a nice break from Jakarta.

We set off in a big rain storm and passed through the countryside of Java which is mainly fields and trees and small villages with big industries in the distance and by 4pm we were somewhere near the coast.

Anyer is close to Jakarta and it is a popular get away from the city and only 3 hours from the city. You take the toll to Cilegon and then head off the toll past the huge industrial plants of Kracatau steelworks and then over a bumpy road you eventually start seeing hotels, villas,beaches and the sea.
The coast line is not really that amazing as the beaches are small and the sea is wild but the sea is reasonably clean and on a clear day you can see the islands where Kracatau (Kracatao volcano) used to be and where the new island is forming deep in the Sunda Straits. You can also see the tip of Sumatra as well.

The trip to Anyer was pretty much an uneventful affair as the bus hurtled along the toll way. We did pass some flooded fields and went through some very heavy rain but that was pretty much it. We stopped at some Indomart for a toilet break and some snacks and then headed off to the beach resort that is Bulakan Beach.

We arrived there at 5.30pm and once the rooms were sorted out (29 of us into 4 rooms) time was our own until 7.30pm when we were to eat. So, we all wandered about taking photos and chatting.
After dinner, the need for some beer took over and so a few of us wandered off out of the resort to find some. We were shown to a small hut that sold stuff. It took a while to find as there was a power cut and so the whole place was pitch black. The small hut did indeed sell beer but at 23,000 for a can of Anker we decided to search elsewhere.
This is where I slept
This is involved a 2km wander down a pitch black pot holed road in the middle of nowhere dodging the holes in the road, cars, motorbikes, motorbikes with no lights and trucks carry huge excavators and stuff. Eventually a small bus trundled past and stopped a little further down the road. The driver locked rather stunned when 3 western men climbed on from nowhere and then got off again 600 metres later as we had found an Indomart and so happy once more. It did not sell beer.
At the end of the pier

The whole pier

The beach

Views of the beaches and coast

night time lights

waiting to eat

Leaving there armed with coke and more snacks we walked back in the relative safety of random lights as the power had been restored and once we eventually got back to the resort, went and sat in on pier refusing offers of durian from the locals there.
Around 9.30pm, there was another power out and then it decided to start raining. Not just a little drizzle but a full on storm. So in the dark, with the waves crashing below, the rain belting down and the thunder crashing  over head we stayed on the pier for over an hour because we could not see the way back, and wind, rain and waves made it a little more impossible to do so. Once the rain had died down however we were treated to an amazing lightning storm which was very impressive. We eventually got to the villa at 11.30pm.

The next morning the storms had waned and blue skies started breaking through. I wandered about taking photos before breakfast and then after breakfast we had some team building games which were, er, fun.

It was quite nice once the sun started shining

The best bit was when the boss instructed everyone must swim in the sea and no-one was exempt. Throwing in the admin staff into the sea was very satisfying, although I did apologise for getting her veil wet but she seemed not to mind and swam off!

The swimming and larking about lasted for a few hours and with the sun out and the air clear, sunburn hit a few of us.
Finally blue skies

Teachers and staff

Where we stayed

Once we had all showered and sorted ourselves out, we ate in the restaurant opposite the hotel and then clambered back on the bus for the return trip home, which like the trip to Anyer was rain filled and quick.

It was a good weekend away from the noise and chaos of the city and a fun time was had by all. Next year I think we will go to Puncak.

For more information about the place we stayed go here:

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Flooding 2013

When I arrived in 2007 into Indonesia, the city of Jakarta suffered its worst flooding for 5 years with some parts of the city 4 meters deep in river, sea and sewage water. Living in the west of the city near the airport made it near impossible to get into the city however also being new to the city I knew very little of it anyway, Jaksa, Senayan, Grogol and that was about it. So yes the floods were a disaster but never really affected me.

Due to its geographical location, Jakarta has basically been built on marsh and swamp or reclaimed land from the sea. There are 13 rivers which pour through the city all being fed from the hills and mountains in Puncak, through the over populated city of Bogor then into the urban sprawl of Greater Jakarta, through the city and then into the sea. However with the urbanisation of flood plain, river banks, lack of planning, drainage, control, rules, care etc this has meant that the city now floods into a great big mess resulting financial and personal loss and the further disruptment of already disrupted people.

However, like 2007, this year I missed the majority of the flooding because happily enough as the rain was coming down in buckets I was heading to the hills and a conference in Bogor so, all I got to see was the new paper reports and pictures and the wife telling me the roof was leaking in the house.

For many alas, it has not been so simple. The city to the west (where I used to live) is still under water as it is in the north.

The map below gives a good idea of the size of the floods, use the zoom key to explore it better

Some one once told me it was wise to live on a hill, not at the very bottom but on a hill nevertheless as you will never experience flooding. And so I have always done that. Saturday I moved house and I moved again to a street on a decline into a small river so there is no chance of flooding, plus my drive or car port at its very highest is at least 80cm higher than road.

The floods here have been terrible for rich and poor and I do feel sorry for almost everyone, except this perso below n in his car. A roller here can cost over a $1 million USD more than 95% of all Indonesians will earn in their entire lives, so driving it through the floods and then getting stuck, what were you thinking?serves you right. The driver even had a policeman to help get him out of trouble.

These people above however show how the rest of the affected had to deal with getting to safety. I am sure the girl is being helped by an emergency rescuer. Good for you. And I hope they get the help they need. 

That said. Since I have arrived back in the city on Friday, the trains have begun to run again, the Transjakarta busway is running almost normally with the exception of a couple of routes and where I am the city is hot and dry. I hope the last few days is the only very bad rain the city gets. But as it has not stopped raining in Puncak behind Bogor for over a week, the rivers will continue to be full and the chances of it all going away are limited for the next few days to say the least.

Some links:

Thursday, 10 January 2013


Well 2013 is now in full swing and everything returns to the status quo it was before Christmas and the New Year Period. For me, that meant sobering up from a most fantastic New Year out in West Jakarta, stood in the rain, wearing 3 sizes too small flip flops, drunk, listening to bizarre Dangdut and watching the local police and security guards dance while the women look on probably bored but somewhat amused.
The city shut down its major road and 200,000 people trampled all the plants and left lots of litter and had a thoroughly good time seeing 2013 in.

Jakarta celebrating 2013

My head hurt thats for sure. Burger King saved the day....

A day later and its back to work and off we go again. 8 days in and sadly the celebrations and holidays are fading fast and all is left is the Christmas chocolate and some beers in the fridge and they are going fast.

The plans for the year so far look like this:

January I am off to Carita with my colleagues and also Bogor for a conference. I should also be in Singapore for a day all being well. I also move house
March, we are off to Bali if the doctor says yes.
May I will be a Father and the nappy days begin....

Actually I have done nothing since New Years day apart from working and it all gets a bit busier for me outside after this weekend. I am looking forward to that.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

NYE in England

Mr Lukey has asked me to guest write for his blog again, and I'm thrilled and happy to do so :0)

It is a big honour to be asked not once, but twice to do this for anyone, not least as he has taken so much time and effort to make this a page worth reading as well as a valuable resource for anyone wanting to know how to travel painlessly and in comfort in Indonesia.

I have a small confession though, my brief was to write about Christmas in Blighty and put up some nice pictures; this I cannot do as I wasn't really paying much attention last week and didn't get my camera out. Sorry.

I can make a few notes about New Years though. I moved from London to Bristol in the UK a few weeks ago to be with my partner Mr ChrisP. From the short amount of time that I've spent here, I've discovered not a lot and, as such, wasn't holding out for a particularly exciting NYE. I did find a nice looking event at a place called the Southbank which was offering Swing Dance, some circus stuff and a Ska band; so off we went.

Turned out to be a lovely village hall kind of set up with a bar and a buffet; people of around our age group who wanted to have a nice night out and not get drunk and pass out in the middle of the M32 motorway by 8pm after glassing some random dog walker. Actually having fun things to do and interesting things to watch made for a decent distraction from ourselves and the wine list too.

The Aerial Silks lady:

Mr ChrisP has a very good habit of folding lots of little bits of paper into various animals and then leaving his trail of creative litter where ever we go.

The couple who shared our table ended up having an instructional session with him; this later escalated to balloon modelling (yes, we came with our usual bag of circus tricks), but for some reason I didn't make a record of the plethora of balloon dogs that came next.

The Ska Band was very good too, more melodic than shouty so kinder on the ears than other groups I've heard recently :0)

I drove us home at midnight, as once we had finished singing Alde Lasagna, some pissed bloke had decided to start smashing a chair into the floor and the back of Mr ChrisP's legs and break beer glasses at the same time.
I've had years and years of putting up with that behaviour, time to go home now.

We woke up this morning, New Years Day 2013, to find not a cloud in the sky and decided to go out to Weston Super Mare to go see The Sea.

Tide was out, so people were out on the sand getting their trainers soaked and the wind in their hair. We opted to go on The Grand Pier on the search for a cup of tea.

Ended up doing better than that though and found a posh Tiffany Tea Room and had a fancy pants Afternoon Tea there.

Also took the opportunity to play with the new 100x zoom binoculars we'd bought in the sales, you could see the fleas on a dog's back on the island of Steep Holme across the water.

And naturally Mr ChrisP couldn't resist his dose of ARRRR for the afternoon.

New Years Resolutions? Not made any. I guess I'll try to be happy this year, concentrate on making a place for myself in the West Country and may come and visit Mr Lukey in a few months time.

Stay well world :0)

And Happy 2013 xxx