Tuesday, 26 July 2016

A wet dry season

Jakarta currently is currently suffering more problems than normal and this is being made slightly more worse by the ongoing daily or every other day rain storms and showers across the city. It being the dry season, the amount of rain falling currently makes you wonder if there will actually be a period of time where it will not rain. Last year I think there was at least a couple of months where the rain did stop and everything started to dry out completely until the rainy season began again in November. This year especially this month there has been a lot of storms and heavy showers resulting in more queues, longer rides home and more mud and muck to get through.

Dry season weather seems to be slightly less dry than normal (http://www.thejakartapost.com/)

There has been a fair amount of localised flooding causing the city to grind to halt and its not a happy time getting to and from work.

With the closure of parts of the main roads in the city due to new roads being built over existing ones the density of traffic has become even worse. The governor of Jakarta has also closed all bus lanes to anything but buses, and built concrete barriers along side them all to prevent access meaning that from 3 possible lanes of traffic there are now only 2 available. This and sheer volume of traffic has increased my journey to work by 20 minutes. From tomorrow the city is introducing a new traffic system for odd/even traffic plate numbers in the hope that it will reduce cars and traffic and put people on buses, whilst acknowledging that the traffic will be chaotic else where in the city because drivers will still need to get places. Also there could be far more bikes on the road as the rules only apply to cars and vans and things.

Bus lane full of TransJakarta buses (http://thecityfix.com/)

I have given up taking the easiest and quickest route to work as it takes far too long so I am pretty much taking the same route I take on the way home and it is taking me longer now to get to work than it does to come home which is a change in my journey times. It now takes about 50 minutes to go 18 Km to work and 40 minutes to go home. Considering I am on a bike, the journey by car increases in time to get home by an hour but the same time roughly to get to work because the toll way out of the city is normally pretty empty.

Riding in this is not annoying at all, ever....

I doubt very much the new traffic policies will change things much because the traffic problems will shift as will the times people get into and out of the city to avoid the rules. I am sure once the fines begin then there will some slight improvement and in 2018 once all the building work is complete, maybe it will feel easier to get around the city.

All I know is that on my days  off, heading west or north is not really a fun thing to do and so choosing alternative places to go becomes more of a challenge.

My Journey in April which has a lot of straight roads and was quite quick

My  journey now with lots of roads and changes in direction to get to and from work

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

A week off work

Fasting month ended last Tuesday so that meant I had a week off work. The holiday started on Saturday after work and the first enjoyable event was coming home and discovering that we had no power and the meter would not reset. This meant calling the electricity company (PLN) and waiting for them to arrive. We did this after we went shopping.

On the Monday of the week before the holiday, my Tab Note 10.1 decided to sleep forever. No amount of charging or pressing on or off or anything would bring it back to life. My heavyweight tab I decided, had finished. It was put back in its box. Google was told to delete everything when or if is ever is repowered up and I took my old Tab to work for the week. The plan was to take the note to a service center but that felt like too much hard work and maybe one day I will if I am ever passing one. However on Saturday we had planned to go shopping and there was a Samsung Sale and so I bought yet another tab for less than 4 million.I now have a shiny new Tab A 8.0. 

My new tab

So feeling happy with that and after buying a few bits and pieces it was time to get PLN round for the electricity. 2 men arrived 30 minutes after the call, on a bike and they seemed to be a little rushed as it was close to break fasting but after 3 minutes they had worked out we needed a new trip switch so that was installed. The power back on. Tip given and off they went and the lights were back on.

Monday was spent at home with Jeremy while Yovita had to work but she clearly wasn't that busy because by 4pm we had discussed the idea of going somewhere for a few days to break up the week. We had already booked a night at the Mulia for the weekend and so we decided to stay, yet again, at Batavia Apartments because it was a good price, they are comfortable and the pool and facilities are pretty good for children.

Playing at the pool

We moved in on Tuesday after some shopping for the bits we needed and took Jeremy swimming which he was so happy about. For dinner we had Holy Cow steak and it was quite possibly the worst bit of beef I have had for a long long time but everything else good. As the fasting ended on Tuesday we were in an idea place to see the fireworks being let off across the city and this went on all night as did the prayers from the Mosques. The final break fast is always a very happy event. This event is made happier in Jakarta because so many people leave to celebrate it with family from their home towns so the city is quieter.

Another view

Jeremy inspecting the room

Great views at night

The pool

Wednesday was more swimming and relaxing. I took a gojek to Citywalk for pizzas and coffee and after an annoying confrontation with a taxi driver who would not take me back to the Apartment for less than 50k or use the meter, I jumped on the back of a motorbike and paid 20 instead.

Thursday was spent washing and cleaning and getting ready for moving into the Mulia on Friday.

Friday we did just that. We were even allowed to check in at 1pm instead of 3. So we dumped the bags, went to the mall. Got food and beer and then went back to luxury. Jeremy spent a long time splashing in the bath having lots of fun before crashing out leaving us to enjoy the evening, room service and the peace and quiet.

The view from the room at the Mulia
Jeremy looking at things

Jeremy could not climb onto the bed as it was so high

The corridor outside the room

Sadly, all things come to an end and so the weekend was spent as normal; cleaning, shopping and welcoming back the noise as people came back to their homes in Jakarta.

It was a great week off and lots of fun had by all and a chance to relax and not spend too much cash or get too hot.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Eid Mubarak 2016

Its that time again for the annual exodus from Jakarta to where ever by the good people of Jakarta. The end of the fasting season is approaching and Eid Mubarak is only a few days away. What this means is that many people will travel home to celebrate the end of fasting with their families from their home town.
In reality, according to the press 86% of all people in Jakarta are planning to leave the city over the holiday period. Thats about 8 million people. If they did, the city will be eerily quiet and just great. Sadly more come back than leave. But for 5 or so days, the place has a completely different feel to it and it is nicer.
Naturally taxis are more limited, as is food and some other services but if you don't worry about that stuff then Jakarta is the place to be.
Its is the place to be for me and the family, because of work commitments and the fact I don't like travel in overly busy places, we are staying home to enjoy the silence. There is, I am sure a hotel stay in the coming week. But, it is a week off work and a week of reduced noise and chaos.

So for you people that complain about weekend or holiday traffic, come here and enjoy the spectacle of people going home

Take a ferry

Enjoy the sunrise

Sit in the traffic

Ride in the traffic

Enjoy views of the countryside

Pack the bike on the bike rack

So happy Eid Mubarak to everyone celebrating it far and wide and for everyone else, enjoy the holiday.

* I have taken the liberty of taking photos from: industri.bisnis.com, 7uplagi.com, detik.com, and  TMC Polda Metro Jaya  on Twitter so thank you for that.