Sunday, 31 January 2010


Today is Sunday. It is 6.08pm. I am sat in my office working, well I am sat in my office. It is dark now and will rain soon.
I have been working all weekend as part of the recruitment weekend for the school. I want to go home. I need some time off.

This will be a real short blog. I might even list it.

Monday - Work
Tuesday - Same
Repeat from Wednesday to today.

Saturday night was pizza with my girlfriend as she was helping sort the AC for my apartment. Now Tuesday for Installation.

The apartment management have removed my flip flops from outside my apartment as they are not allowed there and so I have to go and collect them.

It has been hot and rainy all week.

I have not drank more than 3 beers all week and am pretty bored of red sausages while toasted tuna sarnies are in.

I had KFC for lunch today, I actually enjoyed it.

I hope I have more to write next week......

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Jakarta Airport and a few other stories

The king is dead long live the king. Now thats a thrilling way to star this weeks review of life out here. Why, well on Friday I finished my contract with EF and I start my new on Monday. What better way to spend the weekend celebrating that going to the airport twice to meet new teachers. Great.

Its been a funny week really. I have had loads to do, held meetings and discussions and have tried to remain positive throughout. The conference was a real morale boost and made me feel that there is more to do and it can be done quickly and fluidly and the teachers will support and enjoy the challenges ahead. Good.

I got the bike services free of charge as its part of the guarantee so that was good. The best thing is that some of the guys on my business class also have Jupiter MX bikes and so at least half of a lesson in the week was purely based on questions about the bike, why it wont start, why it uses too much fuel and all sorts. I was relieved to hear that I was not alone and despite the bike being quick and cool it is thirsty and a little reluctant to start in the mornings. Which is pretty much just like me!!!
My private business class was also interesting, 3 hours in a coffee shop then dinner and lots of talk about carbon trading and the killers. My student was very excited about the fact they were coming to Hong Kong next week. Notice how I said were. They cancelled. He is not a happy bunny. I dont blame him.
Lots of big rain and thunder this week and the floods have been less but the traffic has been terrible, mind I have been getting to work at different times in the day. Next week 9.30 am every day. Boo....
There are lots of weather predictions that there will be huge rains this coming week into February and the floods will really begin. I am ready. Bring it on.
My landlady delivered an AC unit and fan minus remote control (nothing ever is 100%) on Friday and then the fitters said they cant fit it as the electric is on the wrong side. So close yet so far away. Lucky I am used to the heat and the sweat otherwise I would be annoyed!
Friday was my last day of my contract. To celebrate it I did nothing out of the ordinary just teach and prepare for 2 teachers who will start next week and teach.
So Saturday I was free man, this meant that I did not have to anything. So I volunteered to pick the teachers up. No sweat.
Yovita and I went to JCO at Central Park in the morning and ate doughnuts and surfed the internet while we waited for the driver to come and get us. Then once the rain stopped and he arrived we went off to Terminal 3 at the airport to meet the first new teacher.
T3 is a lovely terminal, bright and clean and full of the things you want. JCO! Starbucks and ATMS. Hopefully the teacher too. Having got there a tad early (which is something I always seem to do) we settled down in Starbucks for a coffee and waited.
The flight from Bail arrived 10 mins early. So that was good news and so we went and waited and waited and waited for the new guy. 40 mins later. No. No-one, so I sms my boss to let her know and then we went to the Air Asia office. In Indonesia you can telephone an international airline and they will normally tell you who is on the flight so you have a good idea that the new teacher is coming. Air Asia is normally crap with departure times, information and again in this case refusing to tell me anything. But they could confirm the flight had landed. This interestingly was totally the opposite that Air Asia help desk knew. They told my boss that the flight was still in Bali and was delayed. Fantastic. What a cock up by everyone.
Then I had a phone call from the new teacher who was waiting for me to get him, After a while I asked him where he was and what terminal he was at. 2D. Terminal 2 is internation arrivals. He had switched his flights and gone to Malaysia for a while and did tell someone in EF but they forgot to pass the message on.
Great a new teacher. We drove through Kalideres to Dann Mogot to Puri to show him a little of the city and what to expect before leaving him with other teachers.
Then I took Yovita to Outback at Ratu Plaza for something to eat. The food there is always nice but the price is getting expensive and the cost of the beer is way out of control. 40k for a beer! come one.
About 7.30 we left there and was going to go to Jacksa to play some pool but looking at the traffic I thought better of it and so got the driver to take us to the airport again. Now Saturday night traffic in Jakarta is normally terrible and with rain makes the city slow down and the cars crawl everywhere. But no,  not this night. The traffic was light and so we got to the airport with plenty of time. Then we discovered the flight form Dubai was an hour delayed so that meant it would arrive at 10.40 rather than 9.40. Great not.
Jakarta Airport is boring there is little to do and everything shuts between 9 and 10pm. Luckily the small Starbucks was open and so Yovita was happy and could have coffee to help while away the hours.
We finally met our new teacher at 11pm when I rescued him from a man trying to carry his bags. Some gentle phrases like 'go away'  and 'no get lost'  seemed to do the trick. Oh did I mention the arrival boards were wrong also and we were waiting at the wrong gate!!! Luckily someone eventually realised people were waiting at the wrong gate and told us to go to the other.
The drive back from the airport to the teachers house was great as the tolls were empty and so we got back to Puri in about 40 mins and then drove Yovita back home before getting me back. I tipped the driver and then went gome.
So 13 hours of doing stuff around the city. 5 hours at the airport 4 hours in the car and 4 hours doing other stuff.
Sunday I woke at 11.30am. I was so tired.  All I have done today is clean the apartment, sort the laundry, go shopping, eat and watch tv. Just how I like it.

I am looking forward to next week and seeing what the new teachers have to added to the school and what ideas they have. Still another long week but at the end of the day, no matter how much I will moan about it, it will be worth it.

Note to self: stop moaning..... :)

Monday, 18 January 2010

Conference in Bandung

It's been a long week and quite an adventurous one as well. I guess really the start of the week was pretty low key with just the focus on the job and doing stuff before going off to Bandung for the conference that EF Indonesia was going to hold.
So mainly work I guess. I has to do some stuff at the apartment before I left and that involved running around getting things organized.
I ordered some food from  a restaurant the stuff was delivered within 10 mins of it being ordered, I had barely got inside of the door when a man came a knocking and there it was. So busy and so hungry I guess.
I had news of 2 teachers coming to the school and that they will be arriving on the same day but at different times so I will make good use of the driver and car and spend the time getting him to drive me about the city on the pick up day. Lets hope they both turn up.
My meeting went well with the teachers and I took them through the plan for the academic side of the school for the year. It was a ok.
The workshop on classroom management also was well received and so that left me well chuffed and happy that I managed to get that right. I really dont like workshops as they get me down and leave me stressed as I dont know if the teachers enjoy it, want it or learn from it. I hope they did. I did thats for sure.

Friday was the start of the conference which meant the school was in a mess Thursday as everything needed to be completed by then as there would be no cm or dos (me) to mind the place.
I was to be picked up at Taman Anngrek at 7.30 and then driven to TJD and then take a minibus to Bandung. Now I actually live 10 mins away from both the EF at TJD and Taman Anngrek, the latter by foot.
I did argue that it would be esay for me to get a taxi to TJD and wait with the others, but like the obedient obliging person I am, I took my instructions to wait at the mall and did that.
At 7.20 I got an sms explaining the driver was late and so to be patient and wait. At 7.45 another explaining that soon someone will becoming. At 8.15, I got an sms saying no one was coming but a motorbike will come. I refused that as the roads were wet and therefore covered in shit and mud. At 8.35 I was told to get a taxi to TJD as the driver was stuck in traffic. I was insensed and totally pissed off. I had sat at TA for over an hour, woke up early to be picked up to have to wait and then do something I told everyone I would do.
When I got to TJD I had to wait another 30 mins as the traffic quite rightly was terrible.
The trip to Bandung takes about 2 - 3 hours in a bus and the route is all highway and it is a lovely run out and its up hill as Bandung is a mountain city and so its cool and fresh there.
The weather was good and the views of the mountians and hills were great.
I will one day take a train to bandung as the trip and views are stunningly beautiful, however for now that is all I can say. Also I never took any photos of the trip as the bus windows were very dirty so they would have not come out well.
I travelled with the other DoS members in the bus whilst the CM's were in the other bus.
We had to be there for midday and by 11.55 we were pulling up outside the Ardjuna Boutique hotel just outside of Jakarta.
Bandung is a different kind of city, it is smaller, full of clothes and food and build all over the hills. It cooler, wetter but the traffic is just far worse. However it is worth exploring.

The hotel is really quite nice, it is a big place rather expensive though for what it was (see link) but everyone was very friendly and polite. The rooms were ok, I was sharing in a twin and it was a good size with a big bath and shower area.
The only thing that was concerning was the amount of small steps that were around and so you had to be careful that you did not trip up or down them.
The food was excellent except the last day when the lunch was not the best and it was pretty dry style of food and for some reason there was no evening meal prepared on Saturday night so we all had to defend for ourselves.
Not being to an EF conference before which had all the DoS from the entire country (around 70) it was an eye opener and a chance to meet some extraordinary people who were just fun and full of life and love and all things teaching. Made me feel quite humble lol
The conference was great, lots of training workshops and discussions and involvment in what was happening. Also to meet new people and learn about the most amazing teaching and learning activities for this year was the best. The free beer in the hotel Friday night helped out as well.
That was pretty much it for the conference. It was lots of talking and listening. It was lots of eating and peeing as I drank lots of tea and coffee, it was lots of fun and humour and relaxing.
The trip back on Sunday was quiet and quick as the traffic due to the rain was lighter.

A sound week and a great conference which has left an impact on me and has woke some focus up and fire to go and do some good.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Transport I have used

I am beginning to like my lists as it helps me remember all the strange things I have done or places I have been too.
Here is another one.

This is a list of transport I have taken and also commanded or controlled so far in my life. * means been in but not been given the controls (except animals where I have ridden them).

  1. Pogostick
  2. Space Hopper
  3. Skateboard
  4. Roller Skates
  5. Ice Skates
  6. Bicycle
  7. Moped
  8. Motorbike
  9. Tuk Tuk *
  10. Bajaji*
  11. Bechek*
  12. Car
  13. Pick up
  14. 4x4 off roader
  15. Limo
  16. Van
  17. Mini van
  18. Minibus
  19. 3 tonne Truck
  20. Bus*
  21. Double Decker*
  22. Taxi
  23. 40 tonne truck*
  24. Digger*
  25. Bamboo Raft
  26. Rubber Dinghy
  27. Canoe
  28. Kayak
  29. Boat of all shapes and sizes
  30. Ship*
  31. Ferry*
  32. Speed Boat*
  33. River Cruiser*
  34. Yacht*
  35. Glider
  36. Light Aircraft
  37. Jet planes of all sizes* 
  38. Propeller Planes*
  39. Space Shuttle (not flown in but have sat in)
  40. Helicopter
  41. MRT *
  42. Subway or Metro*
  43. Tram*
  44. Train
  45. Steam train 
  46. Horse
  47. Elephant
  48. Camel
  49. Ox
  50. Donkey
Fantastic, see travelling is not about visiting new and exotic places its about how you get there as well. Happy days....

Alterity: Links

Alterity: Links

Monday, 11 January 2010

Hero Supermarket prices are never accurate

The title 'Hero Supermarket prices are never accurate' is also a fact. How do I know? Many reasons, the majority of them being that every time I shop in Hero Mediterania 1 Tanjung Duren I have an issue with the bill. Normally I let it go as well it aint worth the hassle but sometimes you have to complain and when it comes to beer it is a crime.
The other thing is after 16 years of working in Food Retail you get to learn when prices are not right and the deals dont work. It is shameful and anywhere else illegal.

So beware, they have offers and other prices displayed but they are not accurate.

Rights thats my complaint for the hour.

Its been a long and long week. All through this week I have been reading on Facebook about the weather in England and how everything is shut due to the snow and also reading the BBC news to find out what calamity England is facing with the worst snowfall in 30 years. Some parts of me wish to be there to see it others glad its hot. I dont really miss the cold and had I gone back to visit for a few weeks I would have been snow bound at Mums, eating her out of house and home and drinking fathers alcohol like it was going out of fashion so maybe better I am still here, sweating it out, dodging the rain and considering whether skin cancer is a possibility in this city with hot sun and pollution and no sun cream, one never knows.

Its been a frightfully long week and the first week back with lots of report to write and teaching to do and other things. Its never good to go back but the start of the week was good as the teachers were still happy from their holdiays and everything was good at work. We have a new marketing girl so thats a start. New classes next week, new private students, A school car and driver and new hope for the new year.

snow over the hills, close to my home in England

I met my private business student in Starbucks on Tuesday and that was good. I had been to Puri mall in the morning to buy a birthday card so it was strange to go back again. Only orange juice for a change but the promise of Advocado Coffee next week in Excelsio coffee bar....
My TOEFL class also finished this week. Smiles all round. Its been a long course and we are all pleased that is over.
I left the school on Tuesday and went to Yovitas to deliver her birthday card late at night, that surprised her and made her smile which was good. The rain and the traffic made the trip more fun and worth while too.

It was her 28th birthday and she spent it at work and I could not see her on her day as I was working until late and no time so that had to wait until the weekend.

I am off to a conference in Bandung with EF next week and so I have to write lots of reports, I also have a teacher looking for work elsewhere and so had to spend time writing references and taking calls for him. I hope he finds something good to keep him focused and happy. He is a good teacher and a good man.

I was told that I had a new teacher arriving on the weekend and so this means I have to go to the airport and meet and greet. The information I was given was in a manner of words wrong.
I had to go to the airport to meet a flight that never existed at 7.30 in the morning. The flight was supposed to be at 1.15pm. So I waited there for a few hours and then very fed up returned to home then went to work where I have to voice my complaints and then it was made even worse by the fact that I could not go back to the airport to meet the new teacher at 1pm as there was no car for me to take, so a local had to do it. Now I am not against that but it does not help relations with the new teacher.

So the new teacher never arrived on Friday so that meant that I had to go to the airport on Saturday. This kind of ruined all my plans as I have been looking at places to live as my lease is up and I need to find somewhere to stay. My landlady whilst lovely has decided to bump the price up and frankly, I dont think it worth it so that is why I have been looking around. At apartments and housing.

I went to work on Saturday and there was no one there but customers as there was a meeting for all staff and so I had to help sort that out. After a few hours I was looking to leave and so I got someone to find out if I was too go to the airport for the afternoon as I was meeting Yovita to look at a house fairly close to the school.
Luckily for me personally but not work wise, the name of the teacher did not appear on the flight list of names and so that meant I did not mean to have to go.
We went to look at a house close by and the house was a 2 bedroom house that was being refurbished. I had a look round and I dont know if I am spoilt by my apartment but it was not to my liking so I said thank you and left. 2010 will see me in an apartment.

From there we rode back into the city and time to buy Yovitas birthday present which was a notebook. Not one made of paper but a Lenovo one with Windows XP. It took 20 mins to buy and she was happy. Thats good. Then to eat KFC and then back to Citra Land, next to my apartment to test it out and make sure it works. It does and we are all happy.

We the got back to the apartment and then went to a property agent and asked for empty units and was offered 2. One in my tower 2 floors higher and one in the new tower Jasmine on the 28th floor. So we went to look at that and I said yes straight away. It is exactly the same as mine, give or take a few things but if I am lucky enough to get it I have a view straight over the city with nothing being built in its way. It will come with AC and is not much more expensive than this one. Why move? why not......

Fingers crossed, I hope I get it, I need to put a deposit down but I dont have that at the moment but I will very shortly.

I went to Central Park today and the opening soon signs are still there. Why? There are many places that are open but there are still many empty lots with lots of people going there to shop although it is many at Carrefour  they go.
JCO is always busy as there is no other coffee shop as Starbucks is still coming soon.
The worse thing is that they have the christmas decorations up, the christmas carols still playing and Barney is holding a christmas show there. Obviously they have not heard of the 12 days of christmas.

A long week with many events some great and some not so great. But never boring just always busy...

Thursday, 7 January 2010


Hi there

So you know, if you type in you will come to a different site, it is spam and annoying.

So please be careful when you type it in.

Thank you

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Sengiggi Lombok and back to normality (well almost)

Getting off the ferry from Bali you would think you had arrived back on Java as the first impression is that the island is exactly the same. Durian stalls, motorbikes in abundance, no westerners and no advertisements. It is quite a shock really as the island is completely different.
The ferry ride across was delightful.
We were met by a driver who put us in a mini van and then proceeded to drive headlong at speed through the Island to his office in Mataram, where everyone got out as they were going to the Gilis. We stayed in and got taken again at speed to Sengiggi.
I had a lot doubt it was going to be nice when we got there as the first impression of the island led me to believe that and on arriving to Sengiggi I was still not sure as I still had the picture of Bali and beaches in my mind. I had to remember that Bali is a hindu island and Lombok is a muslim island so the people have different perspectives on life.
Sengiggi is essentially a long stretch of bays and beaches with holiday resorts and villas all over the place, with white sands and the sea on one side and mountains and trees on the other.
We were dropped at the hotel and told to call the driver to make sure he would come back and get us and off he went.
Checking in was good as the receptionist had already given our room to someone else and so we were given another. I have no idea if the room was bigger, smaller, better or worse but the one we had was great. It was up about 50 steps and had a great view of the sea and sky and faced directly west.

the view from the room window

The place we were staying at was the Puri Bunga beach cottages and for 250,000 rupiahs a night it was lovely. Nice big bed, ac, tv, shower and a fantastic view. What more could you ask for.

the hotel

Venturing out on Christmas eve we found the ATM and then went through the art market across from the hotel and found a bar called 'the office'. The office has a great view of the beach through the boats and the sunset and so we pretty much stayed there until 11pm, eating and drinking until we staggered back.

Christmas day was simply too hot and too quiet. We had breakfast and then arranged for a bike so we could tour and travel round. We got as far as Coco Beach and returned, quite simply as it was too hot. I had sunburt head and feet and so had to get a hat and Yovita was close to having Sunstroke.
So we retreated to a bar and drank our way through the afternoon and then went back to the hotel for a little sleep.
Christmas Day dinner sadly was not Turkey as we could not find a restaurant that sold it so I had beef and potatoes and Yovita had Tuna. It was nice as the Gin went down well and I got to speak to Mum and Dad from the beach so that was good.
It was the least Christmas day I have ever experienced as there was no hint of people celebrating it or attempting too.

Boxing day was another stunningly beautiful day and red hot in the morning, cooling off in the afternoon and then turned to rain. We wandered about and took photos and ate in different places. We then returned the bike and just sat about drinking and ignoring the heat and sun. A late afternoon snooze and then the final night in Lombok.
More beer and falling over.

The next morning we were met on time by the van and got on and then left for the Ferry. Pretty uneventful for the rest of the day. We decided whilst on the ferry not to stay at the Tune hotel in Legion as the Kuta one was so bad so when we finally arrived in Kuta (8 hours later), tired, hungry and sweaty we headed to Poppies and got a room in AP Inn.
After a shower and a change we went to a restaurant, watch Avatar on the big screen and then retired for the night worn out.

The next morning a quick trip to the beach to see the dead fish and the surfers before having to check out. Our flight was at 8pm and so we had about 6 hours to waste. We managed that well by just shopping and moving from bar to bar. The only problem was that the power had been cut in Bali so there were no ATMs working and no AC. It was only when we reached the Discovery Mall that I could cool down.
I headed for the Bintang store and got some t-shirts and a hat which seemed to delight the manager so much he took a photo of me with all this stuff.

Getting back to Jakarta was nice and despite another delay with Lion Air we were home and in the apartment by 10pm. KFC is 24 hour delivery and so they soon arrived and we were full.
Yovita had to work the next day so I met her in a taxi. The reason why was that my Sony TV had died and so she was going to get it looked at and I could take hers.
Her TV works but the picture is not so good, maybe I will look at it tomorrow. The funny thing is that the TV is now working perfectly in her house!!!
The next day I did even less but I did go to the GYM!!! Yes thats right the GYM and it was hell.

We met some friends in Jacksa pool hall and played a few games before moving to a great and cheap restaurant called Yahuadas which is close by for some dinner before going home.

I did not really know what to do New Years eve as I was not sure what I wanted however we had a room booked in the Ibis in Tamrin and the plan was Aphrodites sports bar and then to Jacksa Pool Hall.
I checked in at 3pm and waited for Yovita to arrive. We met in Starbucks and then wandered back.
Aphrodites was charging 1 million rupiah a table so we sat at the bar, drank 2 for 1 beer and ate some food before getting bored around 10pm and leaving. Last year it was good, this year no atmosphere. Simply bad. I guess because the place was all tables and so no-one was standing about.
My credit card was declined for some unknown reason and despite phoning them to find out, I still had no satisfactory answer and I am still not sure. So I will wait until the statement arrives and see.
The traffic to Jaksa was building as is the norm and so it took a while but it was ok.
Jacksa Pool hall was actually rather good. We had to wait for a pool table but since the redecoration and the upmarket feel and the fact that 5 heineken beers were just 75,000 I was more than in the mood to see the new year in.
12 bottles later and lot of horn blowing (we were given free horns and hats), 2009 left and 2010 arrived.

By 2am I was wrecked and so we left and staggered to the hotel. After being told off by people for the noise I made and by my mum who I managed to call and I think Jon rang as well and said I have an American accent I passed out, woke up, threw up, passed out until midday.

I spent the rest of the day led on my bed at my place watching TV.

The evening I went to see some friends and had a rather polite evening eating and talking with adults (not teachers but real people who were visiting the country) and so that made a change.

I spent most of Saturday in a lovely restaurant bar called Indo Chine in FX which has simply stunning  views of the city, so much so I never took any photos but then it was raining so they would not have come out. A few beers with some other DoS's to welcome the new year in and then back to the apartment to rest and think about the weeks to come.

My christmas break has come to an end and I have been rather busy, am now rather broke but still it has been a great 2 weeks. I start back at the mill (work) on Monday. I may venture to the gym also.

I dont mind going back to work, I am looking forward to it. Lets see what happens....