Monday, December 31, 2007

Rob's Christmas in Jakarta.........

The kids were so pleased that their favourite pool toy of all time came to visit!
Yet again I managed to get Rob the perfect gift that he didn't know he desperately need! I always try to get him something practical that when he opens I am sure he says in his head "what........". Last year it was an electric toothbrush. A week later he told me he was in love with it. This year I was almost stumped until he arrived and I realized that he can't fit his swollen ex broken ankle in shoes. He is now the proud owner of 2 pairs of Crocs! And he is a convert.....the poor thing has resisted getting any of these very ugly shoes for years, but now knows how supremely comfortable they are LOL.

Here we are comparing broken ankles.

Unfortunately I don't know if he will ever come back to Jakarta.....

On his first trip in June Rob picked up a Bali belly bug on his 2nd day. This trip Rob picked up a chest infection that left him as sick as I have ever seen. He and GJ only emerged briefly on Christmas day for presents and then food.

I will have to get him a big plastic disinfected bubble to walk around in if he ever comes back!
Luckily he is improving fast and is enjoying the last week in Bali.

(where we are going in mid January yipee!)

Things Tan Tan saw

Its great to have visitors and see things with fresh eyes.

Tan loves the flower stalls in Kemang as well as the 3 wheeled baja's.

On the bottom row are some goats along the side of the road waiting for Idul Adha

The Ritz Carlton Jakarta, Sunday Brunch

We have been kicking up our heels again at the Sunday brunch at the Ritz Carlton. It truly is a great place for meeting up with friends and VERY kid friendly.

There is always a free kids club for the kids, which they love.

Over Christmas, the kids club had a special theme of "Lunch with Mrs Claus". For a slightly exorbitant fee the kids got to play with Mrs Claus, decorate HUGE ginger bread cookies, receive photos and a goodie bag. As well as music, fun activities and story time. The kids participated on our first visit and just did the free stuff the next week.

These are the photos from the lunch with Mrs Claus, Tan loved how the kids lunch was served on a bain marie at kids height!
Here is some other photos of around the Ritz. We take K, our sweet junior maid with us (1st picture with my Mom)She makes sure Ben doesn't get into mischief. The kids club is through the foyer and across the hotel from brunch...I don't think that management would approve Ben running through to check on me LOL. I am pretty sure that K likes the food at the Ritz as much as we do.

All these photos are from two separate brunches we went to in December.

Ben is treated like royalty here....after drinking melted chocolate from a bowl (scooped from the chocolate fountain) a lovely waiter brought over linen napkins and gently wiped his grotty face!

The best thing about writing this is that I have already booked the next visit!

Blogging will resume today

I have been told by numerous sources that blogging HAS to recommence ASAP!

Today I will.

Do not expect greatness as the dreaded Typhoid has returned.
Silver lining......I have now lost 7kg (15.4 lb). Hope it stays lost.

I also need quiet a few hours to sort through the nearly 2000 photos I took in December!
Expect photos...many, MANY photos

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Mangga Dua shopping

I had my first shopping experience at Mangga Dua last week. Mangga Dua is suburb in the northern section of Jakarta. It is renown as being a bargain shoppers paradise. It also has a large electronic and computer centre.

This centre was 7 stories high, packed to the rafters with EVERYTHING! There is not much fixed pricing, you need to bargain HARD. My friend Sharon took us and she gets her driver to come and help us bargain.
The array of fake designer handbags and shoes was enormous.

We finished the day off at Sharons favourite nail salon.....a quick manicure and pedicure for all.
The salon was KooKoo in Keb. Baru. It was a great place, not the cheapest but very professional.

Christmas carols at home

The girls treated us to an impromptu performance of Christmas carols the other night.
They were so cute!
Georgia, her friend AJ and Chelsea.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A big, HUGE night out in Jakarta

I had heaps of sentences planed for this post......
for starters...... what a fun family night at Amigos and how it developed into an all nighter......

BUT as I type GJ, ACE, JP and Tan and now CJ are off for another all nighter..............

Yes this this is the elusive Ace T
...having fun with my sister and my friend Jo

This is at 6am when they have arrived home and after I have grounded them.........

GJ was slightly tired.....
I did not let Tan tan sleep...we had to pick up CJ from the airport ( I didn't know what he looked like) so absolutely no sleep for her.

Here is Tan Tan and Janny at Tamman Anggrek after a quick shopping trip before getting to airport. Tan completely missed a nights sleep.

As I type this they have all just head out again for another night on the town.....they do have to be home by 3.30am as we have an early start for our Borobudur adventure....

I have the flu now...yes typhoid was not enough, we need to add the flu as well......

We are off to Jogjakarta tomorrow at an VERY early hour then we will be back...I am sure we will have LOTS of photos.

I am SSSSSOOOOOOOOOOOOOO sick, this is so hard to type.

Please read this now...I am sure I will come back from Jogjakarta and be mortified by my spelling and grammar mistakes and delete this post,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Friday, December 14, 2007

Flash flood in Kemang

A 5 min deluge flooded Kemang Raya for about 15 minutes this afternoon.

Here is Tan Tan on her second day in Jakarta.

Monday, December 10, 2007

No internet yet again

If any one knows how to speak to a person in Indosat PLEASE let me know!

Hopefully internet will be back on soon.......

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Family sun protection policy

We have a strict family policy on sun is basically

no unprotected skin in the sun EVER

We all wear hats (I am very disappointed that my kids and about 2 others are the only kids that wear hats at school play times) and we all apply sunscreen every day after cleaning teeth. The kids even know to apply sunscreen on their ears and necks.
We also live in the tropics, the sun is strong 365 days a year. There is so much light around us we don't have to worry about lack of vitamin D either.
We have all fair skin....Chelsea and GJ are the fairest. Chelsea is an almost blueish white. We don't tan, we just go lobster red then peel. GJ and I have already started the "cut out the skin cancers from your youth" routine......I don't want the kids to have to go through this.
So this makes me so mad......
Georgia went on an end of year school excursion to a water park. With sunscreen on and in her bag.........but no reminders to reapply+ she "forgot".....Her face is red raw, she is in pain and will probably blister and peel.
I hope she learns why we are so insistent on sunblock and that this never happens again.

more health updates........

Georgia went back to school on Monday. She has been complaining of intermittent pains on her RHS as well as depositing her dinner over GJ and I and the floors and walls the other back to the doctors.
We decided to go back to the tried and tested SOS clinic instead of the new convenient Global doctors clinic. At least this time the nurse was able to get the blood sample from Georgia with out incident. The last attempt needed two stabs and the nurse sucking the blood out by pulling on the syringe over about 18 minutes.
We are both on the mend, Georgia has no active Typhiod left and is fine. I'm improving except I now have a kidney and toe infection as well......
The upside, I have lost 4kgs (8.8lb)!
So we are both improving well.

Funny bit
Georgia has grown up with a camera in her face, she smiles and poses like a professional. Yet this morning when I was trying to get a shot of her face it took 16 shots to get one with her eyes open! We were all laughing so hard!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

My Baby Niece

My baby niece is not a baby any more....
She has morphed into a vision of loveliness.

The photo below is taken with her YOUNGER brother, my nephew Jeremy (6'3" at 15!)
Sarah has just graduated from high school and is eagerly waiting university placement(10 more days...).
These photos were taken at the schools graduation ball, isn't she gorgeous!

They all hired a hummer to take them to the ball, it created a huge fuss..I didn't even know they had hummers in Brisbane!

I still remember the day when her mum got the 1st inkling that she was pregnant with only seems like yesterday!

I can't wait for Sarah to come and have a fun holiday in Jakarta!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A stunning candlabra or not?

Georgia won this candelabra at the school bazaar......She thinks it is divine, me ummmmm not!

We compromised on placement, it now decorates our outdoor table with pride.
It just doesn't seem to be liking the heat though......LOL.

Little patches of beauty

We were back at Ibu Sabines house on the weekend, I was sitting on her front porch feeling like death warmed up while GJ organized the financial stuff. The most horrible cloud of smoke, smelling of burning, rotting garbage was all around me. The constant noise from the traffic just outside the gates was throbbing through my head.
I looked up and saw this patch of lush, green beauty.

On that day it summed up my version of Jakarta.........
Dirty, smelly, noisy with pockets of amazing beauty.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

This Cinderella didn't make it to the Scottish ball

I had the dress, I had a ticket, I really wanted to go BUT I did not have the stamina to go to the Scottish ball. This was to be my first ever ball I could walk into (My first ever ball I went in a wheel chair).

This is GJ and his blind empty ball gown LOLI spent the afternoon ringing around trying to find GJ a date (it seemed a shame to waste my ticket). How strange does that sound, a wife trying to find her husband a nice date! As it is the end of year, festive season most people had prior arrangements. My friends husband was stuck in transit somewhere in Asia so GJ was able to escort T. T's husband and GJ's "date" arrived at dessert in time to catch all the fun.

I would love to see all the photos GJ took, but he left the camera in J's handbag!

Apparently all had a great time, GJ made it home before daylight...just! They skipped the breakfast part of the ball, yes the Scottish know how to do a ball......Dinner, midnight supper, early morning snack and then breakfast!

But the highlight for me was that GJ won a raffle prize
2 business class tickets to Bali and 3 nights accommodation in a villa!
We won't have to be the only Australians in Jakarta that have NEVER, EVER been to Bali!

When I get the camera back I will share some more Ball photos.

Friday, November 30, 2007

More Typhoid Fever.....

I haven't been feeling that good the last few days, actually I have been going downhill since last weeks diagnoses.
Fortunately Georgia is doing great and should be fine for school next week.
We went back to the Doctors today and I had another blood test, my typhoid levels have actually risen. I have a resistant strain of typhoid and now need to begin a new course of stronger antibiotics. My liver something or other is too high as well which is adding to the pain and misery.

Culture Shock! Jakarta: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette

Highly recommended reading!

If you are thinking of coming to Jakarta read this!

I have been waiting for this book to come out for a few months!

It has finally arrived in Jakarta.

I picked up a copy in Singapore in late October and devoured the book in a day, I wish it was available when we first arrived in Jakarta.

This book is a very comprehensive guide to life in Jakarta, it should be compulsory for all new expatriates as it makes life so much easier when you understand whats going on around you. Even after living here for nearly 12 months I learnt a lot.

The book was originally authored by Derek Bacon nearly 10 years ago and has just been thoroughly revised and updated by a renown Jakarta Blogger, Jakartass.

Some of the topics covered:-
  • First impressions
  • History, Geography and Politics
  • Fitting into society
  • Settling in
  • Food and entertainment
  • Culture and travel
  • Communicating in Jakarta
  • Doing business
  • Fast facts
My copy of the book is up to the third person on the loan list, hopefully I will get it back soon as it is now available in bookshops in Jakarta.
It is also readily available from Amazon.

I was very impressed with this book and hope you will be too.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

New technology

I take to some new technology really quickly sometimes...and other stuff just leaves me behind.

For example, ipods and MP3 players.....not one in the house...I don't think I have even touched one.
I still get up and change the CD when it is finished (I have progressed past LP's and cassettes LOL)

But a friend has shown me a new trick.....I can load my CD's (i think it is called rip) on to a portable flash drive and then plug it into the home theater system and have hours and hours of music with out getting up.

WOW what a great trick.

I think I might even be able to weed out songs I don't like and slip in a few repeats of favorites.
The other thing that clever friend showed me was that I can have my photos doing a slide show while I listen to music.
I have discovered that the photos I have taken on my new Nikon D40x look fantastic on the big LCD screen!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Its starting to look a lot like Christmas....

The kids had so much fun opening up all the boxes...

We had to find new homes for all the little pretty things
Its starting to look a lot like Christmas...

Lights and wreaths still need to go up...but we have started......

Even a few shops had started to put up small Christmas displays.

It does feel very different than in Australia where the commercial Christmas juggernaut would be in full swing.

We are just counting down the days until Janny and Tan Tan arrive...then CJ and then Rob...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Typhoid Fever

Yes...Georgia and I have managed to pick up Typhoid Fever, even though we were immunised against it before leaving Australia.

Read all about it here on Wikipedia

But don't be too alarmed, we have caught it early and are on a course of strong medicine and should be fine in a week to ten days.

Our main symptom are tiredness, disgusting diarrhoea, fever and aches. Just like a really bad tummy bug...... We have so many pills and potions to take I have had to draw up a schedule.

2007...A broken ankle and now this.

Georgia is most unamused. Worst was that it is confirmed by a blood test! Georgia's blood does not flow easily...took two attempts and even then the nurse had to pull on the syringe for about 8 minutes to get 1 vial of blood. Poor thing was distraught.
Now the problem for her is the disgusting antibiotic she has to chalk filth she calls it.
Georgia has a countdown marked on the white board for every dose until gone, 4 down 26 to go!

We have probably caught this disease from eating food that some one with typhoid has is spread through poor sanitation and fecal matter.

Oh my doesn't even bear thinking about does it.

It doesn't matter how much we wash our hands in antibacterial soap and use disinfected wipes, we can catch if off food handled by people that don't wash their hands. The food can be infected before I get it and prepare it.

One thing I have noticed is that there is mostly no toilet paper or soap in Indonesian restrooms........

I have spent the morning again at Global Doctors with Sarinah (our housekeeper) having her checked out. Sarinah has been feeling off colour for a week now, as are her daughters and granddaughters.....
I think this is going to be an expensive month.....Sarinah's visit, pathology and meds are 2.3millionRP of unclaimable expenses. The positive is that I know she will get well and have proper medication; at a local clinic I couldn't know for sure that she would receive proper medicine. Fake medicine is a huge problem here.

Dr has told Georgia and I to stay away from school for a week and to not handle food. We also need to use separate bathrooms and utensils from the rest of the family

So.....back to bed, hand washing and lots of disinfecting to keep GJ, Chels and Benny safe.

Hopefully we will start to feel better REAL soon, as this is very yucky!

Why I haven't posted so much

I have been getting a few emails lately telling me to hurry up and post some adventures.
I do have lots to tell but have been sick....oh wait until you hear what with....soon !

But with being sick I have been cranky and crotchety.......really cranky!
I seem to have lost some tolerance .
The traffic in Jakarta has been driving me ready to scream like a banshee. I have also had a few service related incidents here that have driven me crazy with frustration.

I don't want to let a few annoyances make it on to the world stage and give out the wrong impression. So I am falling back on the old saying...

If you don't have something nice to say, say nothing!

Next post will be about what Georgia and I have been diagnosed is a beauty!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Dead PC and Bali belly in Jakarta

Evil PC died this week.......not the blue screen of illness but the black screen of death...
I think it has been revived.

It also suffered another setback, it was dropped down the stairs.

It only fell a few steps along with GJ.

GJ was trying to join the broken limb club.....he missed out this time.
He is bruised and has a nasty graze on his head, but is walking and happy!

All the editing on the school individual photos was lost.....I still l have the originals, but not the hours of editing.

Now.....Bali Belly again....Food poisoning, something contaminated, or a bug, I don't know but...I feel sick.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007 other words

We are in the final stretch---- only 3.5 more weeks at school for the year (Southern hemisphere schools run form Jan to Dec).

I don't have time to even read emails let alone blog!

We have also just begun the festive season social whirl. It is so fun to have 5 different functions to attend EVERY weekend...BUT I am noticing how my age is affecting my stamina!

We are all tired during the week but luckily manage to brighten up just in time for Friday night!

I am planning the itinerary of exciting things for all our December international guests.....still haven't even begun to plan food and gifts....Hopefully just having them here will be fun enough and they won't notice the lack of intricately planed gourmet meals that I normally do...

I have found green prawns here but not cooked and alcohol is still unavailable so might be a bit challenging to plan ahead LOL

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sri’s Spectacular Salmon curry, Indonesian

Oh my are going to love this!!!!!

My friend T has a wonderful housekeeper that loves to cook. We have now had this delicious dinner twice, and even the kids liked it. I have been asking Sri for the recipe for ages and have finally got it and translated it and then had it checked by Sri.
The photos are not good or artistic at all, as soon as it was on the table all of us were into is that good!

Sri’s Spectacular Salmon curry

3 red chilies(size depending on how hot you want it)
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons pepper corns
2 pieces of ginger (size of a little finger tip)
2 pieces lemon grass
2 pieces turmeric (size of a little finger tip)

Grind all above ingredients together to make a paste

2 bay leaves
2 kaffir lime leaves
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
1 can coconut cream
400g salmon steaks.
Oil to cook with.

Cut salmon into 2 cm squares
Heat oil in wok until hot and cook paste until smells good.
Add lime leaf, lemon grass, and coconut cream (can add I/2 cup of water if too thick).
When bubbling/boiling add salmon and fresh basil. Cook until just done (approx 2 min). Too long and salmon will crumble.

Please let me know how good it is if you try it...

Friday, November 09, 2007

Dell Dimension 5150

I have spent the last week completing a huge project on the computer.
I have spent hours (20+) on this endeavour. This project is magnificent!
I would love to show you (you should all know by now that I am a shameless show off)
BUT the whole 110MB file is corrupted and I can not open it...............

I do not know why...I do not know how but it is gone.

I am a compulsive saver, every 5 minutes I hit save. It was all ok when I finally finished and saved it. It was only when I made a back up copy that it locked up.

I did not know what to do...I just sat and stared at computer.
I could not understand how it could do this to me.
I was torn between screaming, sobbing or crying........
I ended up having 2 panadols for a throbbing headache and going out to lunch....

I have to start over...the project has to be completed....but what if it happens again?
My computer is upstairs next to a window........will I open the window first or just go with straight through the glass? I am warning you will go down if you muck up again.

Shoes in Jakarta

I bought a new pair of shoes last week and have realised that I have just hit a milestone moment in my life.

I bought a sensible comfortable pair of shoes........................
I went out expressly to buy the aforementioned shoes........

OH NO I am not a shoe aficionado any more!

Since my ankle is still swollen and sore I need support. I need comfort.

Hi my name is Jen and I wear sensible shoes.

I think it will be at least another six months until I can wear high heals again and little strappy numbers have proven not at all suitable for Jakarta. (I was wearing my Crocs when I broke my ankle)

And speaking of broken ankles, guess who is a big copy cat.....

Rob is,
he was plucked from the ocean last week and now has a plate and 12 pins holding his ankle together.........He was given drugs at hospital (not like me, I am quite jealous) but is now at home mastering crutches. He is still coming for Christmas though!

Ball Gowns in Jakarta

It is Ball season here in Jakarta.

And as all women know, you simply must have a new gown for each ball LOL.

No you don't, but you do need more than one!

I decided for the upcoming ball I would like to find a ready made one, hopefully cheaper than what I could get one made for. We are the poor Australian expats, the ones who aren't in the banking or oil industries.

My first foray was to Pondok Indah Mall- Dismal. There was plenty of tiny sizes, zero my size.
I met a nice American lady who was also gown shopping to no avail. This is my favorite mall in Jakarta.

Next attempt was the city, Plaza Indonesia...even more dismal. This time there was plenty to choose from IF you were a prepubescent tween shaped woman.....In the end I just went straight to the sales assistants and asked if there was anything in their shop that would fit me. A few staff members managed to keep a straight face and say no...most burst out laughing and sniggering I KID YOU NOT!
Even if there was something that would of fitted me I couldn't of afforded them. One shop had stunning creations that started at 10 Million, that would be just under AU$1500.

Last attempt was Pasaraya Grande. stock and huge range of sizes. I got a ready made, perfectly fitting, black, full length ball gown for 350 000RP. This is about AU$45. This dress also match's some shoes I already own....GJ is most impressed! I have the dress at the tailors this week lowering the neckline a little which will cost less than $10.

Duty free alcohol in Jakarta

There is another problem at the moment with getting a bottle of wine. Some crack down has occurred...or bribe whoops I mean payment has not been paid.

You can not enter the duty free/wine shops at the moment unless you have a diplomatic kitas card.

Unfortunately stocks were running a little low at home.

Friend to the rescue!

My friends husband works at an embassy here in Jakarta and took me shopping. When her choir group heard about it they all came too..........

10 women all with filled trolleys all saying "we are with her".

The official that was supervising was humming and harring and kept saying no more but we all got through. This was especially fortunate as I was the last in the queue!

Hopefully the correct payment will be made and the right documents filed and the duty free business will be back in operation before the festive season.

There is another non duty free shop in Kemang, Vin+ don't bother ..the shelves are almost empty.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The rains have arrived

The rainy season has day it was still dry and the next rain...and it has rained just about every day since.
Grime has washed is slightly cooler (higher humidity has got here yet) and everything is so green and lush.

I am still running around like a headless google reader got up to over 1000 last week. I deleted everything....but it is creeping up again LOL. I still haven't answered many emails, I will I promise......just don't know when!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween 2007

This is my Halloween capsicum! I wasn't ready to attempt pumpkin, maybe next year.It has a tea light in it and it graced our table every night!

The girls have so been looking forward to Halloween. It is not a big thing in Brisbane Australia.
Here in Jakarta some of the shops in Kemang have had a good selection of decorations and costumes. Kem Chicks even had a man in the car park carving your bought pumpkins.

Wednesday was a Halloween fancy dress day for school. The kids were running around having a ball.l Unfortunately only one other teacher dressed up. I was Miss Jen, vampire queen.

Georgia still managed to do morning exercises dressed up as a witch! The school is making the year book at the moment, I think all the class Halloween photos should make it some great shots.

We didn't get to do anything in the evening, Ben and I have succumbed to the tummy bug going around.........we have spent the last day and night tag teaming the bed and bathroom.
Hope it will pass soon as we have another big weekend planed!

Our first lot of Halloween decorations.