Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Christmas Break in Jakarta

It's that most wonderful time of the year... Christmas holidays. A time for not being at work and relaxing and enjoying some time off. Which is where I am now. Sadly Yovita is working as normal due to her office being open and so this means no trips away from the city but a couple nights out over the holidays, which if that is all there is, then that is all I can have, and I am more than happy with that.
My holidays began with dinner with Yovita after work ( a very rare occasion as we work so far from each other) because I was in a training session in the mall opposite her building.
Friday saw me using Grab bike like I was on fire, to find various last minute gifts and having to keep looking. First I went from home to Pacific place as the toy shop is good and there was a Star Wars display. I found toys for Jeremy but not the other things I needed so I had to move on.

From there I went to Senayan City to look in Sports shops but I found nothing I needed but some very expensive biscuits in Marks and Spencers so after being there I took another Grab Bike to Semanggi.
Happily Semanngi had some of the things I was needing but the mall had no gift wrap or cards so again I had to move on. So, bags in hand I took another bike to Pejaten and with some luck and a fair wind managed to get everything I needed so I took another bike home and nearly all the shopping was done.
The trips around the city cost me 60,000 rupiah in total with the cheapest being 5,000 rp and the max 16,000. If that was taxis then it would have cost at least 200k for the same trips.

Christmas eve had us go to Central Park ( I really don't like it there ) for Marks and Spencers and Next and gifts for Yovita and we found what she wanted so Christmas presents were finished. As I am such a big fan of Central Park, here is a picture.

We needed to go shopping so I went to supermarket underneath it and after wasting an hour of my life and being generally pissed off by the experience, I ate Burger King to feel better before getting in a taxi to go home. 
We kept the taxi while we packed for the night. We were off to stay in a hotel in the city. 

The hotel we were staying at was called the Ayaka Suites and it is a small hotel near Kuningham but still nice. Using we didn't have to pay until the day and after a very quick check in we were off to the room where we stayed until morning.

We had a family room (2 beds) and after the free WiFi was working and room service was eaten we went to the Roof Top for the view, but it was closed for some reason, we went back to the room and played with Jeremy and enjoyed our time.

Christmas morning saw us up early and eating early to avoid the rush. The breakfast wasn't as good as the room service menu but there was enough to eat. After breakfast we opened some Christmas gifts to make the day begin. Jeremy was now very happy.

Once back home, Jeremy found presents under the tree and this made him even more excited and some once ready we all sat down and opened the gifts that we had.

We hadn't really planned anything for lunch so we popped out to Senayan Plaza and to the food hall and got some bits and then for dinner we had fresh spicy pasta with minced beef and Christmas chocolates (beer as standard) and then settled down for the rest of the day with Jeremy playing and making him use all his energy. 

I spoke with my brother in the afternoon which was great and briefly with my parents and that was Christmas. Very busy yet quiet and entertaining but peaceful.

On Boxing day we went to Grand Indonesia so Jeremy could play but he was not that interested so after some food and some more toys we came home. The mall was quiet as many people were still away for the break and so was the local supermarket which was good and so that made shopping easier and quicker. 

For the rest of the week, I have really spent my time with Jeremy and running around with him. There will be more later in the week and on NYE we will be in another Hotel to enjoy the end of the year better and perhaps I will be awake to see 2017 in.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Mangroves Jakarta

 The weekend was extended by an extra day due to a national holiday and so we were sort of getting bored of watching Jeremy running around and screaming and being super busy if it this meant by 7pm he was fast asleep and we had the evenings back so we decided to and visit the mangroves in North Jakarta near the Airport which of course excited Jeremy because he wanted to go to the jungle.

To get there, you need to take the airport toll and get off at PIK2 or where it is signed for the massive Tzu Chi Buddist school if you get to Waterbom its pretty simple to follow.

Not that close to the sea

However we turned off at the wrong toll exit and headed away from it. Then through help of Google maps fastest route went under the toll way and then ended up next to a pumping station with the road for private use closed. The route which does exist isn't a public one so we turned around and headed back to a proper road and eventually found it.

The place is called "wisata alam hutan mangrove pik" and from the outside it looks quite orderly and organised and then there was the prices.

10,000 rupiah for a car
25,000 rupiah for Indonesians
250,000 rupiah for tourist

10x as much for a tourist with no information provided in English or any other language.  10x as much!!!!

I eventually paid 120k for reasons but still felt that the price was so over valued and I think I was probably right.

And you were not allowed to bring or use cameras other than mobile phones unless you paid 1.5 million.

Jeremy was however, very happy and we walked along some paved areas looking at monkeys in small cages not really that engaged rather bored looking. There were boards for hire but they started at 350k so we didn't do that instead followed the paths to mangrove.

Map of the area

As you walk in
Typical view

Still rubbish floating around in the water

Still some beautiful parts to look at

 The paths out into Mangrove were made of bamboo so the walking was slow and I had to carry Jeremy as he decided he didn't like walking on it because of the holes and gaps but he was happy to see fish and some crabs along the way. He was even more happy at the sight of the aircraft overhead every 5 minutes as they came into land at the airport nearby so much so by the time we left he wasn't even bothered!

Safer than it looks....

The parts we saw contained Mangroves and lots of signs to say which companies had held a sponsored mangrove planting event there. It wasn't too crowded as we arrived fairly early. It was peaceful enough but whether I would stay a whole day and explore I don't know. You are not permitted to bring your own food or liquids in rather rely on the restaurant provided and the drinks that they sold. Having a 3 year old sort of negates that so that was good.

You can also stay overnight there in various levels of accommodation from villas to camping which whilst looking good on the outside must be hot on the inside as there was no visible ventilation and the aircraft must keep you awake all night. There wouldn't be anything to do at night except go into PiK and eat and then come back for a night sleeping in a swamp.

These are camping huts set in the water

The roof comes very close to the water but it doesn't touch

All in all, we never saw enough of the mangrove as Jeremy dictates what we see and where we go but there was a feeling that there was a lot of it and that with exploration you could see more. The overall site was at some point well maintained but it is looking quite shappy and less cared for with limited signs and maps as well as people to ask or give advice. 

250k per tourist? No not worth that. Value for money - no not really. Jeremy content, yep so mission accomplished.

Hiding in the mangrove which is a shame

So a couple of hours later, after climbing on things and running around looking for spiders we headed back for McD breakfast and more playground antics for Jeremy before getting home for the afternoon and chilling with Jeremy and enjoying the rest of the public holiday.

Monday, 28 November 2016


Had a weekend off and so it was spent being very busy on Saturday and very relaxed on Sunday. Recently we haven't really done much due to Jeremy and work and because the weekend is really devoted to time with Jeremy I choose not to do much else.

But this was at the movies:

Care of
and being a JK Rowling fan, we took time out to see the movie and good it was too. And now the long wait for the next one.

However, before that, we took Jeremy to McDonald's at Kemang so he could play in the playground there. He has been there before and so was excited about going there again. We took him on the bike between myself and Yovita. He held on for dear life but then we all do that and he loved the trip, talking incessantly as he does about everything and anything.

After a McD breakfast (which is always welcome) Jeremy ran off into the tubes for about 45 minutes until he got frightened after getting into the top cube and not being able to get down. So dad got into the thing and forced him down. After some milk, and a chance to cool down he was raring to go. But we went back home and he can visit there again sometime soon.

Never more happy than when he is running about and climbing and the play set at McD is fairly quiet and just about big enough for him to exercise some of his energy away.

After getting back we took a Grab to Setiabudi 1 which is a small plaza with coffee shops and restaurants in and a 4 screen cinema. And with it being Saturday lunchtime it was nice and quiet so on unlocking the doors we were first for tickets and pick of the seats and for 50,000 each it was a good place to go. there had to be leas than 30 people in the entire cinema which was nice. 

Then on the way back we decided to stop and buy something for Jeremy and so we got him this.

Hot Wheels Dead man's curve, which as he likes ghosts and spooky buildings was exactly what would keep him quiet for a few hours. I believe Jeremy is totally impressed as he has even tried to take to bed to sleep next too and when I woke up Sunday and this morning, there it was next to me and he was already playing with it. 

Good job Mum and Dad.

Still its Lego for Christmas

Sunday saw us relaxing in a coffee shop for a hour or so and then after shopping playing with said toys and me trying get Jeremy focused enough to look at letters and begin to learn the alphabet, but it didn't go well so we did some colouring instead.  

Thursday, 10 November 2016

After the storm

On Friday there was a huge political demonstration involving around 100,000 people who were gathered in Jakarta to protest about the current governor and his use of a word or phrase from the Quran. With the governor not being Muslim and misquoting the Quran he tipped the scales and has ended up in rather hot water with people demanding his arrest, he is put in prison, death and other things. That and they don't like a non Muslim being in charge.
So much so the president has demanded it gets sorted out and quickly.  Anyhow as a result, a load of hardliners, and other militant and peaceful Islamic groups from around the whole country met up in Jakarta, made the place come to a standstill and after 6pm (the time when the demonstration was legally meant to end) some of the less tolerant ones started kicking off resulting in a riot and lots of fear. Not really helpful because the rest of the day had been very well controlled so the riot only served to prove that there cant be a demonstration here without violence.

On Sunday, we decided to go to the National Monument and park with Jeremy so he can run about a bit and Yovita could go running and I could get up early and enjoy the park. So we did. After the usual farce of not getting a taxi to the house because no one can find it, we found one ourselves and headed to the Monas. It was very crowded for a change but it was also car free day and I guess people wanted to go out after the Friday issues.

Jeremy loves to run and in the grounds he can do just that and its great because I can get to chase after him and it keeps me fit too!

So we ran around the place until we saw buses and he wanted to go and look at them and then from there I saw a some police vehicles and many police men still around just in case there would be any further trouble around the area, so went to look at them and he became fascinated with the images from his shoe treads after walking on the wet grass for a while until Yovita came back and so we went off for breakfast.

As usual we took the wrong gate and then the wrong bus so we got off the bus, and then took an Bajaji to McDonalds and ate there. We wanted to go shopping after the walk so we had the taxi take us to the local supermarket but we couldn't park as  it was keep fit and full of sweaty women stretching so we went to another one and eventually once the shopping was done got home.

Monday, 7 November 2016


I recently was lucky enough to be able to visit my first school where my adventure in Indonesia and Jakarta began; EF Cengkareng. It was the first time I had been back to this part of the city for a good few years and getting there soon brought so many memories flooding back to when I was a teacher and school and area I lived and worked in.

The center itself had been completely updated and it is now nice and modern and for me still has a great feeling and environment. The teachers room had not been touched too much and so my old spot was still there and again the room felt the same as it did when I was a teacher.

New and shiny inside

It used to look like this

Back in 2007
My old working space today 
Last surviving part of the old DoS office, the window

Unsurprisingly little had changed. Being out west there is a lot more space and green than where I live now and the pace of life seems a little less frantic. The traffic was its usual self as I remember it but everything was still the same basically around the center. Gone was some stores and hairdressers next to the EF and the Giant and AW had turned into a big Super Indo and I was told Pizza hut had moved as well. But the Dunkin Doughnuts was still there as was the dodgy car park booth and access.

Still pretty much the same now as it was then

From outside in 2007. Nothing really new except the sign is now Magenta (Pink)

Sometimes it is nice to go back  somewhere and spend time there and just enjoy the memories of the place. It never made me want to return and stay but it made the day more fun.