Sunday, 23 April 2017

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Monday, 10 April 2017

Bikes

Well, I have been away for a while and now I think it is time to come back. Perhaps, soon I might even tell you why, but for now lets talk about Motorbikes.

I have just received the licence plates for my latest motorbike or matic. A Honda Vario 150 matic. It is heavy, black and fast. We changed up from the MX because Jeremy has school this year and so it will be easier to ferry him about and also shopping is simpler on a bike like this.



However, we had to wait a while for the plates. We have been messed about by the dealer and a few other things but the bike is great and I think it will be a change to use a matic rather than a clutch or kick down one. 

Also it is a Honda. I started out on a Honda back in 2008 but then changed to Yamaha.


My clutch red Yamaha MX was fantastic and true joy to ride and with its bigger wheels made puddles and holes in the road a little easier to pass. 



My Black Yamaha MX was also great but it was a kick down which was a different ride to the Red one. It had 4 gears not five but it was a great bike.



My first bike, was a Honda Supra Fit 1lt and was second hand but well looked after and it taught me the basics of riding in Jakarta. Slow and prone to stalling it was just about able to ferry me around. I was not sorry to see it go when it did, however it was a great starter bike.

For those that see large bikes, fast bikes in their country, Indonesia just isn't the place for large MotoGP bikes. 250cc bikes are fast and loud and available and twice as much as a 150cc. 

150 cc is the largest sized engine you can have for an automatic here and it is a step up from the 135 cc Yamaha's that I had. 150 cc are normally bigger bikes such as the Yamaha Vixion or Honda Mega but there are so many bikes to choose from, you need to pick wisely. 

Motorbikes are the number 1 form of transport for nearly all as they are cheap, reliable and easy to use. So with the amount of bikes on the road there is no sense in having a bike with a larger engine (unless you want to show) because the average speed is around 30 kph on the way to work and on the way home 15. 15!!

Jeremy already has a helmet and will be wearing when out and about and off to school and he is already learning how to behave on a bike. This means no jumping up or down or sudden movements and the hold on to me and he likes to go on the bike so that he can see more buses, trucks and things as we ride about but I don't like to take him far because whilst fun, its not that safe not that good as an idea.




Tuesday, 10 January 2017

10 Years later

It was a cold rainy morning when I left my parents house back in January 2007 to get the bus to the travel lodge at Gatwick where first thing the next morning I would board an Ethihad plane and fly to Jakarta, stopping in Abu Dhabi for a bit before the long stretch across the Indian Ocean and then arriving in Jakarta.

Back in 2008

10 years ago, phone in hand

Since then I have returned to the UK only twice and whilst I perhaps should have returned more often, I have been more than happy here. Knowing that the future here is more cloudy and uncertain than being in England adds an edge to life and also has taught me how to cope and accept what I have rather than what I think I need.

I also got married and we now have a healthy if not a large overly energetic 3 year old who will be starting school this year! 

July 2013
July 2012




















My work has seen me move from being a teacher to a senior training manager (its a title) and from Cengkareng by the airport to Puri Indah by the toll way. My job is as diverse and challenging as ever and the grey hairs it has given me are probably all down to the fact that I take what I do seriously and want to succeed.  My home has taken me from shared teachers houses to apartments to small housing where I was robbed to the current over valued house I am in now. But where we are is great for Jeremy because he is near all Yovita's family and so that helps him grow and be among people who care for him. 

Ten years in Jakarta and despite a cough and the odd stomach bug I still believe I am strong and fit although running upstairs is often a challenge but that might be because I am not used to it. I ignore the heat more but stay out of the sun. I eat more fresh food and less processed food but never turn away junk food. 

With Jeremy (almost the same height)
10 years later phone still in hand
Me and Jeremy 2017

2017 will provide hopefully less stressful work related challenges and more new family experiences and with a fair wind and a strong sail the storms that the year will bring will be weathered pretty easily. 

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Day trip

Before the new year we took Jeremy on a trip across the city for something to do and for him to travel by bus and train because it keeps him happy and me too!

Our aim was to take a bus from home to Jakarta old town (Kota Tua) and then the train back to the nearest point to home and have fun along the way. And with it being Friday before the long New Year holiday we hoped the traffic and crowded buses would be less. And actually we were right.



The map above shows the routes from our home. The grey is for the bus and the red is for the train. We took the bus and then changed at Semanngi where we had to walk or run after Jeremy, to catch another bus to go north. However instead of riding the bus  all the way, we became hungry and so got off at Thamrin had breakfast at McDonald's and then we decided not get back on the bus, rather to travel by train to the old town.

That meant getting a Bajai to the nearest railway station at Gondandgia for the same price as the bus (3500 rupiah) we got on a train. By this time Jeremy was very excited. But, the train seemed to stop every 5 minutes for 5 minutes for no real reason all the way to the terminal and so the trip took almost and hour and far longer than the bus would have done and that was annoying. Luckily the train was almost empty and so we could sit and and wait in relative peace.



 The final stop was Kota Station or Stasiun Kota and it is a grand old Dutch Railway building with a corrugated iron roof but it is for commuter trains only. For travelling across the country you have to go from Gambir. The platforms are shorter than the trains and so you have to walk down the train to a set of steps to get off it and then walk amongst the crowds to get to the building.





Outside the station it was its usual chaotic self and with Jeremy demanding to wee ( he is practically toilet trained, like the rest of us ) we had to go somewhere quickly and so we ended up at Cafe Batavia.

Cafe Batavia is an old historic upmarket Cafe on the corner of the old square surrounded by old Dutch buildings which are now all museums. It is a lively place and full of tourists, selfie sticks and people riding bikes.







After a quick refresh and photo stop around the square, we decided to move on again and so we headed off in a taxi to find lunch and toys for Jeremy in the nearest mall.

Travelling across the city is fun and quite simple if you know the routes and its not expensive if you use the bus or train. All the Buses we use have AC as do all trains. Taxis are expensive but vital to get somewhere quicker and a welcome respite from people and crowds.