Sunday, 24 March 2013


I have been using laundry services here for a good few years now since I have lived on my own and it has made more financial sense to choose this way than get a washing maching and an Iron and then spend my days washing and ironing my clothes instead of doing anything else. And for 7000 a kg everything always comes back clean, pressed and smelling fresh.

However as with most things everywhere in the world, machines break down and systems are never faultless and so over the years I have lost a tie here and there, some socks and more recently some T-shirts and shirts   and now all my shorts.

Socks and Ties are not that important. But the t-shirts and the shorts have travelled with me for a very long time. 7 years to be exact but thats not really the point.

So after moving house we have also moved laundry service to one which is more popular but same price and in the last 2 weeks I have 2 pairs of expensive shorts go missing. After visiting the laundry to complain several times, they have said that they will check and let us know if they have gone missing they will pay 45,000 idr as a form of compensation. 45,000 is nowhere near the price of the shorts or the other clothes lost.In fact that is about a tenth of the price to replace with new.

Not being Indonesia in size, I guess my shorts would be sort after as I am an English 36 around the waist and so would be ideal for someone here who is struggling to find new shorts to fit. The other more concerning point is that; on the odd occasion I have had extra clothes (t-shirts, underwear etc) in my clean laundry and I have always returned it as I have no desire to wear strangers clothes especially pants and I do find it weird that other people or rather the locals here don't.

If you see anyone in Indonesian who is wearing that 'FROME' t-shirt, it is mine, it is the only one in this country and it is not theirs. Do tell them that. Ask them where they got it. If they say 'in a shop in Frome' then it is truly theirs. Otherwise its mine. Take their photo so at least I can see how they look!

The shorts too in this picture have also gone missing only last week.

So after all this, I have had to go and buy new shorts which in my size and the fact I am more than particular in style and colour led me to Senayan City to buy them. I guess the 45,000 I will get will cover the cost of the taxi if nothing else.

I guess I should buy a washing machine. I will put that on the list....

Friday, 22 March 2013

Passport Renewal update

After a month or so of waiting I am now the proud owner of a new Passport. It has taken a month mind and the first news I received telling me it was on its way was through the Credit Card charge which appeared but no actual direct contact.

My first post about the process is here:

But back to the process.

I send my passport details, photo etc, to the UK consulate in Hong Kong via FedEx through their International Priority mail back in February and it left on a Tuesday and arrived in Hong Kong on the Friday. So much for it being a priority!
Still it was almost  fun to track my envelope as it was shipped through Asia.

Then nothing.

The credit card charge actually happens regardless of whether the passport renewal form is correct or not which is not very helpful but there is nothing you can do. I was charged $1895 HK dollars which is the 2.6 million rupiah for the process.

Finally on Wednesday this week,  I was handed an A3 DHL envelope and being hardly able to contain my excitement, I found 3 small pieces of paper. One to tell me that my Passport is being processed and will be sent to me direct from the UK via DHL and 2 receipts for charge.

The actual fee for the Passport was $1640 with another $255 HK dollars for the posting and packaging of it to the UK.


And that was that.

Finally Yesterday, Another bright yellow envelope again A3 size arrived this time with my shiny new passport and an invitation to be Organ Donor.

So I am now the proud owner of 2 passports, one which is brand new and is not needed at this moment in time and the other which is being processed by Immigration somewhere in the city.

All bit of a drama really.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Trip to Singapore

One of the drawbacks of living and working in Indonesia is that you have to go to out of the country at certain points to renew your working visa and if your visa is like mine then that means annually.
At some point over the past few months there has been a glitch in the system resulting in Immigration not being able to grant me permission to renew my existing visa and so since January I have been on a tourist visa which is apparently perfectly legal and not dodgy at all and I have accompanying letters to prove it. I also never saw my passport for 2 months as it was living in Immigration either at Kota Tua or in Kunginhan and the panic from above has resulted in me getting a new passport as my current one has less than 4 empty pages left and that is a source of concern and technically makes life harder when you try to leave the country, however as that is a source of discomfort that is all I am prepared to say about that in my blog.

So finally I was given the nod and told I would be off to Singapore for the day to renew my visa for the year and on Friday last week I went.

The day started at 3am because I had a taxi booked at 3.30. By 4.15 I was in the airport terminal and queuing to check in for the 6.30 flight to Singapore with Lion Air. You have to pay the airport tax at the counter of 150,000 idr and then from there get through immigration. Immigration depending on the officer and the mood he or she is in can be either really simple or very stressful with them asking far too many questions about what you have been doing, where and with who. Luckily for me I am just stamped out and there were no problems.

I have not flown internationally for a year and so the departure area whilst still shut and depressing at 4.30am has changed a little. Starbucks is still there if you turn to the left and head towards gate D and now before that is Old Town Coffee, which as I was too lazy to walk to Starbucks was a welcome place to sit and drink rather good coffee and also they do some great fried eggs on toast.
Fuelled up and full of coffee I met one of my teachers who was also getting her visa and went to the boarding gate.
Jakarta Airport has actually installed some security, belts and shoes off, phones etc off and in a tray and lots of manual checks which was both annoying and good to see at the same time.

Even at the Airport, there are traffic queues

The flight from Jakarta to Singapore was on time and no problem. Nothing of any real interest happened nor should it. I was next to an exit so I had extra leg room and that was good. I cant sleep on planes so I remained awake while the man sat next to me did a good job at trying to keep the whole flight awake with his snoring.

Landing at Singapore we traversed the security, got stamped into the country without any issue, got into a Smart Taxi and $23 Sing Dollars later were with the agent who collects and processes the passports. The meeting place is by the Hilton hotel and for new teachers and people working in Indonesia it all seems  a lot dodgy but it works so why worry.
By 10am the day was ours and for the next 6 hours we were free to do what ever we pleased. My teacher went off on her own and I stumbled to a restaurant to eat and wake up.
After a while I got bored so I took a walk ending up in a place called Redhill. From there I jumped on the MRT to China Town.
China town was busy and bustly and there was quite a lot of things to do there. I had a good wander round and then got suddenly tired and bored and so jumped back on the MRT and back to ION mall and Orchard Road.

At 4pm the Agent arrived at the designated meeting spot (McDonalds) and with my passport and visa all correct, I met my teacher and we jumped back on the MRT to the Airport to catch the last flight home and get some sleep.

Lion Air was only 25 minutes late taking off so we got back around 10.40pm and after another hassle less Immigration encounter we were met by our driver and took home. With my teachers living and working in Puri Indah it is now a mere 20 minutes on the toll from the airport and once she was dropped off, it was or rather should have been a fast tol road home. However, Indonesia being Indonesia and Jakarta being Jakarta, we did not realise that once 10pm comes then all the trucks that are banned from entering the city during the day, enter the city and so it took an hour to go from Meruya toll to Tomang where we promptly got off the toll and 40 minutes later, I was home.

It was a good but rather long day (at 21 hours all ) but I am pleased to have my visa and for a change it was a good trip and a nice day away from the city.

Happily enough I wont have to go back for some time now which is even better news....

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Yamaha Bike Service

Compared to Honda there are far fewer service or repair shops for Yamaha. Living in an area full of motorbikes there are hundreds of little stores that service or allow bikes to be serviced on site. Opposite my house there is a bike repair shop which deals mainly for punctures and tyres, the odd oil change and the owner is always to happy to put more air in your bikes tyres for you. I use him now and again. He helped sort out my chain when it was too loose and for 5,000 rupiah I had the chain tightened and the tyres checked. You cant argue with that.
However, me being me and having a total lack of knowledge or interest in how any machine works I am more than happy to have my bike serviced in a Manufacturer approved Yamaha repair shop so that I can feel more confident that the bike is OK, well maintained and wont let me down.

I have found luckily in every area where I have worked or lived a reliable Yamaha service repair shop and they have all been OK except the one in Kebon Jeruk which managed to damage by front wheel when it replaced the tyres for me back in April.
A service center for that post.

My bike is a Yamaha Jupiter MX 135cc and is just over 3 years old and has just over 19,000km on the clock which is good. It has been serviced 12 times but not as regularly as it should have been but it still goes fast enough.

To date the following has been replaced:

Oil (many times)
Brakes front and back (several times)
Spark Plugs
Throttle cable
Wheel bearings
Chain and mesh
Air filter

and the cost for all that is no more than 2 million in 3 years which is pretty good in my opinion. Add the fuel costs I have spent over the last 3 years of lets say 8.5 million and that's 10.5 million spent over 3 years which is fantastic.

Breaking down the service costs for parts

Basic Charge                   40,000
Brakes                             75,000
Brake pad                        15,000
Oil                                   29,000
Bearings                          83,000
Missing cover screws         2,000
Throttle cable                   60,000
Spark Plug                       12,000
Chain and Sprocket       159,000
Oil etc for chain               20,000
Brake shoes                    52,000
Coolant                           36,000
Air Cleaner                     35,000
Tyres each                   200,000

These are what I have been charged and so don't quote me as I am sure the price will be different here and there but it is a good guide.

I also normally Shell for fuel rather than Pertamina mainly because the service is quick and friendly, there are no queues and the actual fuel is slightly better for the engine, however I do sometimes use the subsidised fuel and it does save me money. 50% normally. But riding home after a long day,  I really just want to get home so stopping in a Shell station and refilling takes about 5 minutes tops whereas Pertamina can be double and they will spill the fuel and not clean it up where as Shell does!

The bike today

When the time comes to replace the bike through old age and a feeling of the real need for something else then I will continue with Yamaha. I have had a Honda but up to now (as I touch wood) my bike has not stopped, broken down or refused to start ever, the Honda did.