Monday, 24 November 2014

Renting in Jakarta

I think we might be on the move and after 2 years we will probably look for something a little smaller and not so expensive.
The house we are in is rented and there is no real chance of us buying a property just yet due to one thing or another so we need to keep looking and work out the best way to do that. 

The rent of the house is in my opinion over priced and with the cost of everything else increasing balancing everything is becoming too difficult. The house is a 3 bed 3 bathroom affair in the middle of everything. It is 3 years old yet has problems with a leaking roof, cracks in the wall, wonderous plumbing and the phone signal around the house is getting worse everyday. It still has a great view, ideal location and plenty of space but I am beginning to tire of the noise from the bike shop and the constant worry when it rains of where the next leak will come.

Looking into the Kitchen

Naturally the landlady remains absent and unattached to all this, rather just sits and waits for the rent to be paid and lets the house continue to not be maintained, which is a shame. I think the approach from the landlady is that there always someone who will live there and therefore pay the money, but this will come at a price to her because if she wants to rent it again so much will need to be repainted or repaired to make it more viable. She not set foot in the house since we rented it in 2012. 

However, searching for property to live in is not as easy or as hard as people make it out to be. You can go on line and search for property for rent or sale or pop into the various estate agents who will help you and give you a price and then when they see a westerner give another price because we are all far richer than those in Indonesia, yet I dont have a house or a car so hows that? Or you can roam the many streets and see what is being locally advertised and then send in all those that are not Indonesian to look at the place and negoiate a price before the westerner is seen and yep the price will go up again. The second option is cheaper and far easier.

So yesterday we rode around the streets close to home looking for places that are for rent and found 3 or 4 places with phone numbers displayed which we will follow up and ask how much is the rent, how big and how many bedrooms. We cant really move too far away from where we are now due to the school Belvan goes to, the closeness of work for Yovita and the fact that her family is within walking distance and that is good news for her and the kids. Plus if we move too far away then the cost of transportation will negate any saving on the rent over the year and therefore potentially be more expensive. The final reason  we have to consider is if we lose our current housekeeper (it took 5 months to find this one) then we have to again rely on Yovitas family and my working hours for child care which becomes more stressful by the minute for all. 

Not the best view in the world but its the one I have

I hope we can find something we can settle into for even a year while we work out what comes next. Of course if we cant then we will stay where we are and look again next year, but in the mean time all the housing in and around Mampang and Pancoran seem to be turning into guest houses therefore shutting out people with families who want to live there. I guess we would ultimately be forced to move somewhere else where there is more affordable housing but further from everywhere we want to be. 

If we do stay then I guess I will have to buy some paint and give the place fresh look as it does need it. The roof can continue to leak and the plaster cracks widen but I am sure a coat of paint will make things better in some ways. Afterall, I live in a country where painting over the cracks is the solution to most things.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Ocean Dream Samudra Ancol

The idea taking Jeremy to the zoo and see animals has for a very long time appealed to me. Mainly because when he looks at his books or sees fish in the local ponds he gets very excited. So we planned to take a Friday off work, hire a car and driver and go to Taman Safari for the day. But as it turned out it became too expensive, what with the number of adults going and the cost of the fuel and car for the day so we opted for Ancol and Sea World. Sea World has been closed down due to a land ownership issue so that was that out of the question. 
After a little bit of searching for things to see at Ancol for a very young child we eventually came across te Samudra Oceam Dream place which boasted bird gardens and Animal shows and also a dolphin show. We took that option. 

Ancol is a vast area of north Jakarta and is on the coast. It is very easy to get too, however because it is privately owne you have to pay to get in. 4 Adults and a car cost 120,000 which was fair enough as there is enough free stuff to do there, although you still need to pay for the parks and rides and events. 
We arrived around 8am and is was very quiet, getting hot and the only people there were the joggers and I guess the locals getting their daily fish from the fishermen waiting. It was nice. 

We wandered about there for an hour and stopped at a beach and took a walk along a walkway over the sea and so by 9am, we were ready to go to Ocean Dream.

The tickets cost 100k and I think Jeremy was free and apart from the several hundred school kids and mums and 3 nuns we were one of around 4 families there. The benefits of going on a school day I suppose. The park itself looks a little shabby and under maintained yet the grounds were clean and free of litter and the facilities were all good. The restaurants were not open so you could not buy any food but you could buy ice cream or water etc. It is not a big place and you could easily wander around it all in under 20 minutes. 

The first thing to see was an animal show. This comprised of 2 otters playing basketball and pushing things about. 3 parrots dancing and doing something else not too interesting and a Sun Bear driving a go cart and a few other things. The school kids liked it. I was hot. Jeremy was interested but hot and tired and I dont think he really understood any more than I did and it was very noise, oh and hot. This show lasted about 20 minutes which was good for the animals and enough for me.

After that, we skipped the Sea lion show and found a place to rest in the mother and bay room which had AC and chairs. The dolphin show was on around 11.15 so we went to the place to sit and watch. Outside in a big covered tank, like a bandstand but full of water were 2 dolphins swimming round and round and round but they seemed happy enough. The dolphin show was in a big open tank of water with seating in stands. The whole thing had half a roof to keep the sun out but it kept the heat in.

The dolphin show was entertaining I think. Jeremy seemed to enjoy it when he was watching. The dolphins swam about and jumped through hoops and played with balls and did some counting etc and it was pretty good. It lasted no more than 30 minutes and by then we were all hot, hungry and feeling the need to leave, and we did.

Leaving Ancol behind we took the short trip to the Marina and Sunda Kelapa for food and drinks and enjoyed the view of the sea and boats that had moored there. By 3.30pm we were back home. Jeremy had fallen asleep and the rest of us were just tired. But it had been a good day.

I never tire of this view from the Marina

The cost of the car+fuel+driver+lunch+tip was no more than 600k and Ancol was just over 400k so for less than 1.4 million it was a day well spent and Jeremy did enjoy it, see something new and have fun somewhere new. 

But I wish they would open Sea World again. It was good as far as I remember it. 

Walking with Jeremy in Ancol

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Jakarta Days

Hooray its a holiday for me and I am away from work for the next few days. However its only going to work that stops, nothing else. I am still awake by 5.30am and staggering around the house by 6. The fact that I have run out of coffee does not help the staggering thats for sure.

So todays plan was to ride about the city on the bus stopping here and there for food and drinks and then by the afternoon find a quiet bar and wait for Yovita to finish work and then go home with her. However with her working in a hotel today and fact I dropped my motorcycle helmet causing the visor to come off has changed all that.

I still took the bus but not for a joyride but for purpose. I had to go to the bike helmet store in the whole of the city that has my size and that is in Citraland, in the west of the city. So I got to the Transjakarta bus stop and they have decided that this route now uses electronic payment only and so I had to buy a card for 40,000 to ride a bus for 3,500. Still the bus was new and I got a seat. 30 minutes later I was at the mall which was good and just a little slower than if I went on my bike.
The helmet store opens at 11 so I waited and had a coffee and then bought the only helmet there that fitted me. Another NHK helmet but I like them and whilst they are more expensive they do the job.

Thursday morning Traffic

Citra Land, West Jakarta

My new Helmet, with Jeremy for scale

So then I took the helmet all the way home as it was cumbersome to carry again on the bus and the bus once it decided to leave got me across the city in no time and after a quick walk I was home.

20 minutes later I was on an Ojek to another bus stop and this time to take a bus to the centre so I could have beer and good food near Sarinah in Ya udhas bistro. However, this bus route does not take electronic cards so I had to pay cash and then wait 30 minutes for the crappest bus in the fleet but again the lack of traffic in the bus lane allowed me to get to Sarinah in good time.

Rules of the bus including no touching Women

Whilst the door just about closes, the fact it closes to a gap is a wonder

Ya Udahs is always a good place to go and this time, pork sausages and beer were enjoyed before I moved on to Starbucks (where I am typing this ) and making use of the really slow and pretty poor free internet,  but it is working.

I found this notice in the toilets in the building where Starbucks is. The toilets however have no soap, hot water, hand dryer or towels so it seemed a bit over the top.

Ebola is taken very seriously here apparently

Can you even get to play with monkeys and baboons here?