Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Travel to Bandung

I have just come back from a long weekend in Bali which was nice and relaxing thats for sure. I have not had a break from work since January and I have waited for this for a long time.
This time last year Air Asia had one of it monthly sales and I managed to find flights to Bali for 100k person. The only catch being I had to fly from Bandung.

Well Bandung is not that far from Jakarta around 120km and there is a great big toll road from Jakarta to it which makes it easier.

We went with Day Trans shuttle bus service which runs red mini vans to and from Jakarta to Bandung from points all over the city. We went from FX mall in Sudirman and it cost 70k per ticket. The vans are comfy and spacious and fit no more than 10 people.

You get free drinks from a cafe in FX if you go from there!

We booked the tickets in advance and paid on the day. They run hourly to Bandung and for us it took around 2.5 hours.

The journey itself is noisy as the driver (who must be an ex metro mini driver) was in a hurry and seemed to enjoy racing down the toll and breaking at the last minute which wakes you up, however it was a pleasant enough journey. The highlight was when stuck in traffic due to bridge repairs, we got cut up a truck which seemed to irk the driver and so he sped after the truck and then drove real close to him and started shouting out the window at him. I honestly thought he was going to stop and start beating the driver, but alas he never.

There was a stop around 95km for 15 minutes and then we were off again. We were dropped off in Bandung near the Aston hotel at Pasteur but the journey ends in Cihampelas, Bandung.

There are other shuttle buses such as X-Trans, City Trans and many more so there is plenty of choice.

The link to their site is here  http://www.daytrans.co.id/

The buses look like this

from: kabarindo.com

Monday, 14 May 2012

English clothing Jakarta

Everytime I go to a mall it looks more and more like an English one every time. Just need Chavs, pushchairs, hoodies and a decent bookstore and it could almost be one!

Debenhams, New look, Marks and Spencers, Next, Boots, The Body Shop, Dorothy Perkins, Clarks, Mothercare, Early Learning Center, Top Man, Top Shop, did I see a Principles some where? are all in the bigger malls now and they are busy.

The prices are comparable to England which is also fairly useful and also the sizes are English as well which is very important when you are not the size of a typical Indonesian (less than 160cm and with tiny feet) so clothing is becoming less of a chore to find as are shoes.

Debenhams in Senyan City seems to be full of clothing I could buy but won't and now they are stocking up for the Queen's Jubilee, so real English tourist tat is available in Jakarta. So now not only are the German owned Iconic Mini Coopers being pushed as a luxury English item, crap Union Jack smothered tat is available. The next thing that will happen is PG tips will be sold in Giant! (if only)

Clearly the recent visit by the Prime Minister has paid off and now everyone can be fashionably English for an afternoon.
These photos were all I managed to get away with as someone in Debenhams ironically with a camera told me I could not take photos, even if they were for my mother back in England, so I never quite managed to snap the Scotland selection of pens and note pads.

The Queen visited Indonesia in 1974 and was visited by Soeharto in 1979 some 30 years ago . Prince Charles visited back in 2008 I think and other than that it really does not matter. So I cant quite see street parties any where here, I guess the Jubilee and then the Olympics with the tennis squeezed in the middle will do the power of good for Great Britain which can't do any harm.

If only BBC iplayer TV was available here, then it would change everything. 

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Ground Water Wells Jakarta

Our House, in the middle of the street, our house was our castle and our keep, our house.... Lovely song from Madness back in the day.
This day and yesterday however, saw our house running out of water. Which in any country is not a good thing and when you are in a country where housing is not always connected to a mains water pipe, it is even worse.
Our house has a water pipe feed into it but it has never been used, something to do with the pressure or lack of it, so it is dependent on water through a well in the front and an electric pump to bring us this clear, smell free liquid that is OK to clean your teeth in (if you try not to worry about mercury and lead and other nasties) and shower in.
On Saturday, the pump or well or something in between decided to stop. Stop giving water. A few phone calls later, our almost live in handyman who frequents the house and knows it better than he should decided to take a look and see if he can fix it.
The ground water well is in the front yard in a hole in the ground with a metal cover locked firmly in place by 2 rusting nails. The interior of this hole contains 2 pipes and a pump, 3 dozen very thin spiders and far too many ants, still a brush works wonders.
The pump was still in good working order and the water is a plenty further down in the earth, it was apparently a part of the pipework which was faulty. He managed to get the water back up and running and also instructed me how to do the same, should the problem come back, which knowing my luck would be at 10pm at night in the pouring rain!

Phone calls were made to the landlady.

So today the landlady and 2 men arrived with tools in hand and set about fixing the problem. This involved taking apart the pipework to the pump, pulling all the pipework out from the ground, buying a new pump part which was faulty, connecting everything back together again and then putting it all back into the ground.

It took about 2 hours. It took 30 minutes for the water to run clear again.

Got to love the wiring

The landlady managed to tell us that the reason that the pump part had failed was that I used a shower rather than the mandi. how using a shower is connected to breaking a piece of iron deep in the ground is beyond me. Still she was wrong. She also had to pay a lot of money to get this replaced, so good.
That hole is the route to the water

So my groundwater well still has a large volume of clear water which is not anywhere near safe to drink. The pipes are 18 meters into the ground and that probably is too shallow for all the shit this city produces but there is not much I can do about that.
There are 2 pipes that pull the water up, one sucks it and one pumps it, and between them they make sure there is a constant pressure and flow of water.
The part that failed was made of copper and iron and it had seized, the well now has a new plastic nylon part which hopefully will last more than 4 years and I hopefully won't have to find out.
What I never found out is how the well was made and how someone knew there was water down there, but I will find that out in the long run.

Pipes are all Wavin
 Still it was not all bad. I now have water, I got all the taps fixed over the weekend so they don't leak and the sunset was nice.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Wedding paperwork

3 weeks ago I went to the British Consulate office in Jakarta to swear an affidavit in order to get my Certificate of No Impediment (CNI) so that I can be legally married in Indonesia. For the past 21 days, my notice of intended marriage (NIM) has been posted up on the wall of the Consulate office for all to see, well all those that visit the office to see.
22 days later, that notice is no longer valid and I am now the proud owner of a CNI which means I can marry happily and legally.

The fee of course changed today from 975,000 idr to 1,010,000 idr overnight due to the exchange rate and so that had to be paid before I could receive the certificate.

Now here is the process in its simplest terms, and if this is not what happens for you well it this is what happened for me. The British Embassy Jakarta webpage has the details and information as well but it might not be as clear.

1. Go to the Consulate office and inform them that you intend to marry (NIM)
2. You and your partner will be required to fill out a form about your details
3. Pay the fee (65 pounds) in rupiah and in cash, they wont accept anything else
4. Swear on a bible or quran that you are not already married and free to do so (British citizen only)
5. Sign another piece of paper (Notice of Intended Marriage, NIM) and then leave
6. Return to the Consulate office 21 days later to receive your CNI (Certificate of No Impediment)
7. Pay another 65 pounds, rather the one million in rupiah and then you will be handed the CNI

On the first visit you need your passport and then on the second visit the receipt from the first one as it will speed things along for you.

Very simple and easy.

Don't forget that the Consulate office is open for a staggering 3.5 hours a day (8.30am-12 noon), Monday to Friday and if you ring on a British bank holiday they will be closed. If you ring at 11.55am they will be closed and the choice of options on the phone is a little messy, however the service inside the office was fantastic.

If you are happening to wonder, this is what a CNI looks like.