Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Life in Jakarta

Its been a topsy turvy couple of weeks and more weeks with out taking any photos, something I regret really but to be honest I have had little opportunity what with work, being lazy and not taking my camera out and about.
I had some good things happen and as usual some bad things which, well seem to come as part of the package of living in Jakarta.

The rains here have been extreme and even tonight when I rode home quite quickly with no traffic and dry streets. I park the bike in the underground park and by the time I got to Indomart the rain was so thick and heavy that I had to wonder where it came from as there was really no sign it was coming. I got soaked going from the Indomart to the laundry to get my washing and my trousers are still dripping now.
The other night I left work as normal just after 7 and at 8pm I got home. 1 hour to go 9km! and on a motorbike!!! Why? well the roads outside my apartment were flooded so badly that nothing was getting through and there was traffic backing up a long way before, something I should have taken notice of. As it was I got to the firestation opposite the apartments before turning around and going another 4 km to go past Taman Anggrek and home that way.
The rain and storms have been extreme on and off and that has been playing hell with the traffic which needs no help to be bad thats for sure.
However the 10 10 10 was one of the nicest days weather wise I think we have had this year and it was a powder blue sky day all day and swimming under it was great.

Finally got the bike washed after 4 weeks ( I am so lazy to go and sit and watch someone do it) and I must say it looks great when it has been cleaned, maybe I should do it more often. I was however stunned when after waiting for 40 mins, this guy with the whole family in tow arrives. Has one of the bike washers come to see him and then the next thing you know the bike is the next one to get washed. The passing of money was obvious and ok you have to wait but its 8000 to have the bike washed why pay to push ahead for a bike wash? I guess I should not really grumble as I have done that for my SIM, when I get taken to Immigration and a few other places so I am as guilty as the rest but at a bike wash??????????
I guess corruption has to start somewhere and why not at the grass roots of society....

I also finally got my bike serviced. To wash the bike normally takes an hour or longer due to the queue but the I like the wash so I dont mind waiting. For my bike I arrived at the service building or whatever it is called at 9.30 and there were 4 bikes ahead of me. Thankfully I brought a book with me!! At 12 noon I was done. And I dont mind waiting when it cost 30,000 rupiah (£2.50) for a complete service, oil change, brake adjustment, tuning and  anything else they do. It goes like a dream again. Soon be January and so I will be able to get it done again. I wonder if by the end of December I will have travelled over 5000km on it.

Bit of a scare this morning, getting to the bike park I could not find the bike. Now at the Apartments, the lower basement is often flooded for some reason and last night was no different. When I say flooded, I mean there was was water everywhere but it was not deep just every where, with no real idea where it came from. Any way, I go and get the bike and it has gone. Sh*t was my first thought, thats all I need. Luckily the bike ticket collector seemed to be awake for a change and he wandered over to me and pointed to my bike. Someone moved it to brush the water away. He mimed that and that is my interpretation of his mime. I would say I was right.

I have a love hate relationship with my apartment at the moment, mainly due to my landlady messing everyone about over money, it affects me as I am the one who  is threatened with coming home to the apartment and having no water or electric.
I went and got my utilities bill (water and electric) and to my surprise the bill was even less than last month, mainly due to the fact that the electric meter had not been read, there was no tax and or administration fee. Knowing that you cant escape paying these things where ever you live, I decided to go and get it sorted out. Mainly because if I did not my bill next month would more thank likely be over 600k something I dont need. I could not go Saturday as I had to work all day, Sunday no one works so Monday it was.
I was told by someone to see the cashier so I went to the cashier and produced my bills and started to say something but the cashier was a blur. She had all my bills spread out while she busily typed away on a keyboard. The printer sprang into life and then click click click and stamp stamp stamp all my bills had reciepts and were stamped with 'lunas' (paid) and the she gave them back to me smiling. Which I could understand why, she was ultra efficient. When I pointed out the meter readings, she looked deflated like she had done something wrong and so led me to the service desk. Sadly the girls here were not as efficient and whilst they spoke English could not help me. They understood my meter had not been read but even after 4 phone calls to somewhere could not tell me why and so I had to go back Tuesday. I left dismayed.
Tuesday at the service desk I left dismayed. However the engineering department thought maybe my meter was broken and so they would send a man round to have a look on Wednesday. I said no later than 9am as I wanted to be awkward but that met with a yes or a maybe if we can (almost the same thing).
Today is Wednesday and I woke up early hot and sweaty sadly not through lurid dreams but through a power cut. Great I did not know whether that was due to the engineer or it being a power cut.
At 9am I had a telephone call saying the engineer would be there soon. Great. Then the power came on.

The meter was broken and had not recorded any electricity useage for 2 months. Great. So the apartment has a new one. As for the bill. I dont know. I am none the wiser. I will wait for more information. But then I knew that.

My other source of power is Gas. I have been using the 3kg bottles as they are small cheap and easy to carry and take up little space. So as predicted it ran out while I cooking. I went to the store to get a another and was told that the management of the apartments has banned the bottles due to the real danger that they might explode as they are know to and have all around the country. Great. No gas. I can buy a new 16kg bottle for 700k if I want to have a fried egg or just have take outs and toast. Hmmm, 700k for a gas bottle or take outs and toast, decisions, decisions. Toast and take out it is until January as I have better things to do with my money at the moment.

I shall end on a high which is something new and I am going to Bali for a week the day after I get back here from England, Jet lag aplenty but I want to defrost in Lovina and  Kuta before getting stuck back into work. I had been roaming and searching through the local airlines for flights and found cheap flights with Air Asia. 265,000 one way and 465,000 back before tax. For 2 people a top price and so I went to book it. Their website was playing up but I got through all the boxes and taking off the additional added extras (luggage, food, insurance etc) and entered the credit card details and pressed send.


Was my next message. Great so that meant I had to do it all again. So I fired up Chrome and started the process again. The promo flights had gone and everything was going up in price when I got an email saying your credit card has been approved and your seats are booked. Yeay.....

So, just another couple of typical weeks of life in Jakarta. You cant beat real life for real entertainment.
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