Thursday, 31 December 2009

2000 to 2009, Ten years in the making

To help make sense of my last 10 years, here is a list which will get more updated as I remember more about the past 10 years and the key things that happened to me over the last 10 years.

Instead of the usual happy new year greetings, here are some of my key moment of the past decade and 2009

2000  Moved house to Hilperton, Trowbridge
Got a new Car
Went on line
Worked in Safeway Bath
Met Susie
Met Tony
Met Neil

2001 Flew to New York for a wedding

2002 Worked in Safeway Chippenham
                Met Mark Nash, Anna and Jack, Sabrina

2003 Florida

2004 Worked in Safeway Warminster
Worked in Safeway Frome
Moved to Somerfield
Met Jon

2005 Ended my relationship after 12 long years
Sold the house, cat, etc
Moved to Susies old house
Made contact with Tony again
Maurice and Janes 50th Wedding
2006 Sold the car
Moved to Mums
Celebrated Mum and Dads wedding anniversary before leaving the country
Flew to Thailand and met and travelled with Tony
Visited Thailand 3 times, Malaysia twice, Singapore, Equcador, Galapagos, Amazon, Germany, Spain,                     Blackpool, New Zealand and met Tony, 
                Met Helen
flew to New York with Jon and celebrated the end of 2006
Got a job in Indonesia

2007 Flew to Indonesia
Started work at EF Cengkareng
Met Richard, Annika, Dagan, Stephen
Met my gf Yovita
Travelled through Java 
Flew to Thailand for a week
Flew to England for Christmas
Saw Susies 2 day old Baby Bella
Met Jon
Stayed at Tonys
Saw George and Neils baby Harrison
Saw my parents
2008 First new year in Jakarta
Second year as teacher
Visited Bali, Makassar and other places
Became senior teacher in Cengkareng
Got my first motorbike
Moved to Puri Indah as DoS
Went to Bali for Christmas

2009 Third year in Indonesia and as a DoS
Moved to an Apartment in Mediterrania at Tanjung Duren
Bali for my birthday
Flew to Thailand with Yovita to see Tony and Lotus
Bought a new motorbike
Spent Christmas on Lombok
Signed for another year (4th) with EF

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Bali, Sengiggi, Lombok - Christmas 2009

My Christmas holiday has been more than relaxing and it has been busy and quiet at the same time.

I left for Bali with Yovita on Tuesday afternoon after she finished work. She picked me up on the way and we got to the airport for 6.30pm as our flight was the last Lion Air flight to Bali for the day. We leave at 8.30 from Jakarta and get to Bali at 11.40 (time difference etc) and so that what ok. We had hotels etc booked ready.
During the day I went and got my hair cut at Puri Mall as there is a good barbers under Carrefour but it was closed and so I had something to eat and then came back. It was heavy rain all the way there and all the way back but I did not mind.
The flight to Bali was with no surprise delayed by 90 mins which meant we would get there by 1am. Waiting at the domestic airport for that long is a challenge. They provided us with food and it helped. We had to wait for the flight from Manando then we could fly.
The flight itself was ok. We got the seats next to the emergency exit and so lots of leg room. I was asked by the stewardess if I spoke Indonesian and I said no, so she never explained when or how to open the door. Lucky there was no emergency.
Landing at Bali, we had to take a shuttle bus to the arrivals and then took a taxi to the hotel. Driving through the streets at 1.30am Kuta looked deserted and probably was.
We were staying at the new Tune Hotel in Kuta which advertised itself as cheap and safe. Neither impressed me. Greeted by a miserable receptionist who looked like she did not want to be there we checked in.

For my full review of this hotel and the others I stayed in, check the link above.

In need of food and a beer I dragged Yovita out to look for something to eat. Walking around Kuta the only people we met were men on bikes asking us if we wanted a ride, drugs or girls. I like that about Bali, everyone is so helpful.
We eventually settled in a small 24hr mart which sold food and beer and the bottle opener was in a tree outside.

2 beers and a hotdog later we went back to hotel.

The 23rd of December was a hot sunny day and showed Kuta for what it is. Touristy. Wandering down to the beach I noticed 3 things. The first was that there was no one about. The second was that the beach had been changed by man. It used to be flatter and less steep to the waves but it was still Kuta beach and thirdly there was a lot of dead fish on the beach. I later read that the fish were there due to algae in the sea which poison the fish (sardines) and they wash up there. Well it is better than the plastic that normally lies about.

We hired a bike to go exploring as I have seen Kuta beach many times and headed off out of the area. I had a Honda automatic which was easy to ride but just no fun.
We ended up in Nusa Dua which is a lovely stretch of land by the sea with white sands, flat seas and full of expensive beach resorts but still simply stunning.
It was hot there and I had noticed how hot it had become. So I went off swimming and Yovita sat under a tree.

We then rode off to a place called Dream Land. Dream land is a beautiful section of beach at the end of a well looked after area full of golf links and well maintained gardens.
The beach is quite narrow but does stretch out but the most interesting and exciting part is the fact that the waves crash into the beach with a lot of energy and feriocity and even where the there are no waves the pull of the tide back out is very strong.

The beach at Dreamland was amazing and the weather was stifling hot but ok. The clouds you can see are just clouds there was no heavy rain at all around the South West of Bali that day.
Riding back to Kuta we stopped off at the Rip Curl factory outlet where lots of clothes were up to 70% off although the styles were drab there were some bargains to be had.
Kuta was so quiet and once we had showered and changed we went out to eat and drink. Yovita went and had a Creme Bath (shampoo and massage, they are nice) while I sat in a bar and drank. That was good.

The next morning we were up before 6am as we had a ferry to catch to get to Lombok. There was heavy morning rain and so while we waited we got some food and sat about. The mini van arrived to take us to the port at Pandang Bay and so we sat in the noisy speedy thing as we dashed along the coast to the harbour.
The harbour was quite nice with some shops and restaurants and we dumped out and told to wait in a restaurant which might well have been part of the deal. Still the omlette was good.
We paid 290,000 for 2 people one way and so we bought the tickets to return as well while we were there. Waiting for the ferry, the street vendors were quite aggresive and tried to get everyone to buy rice, fruit, water etc at inflated prices.
We had arrived at 8am and the ferry arrived at 9 so the vendors had a good go and like all other forms of uncontrolled transport they followed us onto the ferry and continue to hassle us until the captain or someone told them to go away.
The ferry was a roll on roll off type and it was fairly comfortable. We sat outside in the shade looking out to sea and this was quite nice for a while. The highlight of the trip was seeing the dolphins on the way.

The ferry took about 6 hours instead of the informed 4 hours, maybe because of the weight of all the trucks it carried, maybe due to the 1.5 hour wait outside the port in Lombok as there was a queue of ferried waiting to dock but took forever.
We left Bali at 9 and got to Lombok at 3.30ish and finally found the minivan to drive us to Senggigi.

It was a long trip to take but worth it as the sea was flat and the views into Lombok were great and the sun was just enough to make the skin redden slightly.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

24 Countries and Counting

According to My Stat Counter.Com I am now read in 24 countries. I am read through Google and other links and websites I spend time trying to attach to. So, what is my final aim? Well it is just to write my thoughts down and my observations and views and share them. That is pretty much it. The bonus of being read over the world is something else and that makes me proud.
Anyway. its another blazingly hot day in West Jakarta and there is no sign yet of it raining or cooling down. It has  been like that for a while and whilst on my bike I am getting a tan and its great.
Speaking of which I now have my new bike. It is a Yamaha Jupiter MX 135cl. Black with 5 spoke wheels, Gold firery gold stripes down the side and on Friday only 1 km on the clock. Nice is the word I would use. Now I have had far too much advice from many people about the bike, dont ride fast, ride fast, rev high, rev low, etc. But at the end of the day I am just riding in the traffic and coping with that. It gets to 60kph very quickly and it looks great too. I also got rid of my rocket racer and that was the best thing to happen.
So there it is. I will provide better photos but thats all I have at the moment. Like it yes.

Thursday was the last day of school and we had a team building exercise, had secret santa. I like secret santa as it allows people to buy gifts without anyone knowing who bought them. Its kinda fun. I got a photo frame. Lovely. I also said goodbye to 2 teachers who I found to be hardworking, focused and happy in their roles and it was a shame to see them go but that is the transient business of ESL teachers. But I am sure that they know how I appreciated them and the work that they did.
The rest of the day was tedious as I waited for 9pm to come and just shuffled papers. My final class cancelled so that gave me more time to complete the reports, cross the t's and do the i's before leaving.
And now I am on Christmas holiday until the 4 January. Bliss. Bali and Lombok are 2 days away. Its great.
Friday afternoon was quite busy. Went to Central Park to relax and sit about for a while. It was very busy and they had a Barney Christmas show which sadly I missed. Almost upset but well no. The mall was not really decorated inside but at night I can the lights all flashing away from the trees and lights they have. JCO was busy but we got a seat. I did enjoy watching someone walk straight into the glass door to go outside and get covered in coffee, sadly it was cold so he suffered no scarring, that would have been better.
They have a luxury car display, stretch hummers, stretch chevs, Big italian sports cars, Maseratis (are they Italian) Lotus and of course a Mini Cooper!!! Not that it really fits, however it is iconic in its own right and whilst it is german in all but the name always nice to see. What was nice however was to see a Mini 1000 bouncing around the city fantastic. No AC no tv screens mounted in the seats, just a classic mini. I do like seeing older cars as they have style and class.
We then (Yovita and I) moved on to Batavia Marina, next to Sunda Kalapa port. The reason was to say goodbye to a fellow Director of Studies from Tebet and also for all of us DoS'es to have a christmas drink and a enjoy each others company. I am sure I have mentioned it before but it is really a nice place to go and you can sit out and stare at the sea and the boats that are moored there. There was a huge boat from bali and then a party boat turned up and everyone got off it and had a meal and then the singers came out and the dancers. It was nice and to sit in the evening sun and then  the early evening with friends drinking cheap beer was great.
Saturday was riding my bike day and so I went to see Yovita and got it washed as it was dusty. The trip over to Pancoran is about 14 km and it was quiet as the holidays have started and people are leaving to take holidays. Now I am supposed to ride on the left and as I found it is almost impossible as taxis, buses and other vehicles seem to stop, pullover, not indicate and generally go slower than I want so I have to keep changing lanes. Also the holes are bigger in the left hand lane than anywhere else.
The sunset Saturday night from the Apartment was awesome. Well, not my apartment but from the corridor. The mountains to the west were visible and the sun and clouds were many colours. It was quite something. As you can see. The mountains are on the right in the top picture, and to take it I had to dangle the camera out

of the window to get these shots but it was a stunning sunset.
I dont really pay much attention to them as I cant see them but I happen to notice the tower blocks all glowing so I went and had a look.

Then we went to Citputra Mall or Citraland, whichever you prefer. Took a taxi as it is next to the apartment and 10k later we were there. Went to eat and then go for coffee.
The mall is normally really busy but it was quiet for a change.
Managed to buy a pair of 'daps' which fitted. I do like converse classics (no photos) and they were cheap so that was good.
Then sat in Starbucks and not much else really.
I did however take some photos of the Christmas decorations as I believe the malls do it better here than in the UK. I am going to take more photos next year and so this is a warmer. I never took many pics this year and I should and now I have worked out how to embedd into my blog, here is one of the christmas decorations.

Makes the mall look nice and it is an older one. I would go and look elsewhere but I cant be bothered. Next year maybe.

Looking forward now to catching the 8.50 flight to Bali on Tuesday, Yovita is all packed and I have thought about it. But then she has to work and I dont so I will pack on Tuesday.

So I doubt I will write until after Christmas, so where ever you are and what ever you are doing. Have a happy Christmas and enjoy...

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Some more strange things about life in Jakarta and Indonesia I have experienced and observed

Things that if I did in England that I do here I would surely be arrested or just locked away.

Thinking about it, there has to be lots of things that I do here now that if I did back in England I would be not

appreciated or liked or arrested or just locked up. So here are a few of them.

1. Cleaning cutlery in restaurants
2. Cleaning plates in restaurants when they bring them to you to use
3. Walking out of restaurants when you have ordered and changed your mind
4. Ignoring flies and cockroaches in the restaurant when you are eating
5. hoping the drinking straws have not been used already
6. Having ice with lager to make it cold
7. Worrying where the ice is from but knowing the chemicals in the beer will make the ice safe to drink
8. Staying that Macdonalds is actually I nice place to visit when hungry
9. Drinking warm beer cos thats the only choice
10. Enjoying pot noodles too much for breakfast
11. Thinking pasta and canned fish and saying it is a top meal
12. Eating toast and cheese slices and saying this is also a luxury meal
13. Going to Debenhams and complaining it is expensive and the clothes are nice
14. Thinking the mall is a nice place to be any day of the week
15. Spending hours in a coffee shop on your own and not worry
16. Taking cabs with borken lights and cracked windshields
17. Buying Taxi drivers food
18. Crossing a 6 lane road using your hand to stop traffic
19. Ignoring traffic police and just riding on by when they tell you to stop
20. Riding on pavements (sidewalks) in to people who dont seem to mind
21. Giving way to the left
22. Riding a motorbike through traffic into oncoming traffic and making them stop so you can get by
23. Beeping the horn cos you can
24. Carrying a weeks shopping in plastic bags on the bike
25. Paying a man 16 pence to look after your bike while you go to an atm machine
26. Paying all your monthly bills on a cash only machine while the queue reaches beyond 10
27. Having a tab in a bar and forgetting to pay
28. Finding the main road is closed for a wedding and no one is directing traffic
29. stopping a bus where ever you like and getting on while it is moving
30. Washing the apartment in cold water
31. Washing the dishes in cold water that you cant drink but you shower and clean your teeth with
32. Not sleeping under a blanket or sheet
33. Leaving your shoes outside the apartment for all to see
34. Having to write a list of dirty laundry so that the laundry assistants dont pull it out on the floor and list it

    front of anyone watching
35. Buying and eating clearly frozen, defrosted and refrozen icecream
36. Cooking with propane in the house with no adequte ventilation
37. Living in an apartment on the 23rd floor in Earthquake country
38. Waving at the locals when walking about in the mall to make them smile
39. Stepping over dead rats and frogs and saying wow look at the size of those
40. Ignoring sirens from Police and Ambulances
41. Swimming in thunder storms
42. Drinking hot coffee from a plastic bag
43. Buy live fish from a supermarket
44. Walking about with a man bag
45. Just presenting a credit card as proof of id when boarding an aircraft
46. Carrying onto an aircraft 3 pieces of luggage which should be in the hold and not caring
47. Not getting a wage slip from work as they are not important
48. Buying the latest movie in the dvd store before it has been released
49. Haggling over 50p
50. Adding chili sauce to anything
51. Wondering why a 7 year has his own Black Berry
52. Thinking having 3 maids to keep the house clean is a good idea
53. Falling asleep in the movies is a good thing
54. Eating very late at night is good for you
55. Wearing 3 layers of clothing in 90 degree heat
56. Appreciating people wearing wolly hats in 90 degree heat
57. wearing flip flops to a bar or restaurant is a good thing
58. Taking a taxi for a 100 metre journey is ok
59. Asking if the Muslims find the call to prayer too loud and asking if they could turn it down a little
60. Actually visiting a shop that sells cigarette branded clothing and thinking hmm thats niec
61. Accepting that people do genuinely think that dinosaurs are fake and that the earth was made in 7 days
62. Accepting that people think Hitler was a good guy
63. Supporting the idea that deforestation is a good thing (once you understand why)
64. Happy to eat endangered species
65. Looking out for places that will sell you roast dog
66. Thinking Cow skin, Fish stomach,Eyes, Fish Brains are good things to eat
67. Along with deep fried fish or chicken heads
68. Enjoying the positive sides of corruption and then moaning about the bad things
69. Actually believing stories about ghosts, witches, spells etc as the people that tell the stories are so so afraid     and frightened when speaking
70. Not worrying about where the sewage goes or if it damages the enviroment
71. Riding at 60mph without a helmet is cool
72. Leaving your camera and wallet with a man who sold you a beer on a beach so you can go swimming knowing that it     will be ok
73. Going to a wedding and being more noticeable than the bride and groom as you are the only westerner there
74. Meeting the bride and groom and they ask who you are
75. Kissing the bride and grooms mothers because it is tradition
76. Not bringing a gift but eating the food and taking the gift they offer you
77. Talking on your phone through the loud speaker and not worring about the noise
78. Changing your mobile number when a more luckier number comes along
79. Applying for a credit card and lying about all your details and being accepted
80. ASking for a increase in credit so you can book some flights
81. Paying a policeman to buy you a driving licence
82. Buying eggs in a plastic bag
83. Taking a boat or ferry that has no lifejackets or safety equipment
84. Working in a building with no fire alarms, extinguishers,fire exits etc
85. Thinking Purple flashes are great when you plug in electrical devices
86. Walking across a wet floor that is being cleaned and met with smiles and hellos from the cleaners
87. Not feeling uncomfortable when you are in a toilet and the attendent is watching you and smiling
88. Thinking it is normal to watch the same film on tv over and over again
89. Watching TV with no sound is ok
90. leaving rubbish in a pile outside the door knowing someone will come and collect it
91. Booking tickets to go somewhere but not return tickets as they have to booked when you get there
92. Eating food in a swimming pool
93. Happy to stand in a queue and watch other people push in front
94. Thinks 18 in a lift designed for 15 is ok even if the overload light comes on and the alarm sounds
95. Takes no issue standing on a bus with 80 other people and only worries about the wallet and phone
96. Washes hands with sanitizer and all pens etc every day
97. Accepting that you will be misdiagnosed by a Dr if you are ill and will take the medicine anyway
98. Buying prescription medication without any instructions will be good for you
99. Have a head massage and hair treatment in a ladies salon is great
100.Not having milk in your tea and thinking it is lovely...

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Postcards, Passports and Pub Quizzes

This time next week, I will be in bar drinking gin and enjoying the air and atmosphere of Bali before going to Lombok the following day. Whoop Whoop. I cant wait.
Its been a long week and there are still only a few more days left to go and then schools out and the relaxing can start.
Last week really not much happened. I started up swimming again and I have been swimming every morning for the last week and now have a strange liking to doing lengths and laps and I am now happy to swim in a drowning fashion up and down for about an hour before I need to go and eat. It is actually making me less stressed and feeling better however the flip side is that I have stopped going to the gym for now and that needs to change.
Better next year me thinks.
The main reason for the lack of evening gym sessions is work and the schedules I keep. I cant really get to the gym or have enough time if I finish after 7.30 and I have been doing that a lot.
Saturday saw me at work and I managed to catch up with most things outstanding and it was relaxing, sitting there catching up on paperwork and listening to music.

I got the computer reformatted so that I have system that actually works and does what it is supposed to and I have access to everything properly and its quick and more reliable so that was nice and it only took 2 weeks to have sorted out.

The bike is well still at the showroom and there is no sign of license plates or paperwork yet which is annoying as    the blue rocket is generally upsetting me and whilst becoming easier and simpler to use but it is also coming more unreliable. I do worry when the whole bike shakes when I apply the brakes but I am hoping that it wont be long for my new one.
Friday night I finished late after observing my teachers teach and as I went to ride away I discovered I had yet another flat tire and so off I went pushing it along and up over a road bridge much to the amusement of the locals until I found a repair shop (which there are loads and normally someone is always open).
The man took a look and the patch over over my last puncture had a hole in it and so that meant a new inner tube. He wanted 35k for that and so I called Yovita and she told me that he wanted to have my driving licence as a deposit as I only had 20k on me. So  I negoiated with him, gave him 15k and my business card and said in my best pidgeon Indonesian that I would be pay in it the morning, something which he seemed to like and then 10 minutes later it was 'goodbye mister' and off i went home.
I returned of course on Saturday morning and the man was more than happy to see me and so I paid up and that was that.

Saturday night was quiz night at Eastern Promise in the city. Eastern Promise is a kind of western style pub that has pool tables and rooms and is a haunt for expats. Sadly or luckily I live to far away to frequent it much so thats alright.
Anyway it was the Annual EF Swara Pub Quiz and so all the teachers from the schools and the DoS team and others attended. 8 rounds, too many questions, too noisy but overall good fun. The beer was nice and cold and the atmosphere was good. It lasted about 2hours and then time for some food. The good thing about EP is that its curry and pies are good and so 1 beef madras later and I am happy.  A few beers later and we left for another place called The Pub but it was empty. So I took Yovita home in a taxi but only after driving around for an hour trying to find an ATM that was open.

I phoned the British Consulate on Monday to see if my new passport was ready. Oh yes its here waiting for collection. How frightfully British and typical as I was instructed not to contact them to see if the passport was ready but rather they would contact me but that was only for the first 10 days. Still it was ready.
I had a driver to take me on Tuesday and he was to meet me at 8am. At 8am I am waiting for him and at 8.20 still waiting so I phone to find out and apparently he is in the lobby waiting. Funny really as I had been in the lobby for 20 minutes. So I go and wander around the parking lot and there he is, asleep in the car.
The journey to the consulate took an hour and a half as the traffic was intense and because of the 3 people in a car rule in the middle of the city we could not take the most direct route.
The British Consulate is not the Embassy, that is somewhere else. The consulate office is on the 19th floor of the Deutche Building opposite Plaza Indonesia. After 4 security checks on the car I got to the lobby, signed in, searched, took to the elevator, got to the 19th floor,searched, signed in, left my mobile phone with the armed guard and stepped into....
The local post office!!!!
I only wish could have taken a photo. It was like a post office counter. Glass serving hatch. Everything in English. Posters and signs about this that and the other and leaflets about the help I could get. On the wall, A clock, A TV and a picture of the Queen. Bless her. Behind the counter a lovely old muslim lady who spoke good English and was very polite.
3 more signatures and I was handed my new passport and my old one which had been clipped to show it was finished. The one is lovely. It has pictures of birds on the pages. My horrid dont smile for the camera photo and a little chip on the back carrying my data. Nice.
Now I have my passport back. Great.

My private student took me to Starbucks for our lesson and we spent the time drinking coffee and talking about the housing markets in the UK. He asked me to accompany him to Kalimantan to see what he does and where his office is (which I presume is in the Jungle). He goes tomorrow and I wished I could have gone but I have lessons and farewells to teachers which leave well. He is a consultant and sells land to investors to offset carbon omissions or something similar. Very interesting and he has to explain this to me in detail in English and he does very well.
I could do with a trip out, it would be great.

Thank you to those who have sent me parcels, packages, cards and seaside humour postcards (which I cant use at the school sorry too rude!!!!) Christmas is right around the corner and I cant wait

Motorbike rules on the change in Jakarta

 The city officals are 'cracking down' on motorbike riders amd trying to enforce safety and well maintained bikes. This is a huge step forward and sadly to use another idiom another bridge too far as the motorbike is the most common form of transport and used by rich and poor alike. 
Most bikes are well kept but there are those that dont have helmets, lights and carry a family of 4 on it. The police dont really up hold the law as they know it is almost impossible to enforce as it effects so many poeple.
However I am seeing more bikes with lights on in the day.
In time maybe people will change. But in the housing areas and slums, who can say.

With reference to information from dated 14th December 2009, please find hereunder highlights on Motorcycle User refer to Law of Traffic and Land Transportation No. 22 Year 2009 enacted as from 22nd June 2009, which may be useful for Motorcycle-Holders.

1. Lamp: For motorcycle user who does not turn on the lamp at noon shall be penalized as mention in Article 293 Para. (2) jo Article 107 Para . (2) by imprisonment for a maximum of 15 (fifteen) days and a maximum fine of Rp 100.000,- (one hundred thousand Rupiahs).

1. Lampu: Bagi sepeda motor yang tanpa menyalakan lampu pada siang hari terkena Pasal 293 ayat (2) jo Pasal 107 (2), akan dipidana dengan pidana kurungan paling lama 15 (lima belas) hari atau denda paling banyak sebesar Rp 100.000,-

2. Standard helmet: For motorcycle user who does not use helmet with qualification of Indonesia National Standard (SNI) shall be penalized as mention in Article 291 Para. (1) jo Article 106 Para . (8) by imprisonment for a maximum of 1 (one) month and a maximum fine of Rp 250.000,- (two hundred and fifty thousand Rupiahs).  
2. Helem standar: Bagi pengendara sepeda motor yang tidak menggunakan helem Standar Nasional Indonesia (SNI) terkena Pasal 291 ayat (1) jo Pasal 106 ayat (8), akan dipidana dengan pidana kurungan paling lama 1(satu) bulan atau denda paling banyak sebesar Rp 250.000,-

3. Passenger helmet: Whosoever let the passenger not use helmet shall be penalized as mention in Article 291 Para. (2) jo Article 106 Para . (8) by imprisonment for a maximum of 1 (one) month and a maximum fine of Rp 250.000,- (two hundred and fifty thousand Rupiahs).  
3. Helem penumpang: Membiarkan penumpangnya tidak mengenakan helem terkena pasal 291 ayat (2) jo Pasal 106 ayat (8), akan dipidana dengan pidana kurungan paling lama 1 (satu) bulan atau denda paling banyak sebesar Rp 250.000,-
4. Load: To carry a passenger more than one without side-carriage is prohibited and shall be penalized as mention in Article 292 jo Article 106 Para . (9) by imprisonment for a maximum of 1 (one) month and a maximum fine of Rp 250.000,- (two hundred and fifty thousand Rupiahs).  
4. Muatan: Tanpa kereta samping mengangkut penumpang lebih dari satu orang terkena Pasal 292 jo Pasal 106 ayat (9), akan dipidana dengan pidana kurungan paling lama 1 (satu) bulan atau denda paling banyak sebesar Rp 250.000,-
5. Technical conditions and properness: Everyone who does not fulfilled technical conditions and properness consisting of rear view, horn, primary lamp, brake lamp, sign lamp, or light reflection tools, speedometer, muffler, and tire’s condition shall be penalized as mention in Article 285 Para. (1) jo Article 106 Para . (3), and Article 48 Para. (2) & (3) imprisonment for a maximum of 1 (one) month and a maximum fine of Rp 250.000,- (two hundred and fifty thousand Rupiahs).  
5. Persyaratan teknis dan laik jalan: Tidak memenuhi persyaratan teknis dan laik jalan, meliputi: kaca spion, klakson, lampu utama, lampu rem, lampu penunjuk arah, atau alat pemantul cahaya, alat pengukur kecepatan, knalpot dan kedalaman alur ban terkena Pasal 285 ayat (1) jo Pasal 106 ayat (3), dan Pasal 48 ayat (2) dan ayat (3), akan dipidana dengan pidana kurungan paling lama 1(satu) bulan atau  denda paling banyak sebesar  Rp 250.000.
6. Non-motorcycle user deliberately :
- Holding on motorcycle to be pulled
- Pull any tools which is dangerous for others and/or
- Using motorcycle traffic line, instead of special line/way for non-motorcycle.
Shall be penalized as mention in Article 299 jo Article 122 letter a,b,and c by imprisonment for a maximum of 15 (fifteen) days and  maximum fine of Rp 100.000,- (one hundred thousand Rupiahs).
6. Pengendara kendaraan tidak bermotor dengan sengaja:
- Berpegangan pada kendaraan bermotor untuk ditarik
- Menarik benda-benda yang dapat membahayakan pengguna jalan lain dan atau
- Menggunakan jalur jalan kendaraan bermotor, sedangkan telah disediakan jalur jalan khusus bagi kendaraan tidak bermotor Terkena Pasal 299 jo 122 huruf (a, b, dan c), akan dipidana dengan pidana kurungan paling lama 15 (lima belas) hari atau denda paling banyak sebesar Rp 100.000,-

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Beer is good

Well we are a few more days toward 2010 and that sounds very exciting. In fact I have a lot to look forward to. Christmas, a new bike, a new year here, the excitement of travelling and the unknown for 2010.
Bali and Lombok all sorted. Next is New Years eve. I need 2 things, a hotel and enough phone credit to phone England and be drunk down the phone at midnight here and 5pm there. Fantastic....

I have been enjoying a few beers in the evening for a while and I must say it does help me sleep and it also calms the nerves a little. However that is all it does.  I have slowed down a lot from my old drinking pace and I now just have one or two and thats it. I save the big ones for a night out away from the city and where I party out at night which is good. Thailand was bit and Bali too and therefore Bali and Lombok lovely.
Also with the gym it makes no sense to drink and then work out. Apart from it being unhealthy it is also pointless. However with a change in schedule I have not really been able to hit the running machine. The rainy nights dont help either as all I want to do it go home and dry out.

Sunday was paintball day and that involved going to Tangerang by taxi and then shooting old friends in the back at close range.
I went with Rob from my school and we were joining the teachers from Cengkareng. Due to a lack of cars, we took a taxi. We were supposed to go with Steve the DoS from there but his wife is still recovering from Dengue and so he could not go. We took a Transcab and once we told him how to get to the toll it was ok. Then once we travelled down the toll to Serpong, BSD we got lost. Mainly because we took the new road and I had never been down there before. So we drove to Bintaro, turned round and then headed back to BSD. Having no pulsa and Rob getting the least amount of help from the boys from Cengkareng we finally after an hour and a half found the place. It cost over 100k to get there. Not impressed.
England vs the rest of the world (mainly the US and the office boys from Cengkareng, meant 3 vs 5) but thats ok as the odds were in our favour.
It was only 88k to play for as long as we like and then extra paintballs were 32k a bag which is great. So in combats and safety googles we locked and loaded and wandered into trees. The games simple. Stay alive. Now that could have been from the mosquitos or not from being shot. I took a direct shot to the eye but the googles saved my sight and then a few paintballs hit but did not break.
Greatest moment was getting to shoot those that had run out of paintballs and were leaving the field. So nothing better than shooting them in the back when they were walking away or the legs. Made me smile.
The bruises are always good stories and memories.
We played for about 3 hours and after being bitten 60 + times on the hands and the face gave in and went for some food before going home.
The taxi cost 56k on the way back. Getting lost is expensive!!!!
I spent a few hours talking with steve before going home.
Sunday night was a few beers and letting the aches develop.

Oh how the legs do ache. I woke at 3am with every single bite itching at once. Luckily I have magic Indonesian tea tree oil sorted that out. 2 days later and they are dying down and not itching. The fear of Dengue has not passed I am sure I will be ok.

I am still writing reports and plans for school and it is taking me a long time. That and teaching and generally running about the school has kept me busy.Still no gym. Wednesday is going to be the gym.

I went swimming this morning and that was great and so I must do more of that. 9am swim in the pool. 10am back to the apartment, cup of tea and beans on toast. Fantastic.

Completely different but really not off on a tangent. Some great news stories from the papers this week.

Firstly, there is a ghost in a village to the southwest of here that is stealing TV sets. The locals are scared of the ghost and they think it is a pocong. A Pocong is a ghost that jumps and flies. It appears when a person who is being buried and is completely wrapped in cloth happens to have the cloth unwrapped. The police think it is a person in a sheet but cant be sure. Fantastic. (Islamic/Muslim ghost)

Then there is the curious tale of a hospital that has suspended 3 women for wearing traditional muslim headscarfs despite being an Islamic state and the trouble that is brewing there.

We have been warned of predicted riots on Saturday as protesters campaign about anti corruption, so that is not the best news.

And finally (whilst there are many many more just read the globe) the new motorbike laws come into effect in January. Helmets for all. Lights on all day (flat batteries ahead then) and Keep left and drive in the badly repaired lane, full of buses, holes and other concerns.

The fines can be up to a month in Jail if caught breaking the rules. That is great but strangely no mention of buses that have no lights, no pollution controls, no manners and no safety or the cars that have no seat belts or the 3 wheeled baiji that produce black smoke and have nothing good about them. Its all fair.....

Thats why its fun here, so much to be confused, amused and bemused about!!!!!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Reflection is not only in a mirror

I great fun telling my students horror and ghost stories especially about mirrors and not to look into them at night with out the lights out. It kind of scares them. Nothing like some good old creepy stories to settle the mind. Something which I seem to endure on occasion at night. Scary, startling, dreams that totally ruin your sleep. Still thats my demons entering and leaving my mind and sorting the problems out for me, however badly they do that.
I was just thinking as I stood on the balcony looking out over the swimming pools and looking at the other blocks. I was thinking, where was I 4 years ago, 3 years ago 2, 1 year ago. And the answer came back somewhere different every year.
In 2005 I was living in Susie's cottage in Bradford on Avon. I had already told my family my desire to travel and had also started to think about doing it. Tony had sorted out stuff for me and he was planning to go out to Asia before me.I was working in Frome Somerfield and drinking far too much.
In 2006 I was sending christmas cards from Christchurch New Zealand. I was sat in Starbucks drinking coffee and writing cards.
In 2007 I was planning to fly home in a couple of weeks and was just a teacher in Cengkareng, although I had decided to stay for another year already.
In 2008 I was in Puri as Acting DoS and living in the teachers house quite unhappily as I was a the boss living with my teachers and walking or riding the bike to school.
This year I am in apartment, planning my trip to Bali and Lombok and thinking about the future and what 2010 has in store for me here.
I have already signed for next year, purchased a new motorbike, planning a break in contract holiday and looking to move out of the apartment to save cash and also live somewhere slightly cheaper and different to this. But some of these are just plans and so I need to sort them out. I do want to return to the UK for a visit and see the family as I do miss them and recently even more so. I guess agreeing to another year has made the UK distant and again and after Thailand, many great and fond memories of friends and family have come back. My friends and family in the UK I am sure feel the same but I do want to stick it out here and see what I can with my career and the options it gives me.
I will also get a new passport. I eventually got the forms and cash sent to the embassy and I have a reciept and note asking me not to contact the embassy and ask about my passport as they will contact me when they are ready. How British. How totally unhelpful! Still it should be all ok by next Saturday and my new one will be with me and that is that sorted out. Then I can leave it in the cupboard for another year or until Immigration want it again.
My rental motorbike is good. I have almost managed the clutch and only stalled it 3 times this week mainly at the parking huts when I am sorting out the tickets. It seems to go fast and the noise is far too much to hear but its ok. It is a rocket machine thats for sure but the best thing is that it has taught me to be more aware of the bike and the traffic around me as I have to consider the speed and gear I am in now.
The heavy rain today flooded huge parts of the road and so it was the first time and first test for the bike and using the clutch in deep road water. Luckily for me it passed and the apart from some wet shoes the trip was ok and the bike was fine. It either means I am not used to the bike or I am lucky. I hope the first one really.
Tomorrow I get to see my new bike as it has arrived into the show room but I cant have it yet as I have to wait for the paperwork and plates and when i do I have to ride it slowly for a few weeks to bed the engine in so that will be torturous but ok. I need to make sure it is ok so will comply...
My teaching staff has just shrunk by 2 as the 2 that are finishing at christmas have taken holiday that is outstanding and wont be back for another 7 days. Cant say I am impressed with that decision but I do support it. However it will make the teaching hours and the scheduling more tight and now every teacher in the school has over time and so will be earning and working more towards Christmas and then will carry on with that routine until replacements arrive. Which is at then end of January.
The teachers will survive and the focus for me to get them to the 17th and then they can go and travel for over the holiday.
Currently I am having to produce 2 reports. The annual report of academic achievement in 2009 and then the academic plan of things I want to achieve in 2010. It is a time consuming activity as I have produced much work and also had a lot of things change and happen this year. Also the plan for next year is such that I have to ensure I cover all the bases to allow for growth, change and the dynamics change within the teaching team and the school itself. It is a big report and takes a lot of planning. However, I can only hope someone actually challenges me about it next year as this year, nah no one did but it was an impressive plan.
I am coming down with the flu, I think the change in weather is not helping and so I have stayed away from the gym this week. It is actually torture to go and to also stay away but when I am there it is great. I will get better and then go.
Damm horrible having a cold out here, it normally quickly turns into flu and then knocks you over for a few days. I hope it goes before Bali as I dont really want a repeat of what happened last year. I dont want to be sick again on holiday as it will just upset me.

Thats my thoughts for now. Nothing really happened this week throughout the week. Just a quiet heads down, teach alot week and keep things under control. The way I like it.

I am sure that after the weekend I will have a few more stories

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.