Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Mediterania Gardens Jakarta

Had quite a weekend of excitement really what with getting a new SIM and the fun at the local Gym. The weekend is never quite long enough and always too short, however this weekend seemed just to contain news, mostly annoying or not good.
After the Gym farce we got back to the apartment to find a letter addressed to the occupier of the apartment informing us that should certain monies not be paid to the management of the apartments by Tuesday 3pm they would immediately cut the water and electric to the apartment and then charge 1.4 million rupiah to re-connect. They like this threat as this is the second time they have used it. The first one was to inform the residents not to leave trash outside their apartments but to put it in the refuse room. I kinda agree on the principal but to put that into practice is simply hmmm unmanageable and quite difficult to do.
Anyhow, as I am only the tennent not the owner the financial costs do not affect me but the disconnection does. My landlady was informed and she promised faithfully to sort it before Tuesday.
The monies are not important except the most curious sinking supplement, which suggests the place is sinking and the management must have a way of jacking the place back up although I cant see how.
Anyhow, on Sunday I needed to go to the bank and fancied a ride around in the heat for an hour or so as I was bored. I went to the bike park and to my bike only to discover that my helmet, which was securely fastened to my bike had vanished, some of the strap remained but the helmet itself had gone. My bike was next to the exit booth which is manned 24hours a day. I am also the only expat who rides a bike in the whole complex, at least I assume I am as I have yet to see another riding here and I have been here since 2009.So security know my bike and my helmet as they see me everyday, yet it had gone.
I went to the security office and complained, the guy looked mortified and started shouting orders but at the end of the day there is nothing they can do.
So off I traipsed to Citraland to buy a new one. Of course the only optios for me in the mall was the 350,000 rupiah  top of the range helmets in crap colours and choice of 1. So 2 mins later, I am the proud owner of a NHK full face, 1.5kg helmet that is now attached to me when ever I am not wearing it.
Funny thing is, this is my first full face helmet and my vision is sllightly reduced and I am concious of less visibility around me, I guess that will change in time, but it is making my riding slower and more cautious which is good and I have not swallowed any flies, dust or shit this week so far and that must be great news.
So now with neck ache as the helmet is so damm heavy, its Tuesday. At 2pm I am told that my landlady has yet to pay the money owed and in 60 minutes I would be without the utilities in my apartment.
Copious phone calls and SMS's later and with 15 minutes to spare, I get told that it is sorted out, well for now at least.
I am sure there is a warning in all what I have written about the final parts of the weekend but at the end of the day, this is what makes life so special. Hah!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Gyms, Indonesia

I belong to a gym. A well known chain of gyms throughout the world in fact. Not silver or bronze but the other one. I am going to be careful as well, you know, saying the truth online about institutions in this country can get you jail time.
So I have decided to cancel the membership to the gym because quite simply I don't go, its the end of the year and I wont go next year. Too lazy, my working hours don't suit and there is a gym at the apartments which might be better to visit or even the gym at Central part (although I doubt that very much).
Foretold is forewarned so I am told and so knowing that, I went to my gym to cancel the membership and prevent renewal.
I had already suffered the traffic, pollution and heat whilst getting my SIM C renewed so I can ride my bike legally here and so I had no doubt cancelling my membership would not be simple.

This is what I wanted to do: Give notice to the gym that I would not be renewing my membership and to stop billing me at the end of the first years contract. (which ends in October).

It started off well as I was met by a woman who spoke English and I told her that I wanted to cancel my membership and not renew.
She took my card and told me to take a seat. This was 12.20pm, 5 mins after arriving.
At 12.30, she came back and took my contract away that I had brought with me. She then spoke in length to someone else about it and walked away.
12.50, I am still sat there and now enjoying the Incredible Hulk 2008 edition and no one came to see me
12.55, the guy came over and explained that I wanted to cancel my membership and not renew it. Yes was my answer, so he left
1.05 the guy is now speaking to 2 other people about my contract but oddly not me
1.10 the guy comes back and asks me to write a letter confirming my wish to end my contract. I do that and write in it that I wanted 'written confirmation of the last billing date'
1.15 the guy comes back and starts to complete the termination form. He fills in the wrong section as I watch, and so I complain. He walks off and speaks to the woman who spoke in English to me and she starts shouting at him.
1.20, I go to the place where she is still shouting and ask if they could get a move on as it has been sometime and I have better things to do on a Saturday.
1.22 the guy comes back and looks confused, says he is new and that this is his first cancellation. I ask for a written note for the last billing date I will be charges, he looked confused and frightened and walks off to find help.
1.30 he returns with someone not dressed in gym uniform who looks rather stressed and not in the mood for smiling. She completed the form in 1 minute. I ask for a letter confirming the last billing date as this has not been said (it is important as I want it finished and as no one could tell me verbally, it is better written therefore when it goes wrong I have proof). This was met with anguish and almost denial that they could do this. My GF is with me (you think I could do this alone?) and so she explained to her as well.
1.40 I have a scribbled note at the bottom of the contract which I did not understand as there was no dates so the lady had to write dates for me.
1.42 Tea arrives from the gym management to help calm and appease us.
1.44 It was sorted, sod the tea

I should have realised at the start of the contract when they misled me to sign up by telling me that I would not have to pay for a month and then when I signed the contract, I would be charged the following week.....

So thats my adventure and final workout at the gym  Classic Gold!!!!

Lovely gym, rubbish service and ideas of what service actually is about.

Driving Licence Renewal Jakarta

Yes that time had come again, luckily once a year, if I was Indonesian then every 5 years but it was the Saturday in the year when I have to renew my SIM C driving licence so I can ride my motor bike with relative ease and in the knowledge that having a SIM annoys the police when I get stopped.
For me it, I have to go to Dann Mogot Police station in the west of the city and thats about 20 mins from my place on my bike.
Now nothing is easy when it comes to paperwork and Indonesia and an expat so it best to prepared financially and mentally for these things. Legally I am allowed to meet certain criteria to allow me to have a licence, but I won't lie. I have no idea what that is as I use an agent, don't ask questions and just do what ever it takes.
In England my drivers licence allows me to drive many different types of vehicle and I have from small cars to the biggest German cars, 7.5 tonne trucks, mini buses and other assorted road traffic. Motorbikes, nah that experience waited until I got here but 'technically' I could and now after 2 years or more I most certainly can!!!
Also in England, you apply for your driving licence once you have passed your Government approved driving test, after completing a written test and taking lots of lessons. All of which is a legal requirement. The same law applies to every kind of vehicle there.
Once you have passed your driving test, you then send off the necessary paperwork which you get from the post office, some photos and some money and then 2 weeks later, your licence comes back in the post. I actually think by now you can do all that online. Nice and simple, legal and not stressful.

Back to Indonesia...........

My girlfriend knows someone who knows someone who knows an agent and so she sorted out the time. cost and the things I needed to bring before hand which was nice and the price was 200,000 less than last year which was great as well.
The agreed time was 8am at Dann Mogot licensing center and so we set off on the bike early with plenty of time to spare. Now, for those that never have or will go down Dann Mogot in Jakarta, it is one of the longest streets/roads in the country apparently and runs from Citra land to somewhere in Tangerang and comprises of 2 or 3 lanes and a bus lane, a huge dirty river on one side with BASF, ABC, and other major industries on one side and Cengkareng etc on the other.
Normally so busy it is silly, today was no exception. Just after the flyover the traffic was at a standstill and even the bikes struggled to push through the denseness of the traffic, pollution aside the sun was out in force and it was hot.
It turned out that over a river bridge was a huge amount of mud which had spilled off a truck and blocked the road meaning everything was using one lane to get by. So it took over an hour to get there.

The agent was nice and we went straight into the building. I was lucky to have brought my passport along as it speeded up the process no end.
I dont really know what happens but it involves sitting while the agent fast tracks your application (about 30 mins) and then you go for your photo and fingerprints. Being white and paying alot I was ushered into a packed room full of people waiting to have their photos sorted, Sat in front of the camera, spoken Indonesian at, signed my name and walked out again. 10 minutes. Great. Then I had to wait for 20 mins until my licence had been made.
All in all, just over an hour to get it done. However a SIM C (motorbike renewal) is 60,000 and a new licence is 75,000. As I am only allowed a yearly licence I have to pay the 75,000 fee. It cost me over 4x that to get my licence but at then end of the day, I am legal and it did not take long. Sure I could do it without an agent but why bother. It is a renewal afterall.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Jakarta Riding

I think I have been riding long enough in Jakarta to say that I am still an amateur and still needs to lessons and more knowledge of the rules and the way the Jakartans ride, drive and generally rush around the gridlocked city.
I think then this will be more of a list of things to watch for as a bike rider.
More importantly as a Western or 'Bule' rider, who rides out often alone through the city in the worst traffic and at the worst times of the day.
The overall message is slow down, ride in a straight line and down zig zag through traffic, dont think you are indestructable and always wear a good helmet.
Groups it is then.

1. Pedestrians
At night becareful when riding through populated areas as children will run around or play sports in front of you
Watch for people trying to cross the road at all times
At night there are little or very inadequate street lighting so be more alert than normal as well its very dark and lights from on coming traffic vary greatly on strength depending on vehicle.

2. Parkirs
Often walk into the road to help cars out of drive ways etc or allow vehicles into drive ways
Recognisable as they are either in blue shirts or they are security men
The guys at busy junctions are directing traffic for cash and are quite useful
At night people wave flashing orange or red night sticks. Useful enough but not the right colour and therefore not visible sometimes until it is too late.

3. Cyclists, Mobile Warungs, Scavengers,
As a rule cyclists cause no trouble and the only issue is when they just turn in front of you, but then everyone does that. People pushing carts want to get by or through and will block the road although through not fault of their own. The same for scavengers.
Watch for the water carts being pushed along as they are incredibly long.

4. Bajais
Orange or blue, no indicators or front lights. The orange ones make far too much noise and belch black cancer forming smoke, learn to hold your breath. The blue ones don't but still do everything else.
They do as a rule give way to motorbikes and most other things but you need to be wary as they turn and stop with no notice.

5. Motorbikes.
Where to start or that finish
Kids on motorbikes are dangerous as they believe they are immortal and go to fast on bikes with too loud mufflers
Kids on motorbikes with other kids even scarier
School kids finishing school and going home are also a menace
Families with 4 or more people on one bike are often cautious, however don't be too alarmed when a whole family go by you at speed with out any helmets and weaving in traffic
People smoking are a menace
People using mobile phones are beyond careless and stupid
Cyclists under bridges in the rain are trying to keep dry but are also blocking traffic.
I think weaving bikers going at speed are the worst though.
or weaving bikers turning left or right from the wrong side of the road with no signal or clue that that is their intention.
Nope, night time bikes with no lights
At night bikes riding at you with no lights
At night bikes riding at you with lights aimed too high
At night bikes with a clear light as the back light and brake so you don't know which way they are going
Now you can start putting some of the above combinations together and well you get the picture.
However most bikers I have met and spoke with ride slow and carefully and are very observant and helpful.

6. Cars (including taxis)
Let them go by if they are in a hurry or go by them if they are not  in a hurry
If they flash their lights at you, you are probably in the way
They are dangerous when they drive at you to cut round queues
They are more often than not wary of motorbikes
Still don't know how or when to indicate though, so that's not helpful
Parkirs help them park so that's good.

7. Mini trucks and trucks
See above

8. Big trucks
Cement mixers, cab and trailers, dump trucks all need either let through or got past safely.
They go fairly slow and don't really get on the small roads
Often have a co driver who makes lots of signals
Big respect to them

9 Minivans (assorted)
No lights
No indicators
Often stop
Go slowly
Wait for passengers in random places
Annoying to be near
However, if you take the same routes often you begin to notice patterns and where they will stop and where they slow down. If you watch you can avoid being stuck behind them when that happens. They normally wait for the people to cross the road as well or are waiting for another fare.

10. Metro Minis and Kopajas
Not my favourite type of transport as they have all the same attributes as point 9 with the additional few, which are;
The produce the same black smoke as bajais but for longer and faster
They go too fast and weave in traffic
They race each other causing jams
They have a tendency to stop
If not on their normal route they go either jet fast or so slow its quicker to walk
They parkup at night in certain places so you need to be aware of people still servicing them etc without any warning

11. Bigger buses
No manners
Inadequate lights and indicators
Bully other road users to get them moving
Get past them or stay well behind them

12. Long distance buses
They are ok on the toll
In local crowded streets are very long and difficult to get by but overall go slow and take lots more care

13. Police and emergency services
Ambulances will go by quickly but make too much noise
Brown police roll by with all lights on not doing much
Motorbike police on Hondas are local police and so will ignore you
Motorbike police on panelled bikes are traffic cops and wont ignore you
Motorcades should be respected otherwise you can be arrested
Police directing traffic normally ignore motorbikes and let them do what they like but not sure why
Fire trucks scream, let them go by, they have some where important to go and it is amazing to watch them

14. The road
Learn to spot and remember roads, holes, pot holes, missing roads, where puddles form, where roads narrow, bottlenecks, open roads, lumps, bumps, curves etc
Night time in the rain is bad as holes get bigger and full of water
Poor lighting wont help you
Branches in holes is a warning of danger
holes may get filled with ceramics or wood or with too much concrete which means more bumps and lumps
Speed bumps are all shapes, angles and sizes so just go slow

15. Other
Buses, cars etc with tree branches hanging off them have broken down
If stopped by the police, I hope you have a sim and stnk otherwise a bribe or a trip to the police station
In the suburbs more random stops by random policemen
In the city its the same but more professionally down, the menace though is the same
The rules for lights and well maintained vehicles are not followed
Big european cars are great and the drivers are very brave
Puddles form and you need to slow down
If riding in the rain, at 50kph the rain hurts so slow down!
Know your level of riding, be slow and cautious
Try to worry only about what you can in front of you but remember the weaving going too fast riders are never far away
Try not to turn into traffic as its scary
Turning into traffic at night is not easy when facing lots of motorbikes
Ensure the bike is service alot especially brakes
Street kids can spot you at junctions and wont leave you alone
Learn to smile when car loads of people look and stare at the 'bule' on a bike in traffic jams
Consider good insurance
Don't think it wont happen to you, make sure you are sure if enough and concentrating fully so it cant.

For me I find riding through the city enjoyable especially during public holidays as there is less traffic. I enjoy the challenge and chance to see and explore the city, even with everything I have listed. I am sure that there is more but I hope you will have some general idea of what to expect and face.
I have been riding in Jakarta now since March 2008 and have taken time to venture out but now I am more than happy to ride all the way from Tangerang city to Tebet through Dann Magot, slipi and semanngi and from Sunda Kelapa to Kebon Jeruk on a Saturday evening via the Monas.

Happy riding :)

Jakarta Nights

Imagine the scenario; lively streets, bustling with all sorts of people. Bars, restaurants, shops and traffic. Loud music and shouting. Lively street scene, a good place for people to hang out in the evening or spend the night with friends drinking, chatting and socialising.
The place has a good vibe and it is known for its bars and people. One night someone is out with friends and its getting the late, the beer has been flowing I am sure for a while and the friends split.
The next thing you know, one of the friends is covered in blood in the middle of a bar after being 'glassed' by someone else and all hell breaks loose. The police arrive and there is just general confusion and finger pointing. The glassed person comes round, he does not really understand what has happened, manages to walk out of the bar and get a taxi home.
In pain and in need of medical assistance he goes to a hospital where he receives 16 stitches to various parts of the head and given pain killers and some drops for his eyes as they have had glass slithers in them and need time to heal.
Still in pain the next day, he returns to hospital as his sight is getting worse and on seeing an eye doctor gets told he has received the wrong medication for his eyes and has 50% vision. Fearing the worse he freaks out and rightly so and has a few days of worry until his next appointment. Luckily for him the next appointment confirms he is on the mend and his sight will get back normal in the next week.
Sounds horrific and from those who know western cities and life, we can assume it happened to someone in the west on a night out.
Wrong. It happened in Jakarta. In Jalan Jacksa. All the above is true.

The glassing attack is the worst thing I have heard happen to an expat here in over 3 years. It is made worse as I know this guy and it would have been unprovoked.

My message is a cautionary tale for those out for a beer in the cities 'nite spots'. Be careful and be aware that a bar is a bar no matter where in the world you are. Alcohol can fuel violence and attacks. Western people should know that so please don't think it does not happen here. Be responsible and be safe.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Tower Cranes

Maybe like me you have an inquisitive mind and find everything fascinating especially when we take so many things for granted. Todays thing I guess we take for granted is tall tower blocks, how they are built and more importantly the cranes that build them.
Living next to a building site for the past 18 months I have learnt alot about dust, noise, cement and reinforced concrete, the time it takes and many other things. But the best thing I learnt was how a tower crane gets taller and also how they are fixed to the building they are helping to build. However I am not going to mention the supports.
I have however a few photos showing how a crane gets taller by itself and some men and basically it is a lego set for grown men in hard hats and to make a crane grow taller by 2m takes about an hour.

The crane has brought up the next segment

The other crane is far taller and yes it leans

The top bit with the cab and cables etc has hydraulic jacks connected
so it can raise or lower itself as pieces are added or removed

 The new segment is slid in place and the men secure it

Not the slowest or quickest procedure but it does have to be the most accurate

Watch the new piece move in

In it goes

and now they fix it

And another piece

same procedure

Notice the crane has grown as the yellow bars at the bottom
of this picture are further down from the platform

And the weights are above the Monas

Yes that is a man with the concrete funnel
on the left of this picture

Slotting the other piece into place

Almost finished

Far taller now

2 questions remain...........
1. How do they all get up there? Do they climb the ladder inside?
2. How do they all get down?

The crane is taken down the same way it builtn up.

Now we know and can all sleep better at night knowing this, and you will be able to tell anyone who points at a tower crane and says 'wow thats tall', how it gets to be so tall....

Central Park

I have tried to create a picture history of the birth (if that is what you want to call it) of Central Park, aka Podomoro City, Mediterania Gardens or simply where I live. The photos were taken in February 2009 and today. They almost match and they show the difference and speed in which these buildings have been built. Anyhow I found it interesting to compile...........

 I used to be able to see the Monas and the Pertamina Building and the Big Mosque by the Monas

Now I can see apartment buildings, but I did learn how cranes are made taller and smaller!!!

Last year I had no idea of the size of the buildings they were building

Clearly they were going to be one thing.... BIG

Tower J not quite finished

Tower J finished and all open

The street outside were still being bulit

But as you can see they are almost finished

Taken last year they were looking good then

The apartments behind them dwarf them

                      The street is very busy most of the time now

                                                          Central Park was being built

              All open now and nice inside

Still yet to be finished 

 Another view from my balcony with Central Park not finished


                              All finished, now with the mall open and busy busy busy

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Indonesian Holidays

Life in Indonesia can never be described as dull or boring or routine. Ok, maybe the food can be as rice and noodles with chicken or fish daily is all the above, but I guess I need to get with the program and accept it as I cant see the whole country change to boiled potatoes and breakfast cereals and lovers of sandwiches as well that would be too easy or I was back in the UK.
The newspapers are full of interesting stories although through the year the stories have become more interesting or random and more concerning and the news of religious hate, illicit sex videos, corruption at all levels, Malaysia and Indonesia disputes and the total destruction of the environment is quite sad at the end of the day. Boys in Bali having sex with cattle and then marrying them do seem to brighten up the news somewhat but even these stories are being hidden. Good news stories is what is needed as the avenues of gossip, infotainment and strange stories seem to be missing from the Globe and the Post. They need a humour corner of all things funny and bizarre in this wonderful country. 
So back to the title, its holiday time kinda here or at least a happier month for the majority of people as it is Ramadhan or Ramadan.
Ramadhan is a great time of the year for all muslims to fast for 'the sake of god and to offer more prayer than usual. During Ramadan, Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance and help in refraining from everyday evils, and try to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds' (taken from wikipedia). Here is another source from a great blogging friend who is also muslim. Not only has she explained Ramadhan from her perspective but she also provides the best asia recipes I have seen and attempted. Please visit her blog here Umihoney.
From my perspective I just have to observe simple rules of politeness ie, not eating, drinking, mentioning food etc in front of people. At the school all the teachers are being polite but carrying on as normal as well it is what we have to do. 
The muslim students as well as adults are fasting from as young as 9 fast from sun up to sun down, this basically means they wake up early pray, eat and then fast through the day until 6pm when they break fast and can eat again. They do this for 30 days and then at the end there is a huge party and everyone celebrates the end of fasting. 
So my students are tired and hungry but in good spirits. The teachers and the staff are supportive. I have not seen the curtains in the windows of the restaurants around where I live and central park has made no attempt to hide people from eating or drinking in the coffee shops etc, maybe a sign of more acceptance or something I dont know and dont really want to comment too much as I might be wrong. 
As the fasting continues I will update my observations, but for now it is noticably quieter on the roads after 6pm and through the day although that could be my imagination.
Speaking of which, the rains are still here, the weather has been stormy and rainy etc all week, today it was hot and really sunny. I saw possibly the worst motorbike smash so far since living here today. As usual bikes go too fast in traffic and weave in and out of cars to get through rather than riding sensibly and carefully. One bike carrying 2 people managed to weave too fast and too badly and hit a taxi at speed knocking both people off and scattering debris from the car it all over the road. The thing that shocked me was that you could hear the woman scream as she tumbled and flew off the bike, I could not stop as the traffic was moving but I hope they are ok. 
Bike riders here seem to think they are invincible and the "it will never happen to me" belief is such a mistake. Makes me take more care when I am out there.
On a happy note today was Indonesia's birthday. It is 65 today. 65 years of Independence after being a colony to the Dutch. Happy Birthday!!
However, there was not much in the way of celebrations that I saw when riding around, rather a low key affair. I am sure the malls did stuff but the streets were pretty quiet and I dont think I saw so many flags this year as I did last year. 
But as it was a national holiday then I hope most people enjoyed their time off. Good to see the window cleaners cleaning the windows in the apartments, its been 2 months and I can hardly see out of mine. 
My sofa arrived on Saturday and finally I have something good to sit on. Black imitation or cheap leather. Its nice and means I can chill out now better than before. 
Now to find the time to get the AC fixed and it will be great in here.
I should mention how helpful the parking people are here in the apartments as yet again I left my keys in my bike and wandered off, it took 4 hours for me to realise so I went back to the bike only to be handed the keys. They do a good job. Thank you

So to end the day I am watching Independence Day on Global TV, quite well thought out for Indonesian TV (except it is about Aliens and the the 4th of July) but still I like the movie. Good stuff

Christmas Jokes

Some random Christmas Cracker jokes from Merry old England, I hope you appreciate them as much as I do...

10. Did you hear about the two ships that collided at sea?
 One was carrying red paint and the other was carrying blue paint.

All the sailors ended up being marooned.

9. What did the fish say when it swam into a wall?

8. What athlete is warmest in winter?
A long jumper.

7. Why are chocolate buttons rude?
Because they are Smarties in the nude.

6. How does Bob Marley like his doughnuts?
Wi' Jammin
What does Bob Marley say to his friends when he
 buys doughnuts?
Hope you like Jammin too.

5. How do you make a tissue dance?
Put a boogie in it.

4. What did the grape say when the elephant stepped on it? 
Nothing. It just let out a little wine. 

3. Why did the man get the sack from the orange juice factory?
Because he couldn't concentrate.

2. What did the inflatable teacher at the inflatable school say
to the inflatable child caught holding a pin?
You let me down, you let your friends down, you let your
school down but most of all... you let yourself down. 

1. What's ET short for?
Because he's only got little legs.

I am sure I can add to these but really, is there any need? :)

Wednesday, 11 August 2010


I don't know about you but time has seemed to slow down for some inexplicable reason. That is not meant to mean it now takes longer in 'real' time but in actual feeling time I have felt things drag on but then again I have been so busy I don't really know where time did go. 
I am currently teaching in the morning and then through the afternoon into the evening and in between teaching I am training, observing, being involved in meetings, updating twitter and if I remember eating lunch.
I am trying to cut down on sugars and rice at the moment as it is making me fat(ter) and sleepy after eating and it has been working. More tea and water also is helping. I was told today by a rather direct 8 year old that I was fat. I took it well as I am not that fat but have a good spread through happy living and lazy exercising. I don't really mind as it was said in fun and after a while the insults, the comments, the questions all become a little invisible really and you ignore it. I can hardly say yes I am fat where as you are ugly, but the difference is I can diet as a) it would wasted on anyone here. b) it was just a comment and c) it makes me chuckle knowing my students can say the worst things in correct English, yet every weekend they go to mall and the Church, play facebook and watching Tom Jerry. I have yet to stop correcting them, one I might give in but currently more fun laughing with/at them and then explain it all.
I am currently averaging 2 near misses on the bike a week at the moment, I hope the fasting month will make people slow down and take it more easy. The culprits are mainly motorcyclists and the other are the people walking across the roads without a care in the world. Apart from them the floods and heavy rains last week made riding home far more fun and the bike is still the best despite the brakes squeaking for 2 days after and all the bolts having a rusty look to them. My bike passed 3000km after 7 months. It is almost worn in now and I finally took it over 100kph ( sorry Mum but I had to try) down the stretch in front of the school. Having done that I doubt I will do that again soon. 
I am sure I have mentioned it before but rain hurts at 40kph so I have to really slow down, the water riding over the front wheel I am cope with but the actual drops do hurt. For those that dont believe me, drive you car with the window open and stick your head out when it is raining at around 50kph and see how it feels. But now the rain seems to have disappeared for now and so the dust, smog and the filth in the air is getting worse. Coughing up the loose bits is getting worse !!!
Had to go the airport on Saturday to meet the gf who had been to Bali for a few days and it was to T3 which has to be the least bit Indonesian in the entire country. It is a brand new terminal with modern western design and very clean safe and lacking in hawkers, porters, sellers and other weird people that frequent T1 and T2. It is also a little way from the other terminals and only serves Air Asia and Mandala currently.
However not getting all my hopes up with the airport, I enter as a visitor and face a load of questions from the security guards like 'what are doing here?, what do you want?, Where is your ticket?' As I entered through the visitors entrance those questions should be a concern as clearly I was a visitor but then again I should expect these things. I did tell them I was looking for some shoes, which again was wasted but it helped me conceal my anger and in I went. 
It is open but just empty

As a good airport should be nice and clean

With plastic trees, which are always welcome

From the window

Garuda Planes

It is a lovely airport but it lacks seats and signs but as it is a no smoking airport there are plenty of ashbins for cigarettes. After meeting Yovita we went to meet some friends at the marina (yes it is a weekend ritual) and have some beer and enjoy each others company as well as the flies which seem to descend as soon as we arrive. We stayed there quite late for a change and it was a good afternoon and evening. Clearing the air, chewing the cud and gossiping. As for the girls, I have no idea what they spoke about.
Sunday was spent deep cleaning the apartment and sorting things out, swimming and then doing nothing all afternoon except for a little snoozing and sleeping. 
I watched the Charity Shield on the TV as I have YES TV and they are showing ESPN again and so that means another year of free premier league footy which is nice to have. However I am currently watching Enter the Dragon on Trans TV which is superior in every way to anything else being shown.
Finally, I should mention that Indonesia and also the rest of the Muslim world has moved into the fasting month of Ramadhan and so this means that the majority of people will not be eating from sun up to sun down and have to obey certain rules and instructions for the next 4 weeks. It is a great time of year for everyone and it ends in big family parties and feasting which again is a great thing. I can't do the Mohon Maaf thing as I am not a Muslim but I wish everyone who is fasting a happy and peaceful month.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Anatomy show Jakarta

Busy week really, with more downs than ups and some more serious thinking time. The weekend could only come at its usual day by day pace but it was welcome and needed. I took my first day off for 2 weeks and was pretty shattered by Saturday.
I have noticed my sleep, eating, thinking patterns have changed slightly over the past few weeks and work has been making less than excited although it gets better day by day there are still some things that need to be addressed but I am not sure how or if I can and whether anything I can do will make any difference. After speaking to a friend, she diagnosed me with Work Related Stress and that kinda helped clear the air and some of the burden as if I can identify with what is making unhappy, stressed, moody etc then I can hopefully work toward resolving it.
So thats work, moving swiftly on.
The weekend arrived and the plan was pretty simple - brunch - movie - dinner - home for Saturday and some of that was true.
As usual I like to meet Yovita in the city and at FX as it is easy to get to in the morning although a pain to leave in the afternoon and evening. Coffee of course is in Starbucks but I think I next time I will go to DeliFrance as they have an English Breakfast menu and that sounds so so so tempting. Soon..
Coffee is always easy and then from there to the movies as FX is always empty on a Saturday morning. Inception. Hmmm thats a strange one but sharing dreams within in a dream, within a dream, within dream is easy once you get your head around the concept. Good movie, some great effects although not too many and not on the screen for long enough.
The ending is one for thinking about but I wont give it away except to say check the shoes of the kids.... If you remember. 2 hours 20 mins later and it was all over bar the rush of women for the toilet and so whats next.
There was a toy sale in FX, however not the kind of toys we had when we were young. These are characters mainly from movies, like Indiana Jones, The Crow etc with the odd stack of toy cars and lego blocks thrown in. So more of a collectors fayre than a toy sale.
There was also at the mall an Anatomy Exhibition featuring models, bodies whatever from Gunter von Hagen probably. This guy is a genius or the person who did these figures is. I would assume it is him as I have not heard of anyone else doing it. 
The photos below do not do the bodies and the exhibits justice.Sadly it was all to small, I wish there could have been more to see. 
I apologise if you find the photos disturbing/scary/difficult/taboo but I found it interesting. 

I had run  out of reading material as the last 6 books I bought I had just finished and so we went off to Pasar Festival to buy some. I got another 4 books (all paperbacks) to read, mainly horror as that is my favourite and so I have enough books to read until I get paid again. At Pasar Festival there is a shop that sells brand new paperbacks from Granmedia for only 15,000 rupiah each, still wrapped in cellophane and great if you are indonesian.
Walking out, we went past a furniture stall and 2 mins later I had bought a 2 seater leather sofa, albeit a small 2 seater but it would fit 2 of me on it comfortably with room for a cat or something. It was 1,5 million which is a bargain as it will be new, black and there is no delivery charge. Now I have to wait 2 weeks as I have no time off from work to recieve it but at least I have one now and the chairs that have done me proud can go.
Ended up in Aphrodites sports bar for dinner and some rugby. Australia vs New Zealand in the tri nations cup. I knew something was up as it was full by 6pm and full of aussies, bless them. Australia lost. They normally do but it was a great game.
Sunday was spent at Puri Mall really. I needed and had my haircut which feels better. The barbers there is good and in 10 mins its done, no frills no massage, just shaved and went.
The food court on the other hand was messy. It was full and tables were hard to find. Then all locals decided it would be good to stare at me eating, which is something I forgot they did as I dont often eat alone in public, but they do.
As it was scorching hot today the pool was empty so that was an idea time to float around and practice not drowning for an hour in the sun to cool down and relax more.

Quite a busy weekend to end a very busy week. To cap it all off. Mum phoned to say hello which was great.
Thanks mum.


"Luke has just checked into the toilets at Senayan City", "Thomas has just checked in at Toll 1 Slipi, Jakarta", "Sally has just checked in at Bata Shoes, Semmangi"

Who cares? Well many people really because they have all joined the site Foursquare. http://foursquare.com/

Imagine the grief this site could cause, an employee, cheating boyfriend, drunken son etc. So what exactly is it for? In some parts of the world, if you check in to certain places you get discounts on the products you buy. 
In Jakarta, nah. 
However as a social survey of people habits, I can actually see something interesting that comes from it. For example, I have "checked in" at:
My work  8 times
My home 6 times
3 different malls
2 movie cinemas
4 starbucks 
2 restaurants
1 supermarket 
1 bar
since I have started using it ( for about 10 days ish)

Has this enriched my life? no
Has it made things easier for me? no
Does it make any difference? no

Should I connect every check in to Twitter or Facebook? 
Hmmm, nah. I dont think people really have the time or interests in my movements, unless you are a stalker and then why would I publicly help you by posting my movements because after a while you could trend them and then predict where I go. 

I am quite cynical of this application for a few reasons, the first one being I am a key supporter of Nokia and there is no simple application for Nokia phones. I dont want a Blackberry, unless its in a pie and I would only want Android if it was in a Nokia but then it would not be a Nokia, it would be something else.
The next one, it serves no purpose for me, however I now find myself recording all the places I am going to. 
The final one is Idon't really know anyone through this social network but I am reading all their updates. 

A serious waste of my time. 

Twitter and Facebook actually servce some use as they both offer different things that have helped me learn, discover and explore things but foursquare is doing nothing but taking my time. 

For those that use it, what is its purpose for you?