Monday, October 09, 2006

Jakarta, Monday 8th October 2006

We visited the Australian International School today. It had a lovely atmosphere and we met two other Australian mums with kids the same age as ours. They were friendly and were very happy with the school. The class sizes seemed small and quite multicultural. The school was well resourced with computers and facilities and the kids all seemed happy.
We are off to the New Zealand School tomorrow. We want a school that follows the southern hemisphere calendar; that is the school year starts in February and ends in Nov/Dec. This way the kids will have their summer holiday while we move and will have a smooth transition into the next grade.
After this we took GJ to his office complex and the kids and I headed off to the American Womens Association/Community centre. This centre has all the local expat guides and maps in English. It is manned by volunteers and also sells a range of knick knacks.
We got stuck in a traffic jam. In Brisbane it would have taken me about 10 minutes to drive, I was expecting 35-45 min in Jakarta, but it took us one and a half hours! Of course after the first hour all the kids were all busting to go to the toilet. Georgie is whimpering and I am expecting an accident from her or Ben any second and Chelsea was being a tease by talking toilets and running water. ! We finally get there. I ask the driver if the kids can use the bathroom; at this stage I just thought that the centre was closed, not that we were imposing on a PRIVATE HOUSEHOLD!!!! We find out that the centre moved SEVEN years ago!
We go into an Indonesian bathroom and as the smell is different to what Ben is used to HE THROWS UP ALL OVER THEIR FLOOR, (and Chelsea) I was mortified. By this stage I had realizedd that we were in a stranger's house imposing on them. The ladies were very nice and sweet about it all.

Now, I have something else to be mortified over.........
I am new to tipping; it is just not done in Australia. We have been told that in restaurants a service charge is automatically added but in other instances you can tip. I am still struggling to get my head around the local currency and when I am flustered I forget all the exchange rates. I thought that I should give this lady some money for letting us use her facilities, so I gave her 2000rp. She tried to refuse many times and I insisted.
When we got back to the hotel I ordered room service for the tired cranky vomit crusted children and tipped the deliverer 1000rp. (I did bathe them while we waited. ) He looked at me strangely.
I have realized that I gave the man 14 cents and the lady 28 cents.
I don't know what to be more mortified about, vomit on a nice strangers floor or insulting them with a pitiful gift of money.

Now if GJ was home I could have gone to the mall and consoled myself with a new pair of shoes (joking here....I don't have that many shoes!). But as he won't be back until 6-7 pm, I ordered a half carafe of wine for later and put the littlies to bed. I then went one floor done and had my hair done while Georgia watched cable. Luckily they are quick and just as Georgie rang to say Ben had woken, I was finished.

So it is now late afternoon and every one is happy. I have smooth hair and a glass of wine (champagne is too hard to find) and the 3 kids have colouring in books and Disney playhouse on cable. All is well, for now LOL


Kaci said...

I had a similar tipping goof when in Switzerland -- I left my cheat sheet at the hotel & tried to guesstimate. Apparently I over compensated, however - later realized I'd given him something like $30. Oops.

brad said...

People tip here in the states. I don't like, but have to do it. If you want more money then increase the price for the thing/service and don't nickel and dime me to get more. I liked traveling in the UK, where thay don't tip.

Here the latest rate I knew of was $1US per piece of luggage handled, and other things like that are scaled based on that, except restaurants which are 15-20% of the total.

The previous hawkers story would put me off of wanting to live there, but there are other compensations for you, so it works out :-)

Good luck.

Munchkin Land said...

Ohhh, that carafe of wine sounds wonderful!! I'm so sorry the tipping thing threw you off, you'll get the hang of it soon.

IndCoup said...

you tipped a guy Rp1000? hahahaha!
If i did that, he'd wack me!!

great stuff...