Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Air miles and passport stamps

I'm currently in a reflective mood and I feel the urge and need to write it all out. I owe some of it to my current desire to swim in the morning before work and I must say that it is really making me feel more alert and calm for the days ahead.
I have through this blog recorded some strange and interesting events in my life and listed more random things than most people. The best thing about blogging is the fact that essentially its a personal diary shared with the world for the most part, I believe to acknowledged that we belong to something. 
For me it s a brain dump, a chance to clear some space and reduce the thinking. Like a cerebal massage.
When I travelled the world I did 3 things. 1. I took lots of flights. 2. Wrote realms and realms of events and things I did and 3. enjoyed everyday, the long ones and the ones that I quite really remember as it was a bit of a drunken haze.
I have been challenged to why I wrote so much. The answer is simple. When I am 89 I want to be able to sit back and read my journals, blog etc and remember who I was and what I did. Maybe read them to my children, although hopefully not at 89 and have my children read them to theirs as my adventures are a slice of my life. I spent too long sat waiting not doing anything before I did.

So Lets think about flights I have taken from the information in my passport. So from 2003 and I filled it up by the end of 2009, mind that was due to coming in and out and living in Indonesia as they like really big stamps!

Sept 2003 - London to Orlando with Virgin
Feb  2005 - Tunisia with Thomspon
Mar  2006 - Thailand with Thai (Bangkok onward to Chiang Mai)
April 2006 - Thailand to Singapore with Air Asia (Form Chiang Mai)
May 2006 - Thailand to England with Thai ( I took the train from Singapore to Thailand via Malaysia that's                 
                    how I got back to Thailand and well worth it, it was too!)
May 2006 -  Bristol to Malaga Spain with EasyJet
June 2006 -  London to Spain with Iberia
                    Spain to Ecuador and back the same way. (I got a Galapagos Island Passport stamp and I am          
                    forever proud of that one) still with Iberia
Aug  2006 - London to Thailand with Thai (Chiang Mai)
Sept 2006 - London to Malaysia with Malaysian Airway
                   Malaysia to Thailand with Air Asia (Chaing Mai)
                   Malaysia to London
Oct 2006 -  Luton to Bremen Germany with EastJet
Oct 2006 -  London to LA with Air New Zealand
                   LA to New Zealand with Air New Zealand
Dec 2006 - New Zealand to Hong Kong with Air New Zealand
                   Hong Kong to London with Air New Zealand
Dec 2006 - London to New York with Virgin

Jan  2007 - New York to London with Virgin
Jan  2007 - London to Abu Dhabi with Ethihad
                   Abu Dhabi to Jakarta 
Feb 2007 - Jakarta to Singapore with Phillipine Airways
Apr 2007 - Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur
                   Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok and then onto Chiang Mai, all with Air Asia
                   and back to Jakarta. That was a total of 7 stamps lol
Dec 2007 - Jakarta to London via Abu Dhabi with Ethihad
Dec 2007 - London to Singapore with SQ
                   Singapore to Jakarta with Air Asia

Jan  2008 - Jakarta to Singapore with Garuda
Feb 2008 - Jakarta to Singapore with Garuda

Oct 2009 - Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur with Air Asia
                  Kuala Lumpur to Krabi, Thailand with Air Asia and return

With all that flying it will have taken me around the world at least 3 times, travelled on an areoplane for at least 2 weeks solid and if that was all in airmiles I would be very happy!!!
Domestic or internal flights are slightly different as I never really kept any lists but I did fly twice in Ecuador, Thailand at least 10 times, In Malaysia at least 4 times, England  6 times! As for Indonesian phew, well it has to be well into double figures now.
My next long haul is going to be back to London in December and then home for Christmas before returning in the new year but I am not sure whether to fly into KL and onto either Kota Kinabaru, Krabi or Penang; Singapore and then onto Bali, Jakarta throught he Arab States then home and then straight off to Bali. The agony of choice. But I will have to come back to Jakarta as I have my job to do.
Oh I shall never be rich financially !!!  

Monday, 19 April 2010

Nothing but the weekend and then Bangka Island

The week could not really go much slower really. It seemed to drag on and on. Work was slow as in time although I had far too much to do. In fact I did more last week than I have for a while. Teaching, Workshops, reviews, meetings and helping those that needed it.
All I was hoping was Saturday was going to come quicker for a change.
My girlfriend had her purse and phone stolen on Thursday by some clever and ruthless unknowns whilst on an errand and walking through a crowded streets. That was upsetting and also concerning as she needs her phone and also her money. So I met her and she now is using mine until she can get a new one.
Luckily no cards were taken.

Also on Thursday as I had a free morning, I took the chance to get a hair cut and so rode to Puri Mall to a good barber shop. That was good. Then on return to the bike, I found that my helmet had been stolen (which seems to amuse everyone but me as I had then to buy a brand new one and whats funny about that?). so after procrastinating to the security officer I trudged off to Carrefour to buy a new helmet. They had little choice but choice none the less. The hair cut cost me 100 x more than normal as I never expected to have to get a new helmet as part of the deal.
The strangest thing about all this was once I had had my cut, the barber rubbed baby oil into my head so not only did I smell nice, I also then started to sweat feverishly as oil just blocks the pores and in 90 degree heat cant be a clever thing. Still its nice a cut!!!

I ran out of the school after my last class, throwing caution to the wind and getting out. This was after convincing my teacher who had dengue that he needed a night in hospital to make sure the insurance department paid out, I can only hope that is what will happen, as he did on Sunday night!

The weekend arrived and bang on cue my lack of sleep returned with avengence and so I spent nearly all night awake shouting at my laptop as for some unknown reason, Hotmail, FB and a couple of ither sites would not open due to DNS error. At 6am it was all ok....why???????????/


Yovita arrived at 9 and then after a quick pack check and a trip to the ATM we jumped in a taxi and off we went to the airport.
Jakarta is a great city. You leave early you arrive late, You leave early you also arrive even earlier. You leave late then you will never get anywhere! So it was no surprise that I arrived at the airport in 30 minutes flat and so that meant a longer wait in the airport.
Lion aircheck in is a mess as it is run down, noisy badly managed but the staff are helpful and quick and with 20 mins of being there we had checked in and were walking toward gate A7 for the flight to Panglpinang, Bangka Island.
It was a beautiful day and so the flight was amazing. I was lucky enough to sit by the window and so camera in hand ( sorry I dont have the photos, when I do I will post) clicked my way to Bangka. The ceiling was high, the clouds big and fluffy when there were clouds and the little islands had gold rings around them.

My photos for the trip are here., help yourself.

Once we landed we went to look for the man to drive us to the resort, Tanjung Pesona but alas there was no-one so we then went to the travel desk and Yovita got shouty and sorted it out. 30 mins later we were in a bus and on our way through north through the island to the resort.
The trip was great as the road ran through little towns and villages and then over huge bridges and also past swamps and also disused tin mines which left scars over the land.
 The resort was about 45 mins from the airport and by the time we got to the resort it was time to eat. When we got there, we discovered our driver was still waiting at the airport for us as a communication mishap stopped us from knowing that, but still we got there so who cares.
It was very quiet at the resort as it was off season, I believe we were about 2 of 8 people staying there and so it was pleasant wandering around and looking and searching for things
The resort hotel was great really even though it was devoid of people. My review is here.

We wandered down to the cafe by the sea and took lots of photos and then finally ate and also my first beer of the day. Great.

The beach at Tanjung Pesona is a mixture of golden/white sand with huge basalt rocks scattered everywhere, some look natural some looked placed but however they got there it is certainly stunning back drop and it meant that you could have your own privacy amongst the rocks should you want it. 
The sea was flat and clear and there was amost no stone on the sea bed, it was just sand and so when swimming it was great, warm water, shallow and refreshing. Just what was needed. The beaches on both side of the hotel were beautiful and empty. Swimming for me and reading for Yovita.

A thunder storm came rolling in with some rain and so we retreated to the restaurant for something else to eat and more beer and to watch the rain roll over the sea and then disappear. By then it was dark and the sunset never materialised sadly. 
The evening was spent in the room as well there was pretty much nothing else going on and so room service came and went, the food which was nice eaten and the drinks drank. 
An early night in a peaceful and relaxing place.

Sunday was up with the lark although the 9am one and so straight to the beach for us and to explore more and see more of the rocks and the views and take in the air. The day was cooler and overcast but the fact the sea was flat and the beach empty really did not matter it was idyllic and something else.

Stopping off at a shop to stock up on fish flavoured crispy things Indonesian people like we got to the airport in plenty of time. The airport was like a little shop and that's airports should be like, relaxed, no queues and smiling faces. Also 15,000 rupiah airport tax instead of the 40,000 in Jakarta was also more than welcome. The departure lounge was small and the fact the flight was late came as no surprise but 20 mins is neither here or there in the scheme of things
The flight back was ok and the view over Jakarta was nice and we came into land. Back to the crush.

No kittens in the airport on sunday. 

Getting outside was a fight as the arrival gate was crowded with everyone pushing and shoving. I had several offers of taxis and after a few 'go aways and leave me alones' and 'no, get lost, I am taking a blue bird' the men walked off. We queued for a taxi which never seemed to becoming as there were 3 lanes of nose to tail as there was no clear direction or control. 
We took an Express who got lost at Taman Anngrek and it took longer to get back than it should.

The weekend was brilliant and refreshing and I had a chance to chill by the sea and see something new and on  a different island. I could have gone to Bali but I have been there before and this was a new adventure and place. I will return thats for sure, and Belitung is next on my list of places to escape too.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

What noises to do Tigers make?

Busy week. Busy at work, busy around work (apart from today). Teachers sick. 1 with dengue and another with the bad belly syndrome. I worry but they are adults and need to make sure they do the right thing. That makes work a little more adventurous. Ultimately I worked 6 days a week. I had plans for Saturday but as the best laid plans of mice and men go oft awry. So that meant cancelling bits and pieces until I could get away.

Anyway, with another of my teachers off to Singapore to get visas and enjoy the day there, it was left me to me to go and support my school with a demonstration lesson at a local kindergarten school. So off I trudge to work early and fail miserably to convince my marketing manager to cancel and take me to starbucks where I would treat her and the driver. 9am classes are not a favourite of mine. 9am classes of 5 years are even less. I not keen on 5 year olds as I used to be one and and I am sure I was no angel.
I had 30 mins to 'teach' them some vocab and some language points. Two groups, 30 mins each and thats teh hour.
So microphone in hand, the children walked in crocodile style, said some prayers and sat and stared at me. So out comes a routine. I owe my skills to a dear old friend who I used to work with many years ago who could charm the birds from the tree and he taught me how to do the same.
A little bad indonesian and then out comes some picture flashcards and to upset the schools teachers have them make lots of noises.
'What noise to tigers make?' silence. 'arrgh' They laughed. 'Whats this?' (holding another flashcard), 'A fish '   they shout, 'what noise do they make?' . silence. 'aarrrggghhhh' 'noooooooooooooo' and so on. Pretty much this went on through the animal cards I brought, including Dolphins, Goats and Cats but the students got.
Then Heads, Shoulders Knees and Toes and some counting and 30 mins was up. Hot
The next group came in singing and that too was great. This lot was a little more quiet and so I had to work a little bit harder but we got there.

That set me up for the day and it was a really good thing for me to do and now its done, I will try and avoid any more!!!
The next day I went out again with the marketing manager to do a presentation to a school to help their teachers with English. That was good also. The presentation was held in a Biology lab so that was strange but it went well and fingers and things crossed we get the job. One can only hope.

So more 12 hour teaching days and work days for me but never mind. Its all for the greater good... the greater good.

Spent some time Blog wandering and read some great blogs. There are some very good writers and educators out there and I am following them now.

Saturday work came and went very quickly which was great. And then I took the bike to be serviced. 2 hours to wait but its ok. The service place was ok, too much noise but other than that alright. I watched firstly intrigued with how they would service my bike, then with horror as the engine was taken apart and the brakes too, and then with hope and happiness as it was all put back together again and then tested. The other great thing about the bikes is that the cost to service them is so little and with a new bike I get free servicing and so all that work for nothing as Yahama pay and so thats even better. I can now relax as the bike is in great condition and serviced and now the brakes work even better.

From there to gfs house via a taxi and wow the traffic was intense this Saturday although I could not work out why, just lots of it everywhere. We went from hers to Pasar Festival to go book hunting. After some crap KFC we found 3 bookstores, 1 full of low price indonesian books and the other 2 mixed. I bought 5 books for 100,000 which is a great deal and so I have lots to read now.
It took forever to get back home where we ordered pizza after the 14th attempt. I do love fast food weekends. Not a grain of rice in sight.

West Ham won. There is a result. 4 points clear now of the relegation zone.

With a fever coming and the flu, Sunday was spent, sleeping, watching too much tv and eating lots of fruit.

I hope its a quick dose of man flu and nothing else. I have been lucky for too long and not been sick for over a year..... I guess all things come to those who wait.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Thank you

Beautiful Blogger Award

I was nominated by Multibrand for the Beautiul Blogger award back in March and only now did I realise it. I am beyond surprised and more than delighted. Thank you.
I have tagged the link and I am passing this onto other blogs which I follow.
This is how it goes:
1. Thank the person who gave you the award
2. Paste the award on your blog
3. Link the person who nominated you for the award
4. Tell 7 interesting things about yourself
5. Nominate 7 bloggers or less
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominated.

The 7 bloggers I would like to nominate for this award are:
1. Margaret - a great personal blog
2.Multibrand - I find his blog simply awesome 
3. Umihoney - Want to learn how to cook all things Asian, This is it.
4. Sunday Stealing - I do like lists...

5. Alterity - a great perspective of life here 

6. Stark raving Sober - gritty and so open and honest.

7. Malay ghosts - I love it, just amuses me
7 things about me
My Name is Luke Regler
I am from England and now live in Jakarta
I find blogging a way of clearing the mind and telling the world my thoughts and stories
I have been in Jakarta since 2007 and I enjoy life in Indonesia
I enjoy travelling the world but for now am focusing on travel here
I am curious about everything and always want to know more
I am told I rather serious but I like to think that I am serious but in a fun way!

And thats enough gushing for today :)

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Cockroaches in Taxis, Cheap beer and more musings

Tonights sunset was simply stunning, golden with a red orangey fireball setting fire to the sky over the west of the city through the haze. The air quality has been recently rather good and there has been a lot of clearer days over the past few weeks but I guess that will change with the slow but it has to arrive dry season.

So that was the week that was. So much traffic through the day at the moment so I am taking a slightly longer trip to work but its a great trip through part of the city and then into work. There are lots of things to see apart from the traffic and I do enjoy watching life as I ride through it.
My experiences in the elevators are still the same so nothing new there. But I must admit to be shocked by the lack of care and concern some Indonesians have for each other. I saw whilst riding an impatient rider move safety cones out of the way so he could get through, forget the danger that might cause the workmen digging up the road. The amazing thing is, I went passed him as he was in such a hurry he kept getting stuck behind everything. I must admit to shaking my head in disbelief a lot. All for the sake of 30 seconds or to be slightly ahead of the others.
Luckily at night its not so bad, just buses, bajais, cyclists with no lights and people sitting in the road!!!! Oh and security men helping cars into the traffic with no torch, light or beacon just a whistle. Great.

Stranger still is the need for riders to ride quicker than me and get pass me so that they can park their bikes up. I would not mind if they are in a hurry but they then dawdle along with out a care in the world about anything. 
I guess as I have been told already no one is really in a hurry only the foreigners. I found a great site which explains some of this., I like this so much I will send it to my new teachers to read as a way to slowly introduce them to the country and to everyone else its an awesome site and full of the most interesting things. 
Families that congregate at tops and bottoms of escalators are even more annoying that 8 year olds walking in front of you playing a psp or something and not knowing what or where they are....
Got to stop it, it annoys me so........
Friday was a great. It was Good Friday. Not being religious, good means a day off. But for everyone else I am sure that they enjoyed and celebrated in their own style and way. 
I spent mine mall hopping. The plan was go to FX mall near Senayan to see a movie then meet some friends for an afternoon of  beer and relaxing. The movie we wanted was on at 11.30am and I never got there until 11 so coffee and a sandwich and forget the movie. I like FX mall as it is full or restaurants and seats outside and is a pretty cool place to hang about in and also the cinema is cheap and seats are always available.
From there we walked to Senayan City for something to do as we were killing time but it was not much fun really as I wanted a bookstore and the one there was not very good so we got a taxi to Semanngi and once in the bookstore found nothing so we had had lunch there and took another taxi to the marina.
Taxis are great here, Nissan, Toyotas both brand new, still smell new, but dont have rear seat belts....? I never understand that. I would actually wear it I think as sometimes I get a little concerned with the drivers. This one however had more passengers than is normal. Cockroaches. Those buggers get everywhere and its always nice to hear the gf scream as one runs up her legs. Mosquitos I can cope with, dodgy meters again I dont mind but I am often concerned about the other wildlife in taxis. The driver clearly dont know or care but still these little critters run amok in the back. The best thing about the taxis are the seats are pulled forward so there is always plenty of leg room.
We spent the afternoon in Marina Batavia where the beer is cheap and the fried rice is good and despite the lightning bolts hitting the sea and the heavy rain everyone had a great time and it was a nice way to spend the afternoon and early evening. 
I went to work hungover for a while on Saturday, gave in and went into the city. I met Yovita and we had lunch and then watched Clash of the Titans in 2d not 3d as that was being shown somewhere else. It was ok, rather bland and not really engaging, just action without meaning and that was a shame as there are some great actors in it. Still it passed the time. 
Getting home,much to my gf amusement I decided to de-ice the fridge as I had managed to leave the door open anyway so 5kg of ice later!!! and its all nice and clean and cold and not just iced. Not much on TV to watch so we ordered lots of food and sat and ate that was that.
Rain, thunder and golden sunsets and very shiny floors ended the week on Easter Sunday. I do like shiny floors in my apartment and so I always have them. Cleaning is something you can take pride in and I dont or want to have a maid to do it for me. Although I do hate washing up and the laundry is taken care of by someone else. The cleaning of my place remains with me....