Sunday, February 25, 2007

Jakarta 23-25th February 2007

Friday was a bit of a hectic day.....It is hard to get from one place to another and
still be able to drop the kids at school, pick up Ben at midday and be back for the girls at 2.10pm.

I bought a TV and fold out sofa chair for the security guards. We picked them up a water dispenser and water last week. It must boring to sit on the floor in the garage area of an empty home for 12 hours per day.

Ben having a nap on the guards temporary sofa bed

I was rather upset to find the house empty. The office is dealing with it so it does not happen again.

I was invited around to Mrs A house as she was hosting a showing of a Indonesian wares for two dealers.

We didn’t stay long, just enough time to spend a bit of GJ’s hard earned dollars… Luckily he likes what I bought ! We are lucky that just about always we have very similar tastes.

I saw lots of beautiful things.
There was a few pieces made from elephant ivory which at first I thought were great, but then it popped into my head that I didn’t now how the craftsman got the ivory or if Elephants were harmed. Maybe if no one bought these types of products less animals would be needlessly slaughtered.
I did by a set of 3 paper roll containers. These are made out of hollowed old bones which are then carved and have a wooden stopper. I also got these two little shelf runners which are very old. The highlight of my shopping mini spree was this gorgeous pair of husband and wife statues. They would be just over a meter tall and are carved from wood and have metal embellishment. Chelsea loves the lady as she has sparkling diamond earrings. I spent about
1 million RP or AU $149. These are supposed to be antiques, but I am under no allusions about how old/young these things are.

Bone paper holders and shelf runners

Husband and wife statues

We spent the day at our new house on Saturday while the curtains were being installed. The kids had a great time exploring and swimming. In the morning the owner sent around the controls for the A/C so (at last) we didn’t have to melt. The curtains look great, now we just need the furniture……
We ended the day at Amigos for dinner, Margaritas and dancing. After a hot day scrubbing and cleaning we gulped our way through the first jug of frozen strawberry Margaritas. GJ was brave and ordered another (my non-drinking husband has taken to slushy, strawberry margaritas in a big way!!!LOL). I soon had had enough and was ready to leave. Smoking is very, very popular in Indonesia and most restaurants are thick with it. The band had just started and the kids were having a ball and definitely did not want to go. We compromised and it worked out perfectly. I went downstairs and slowly drifted through the supermarket with its fresh clean a/c and musaz that I can sing along to. Shopping by yourself after a few margaritas is FANTASTIC; No children and a very relaxed frame of mind. GJ stayed with the kids while they danced up a storm. One of the songs we heard was a classic Neil Diamond song, sung in Country style with Indonesian accents. It was a very good.

GJ has headed off to Singapore this morning until Friday. We have the company car to our selves. The kids and are excited to have a week of sleep-ins this week. Instead of leaving at the usual 6.30 am we get to leave at 7.15 am… GJ will be home in time for my non mentionable birthday which is a week tomorrow. GJ is going to look in Singapore for a small digital camera for my handbag. I see so many amazing sights every day I want something small enough to carry always.

We went to check out the Ranch Market supermarket today. This is a top end market full of imported products targeting the expat community. It is SUPER expensive, but oh it is full of goodies. For dinner tonight the kids and I are have a BBQ chicken, that looks, smells and tasted like one from Brisbane. I have a fresh, mixed tossed salad with my favourite Paul Newmans dressing… I have also found a potato masher so the kids can have mashed potato and steamed carrots. This sounds like a fantastic dinner to remind us of home.

TIP: bring your own Potato masher from home, they are almost as hard to find as pre wash stain remover ( which I have managed to find at the hardware shop of all places)

I have tried a new brand of bread. The bread here is awful, it is very yellow and sweet. I think they add sugar and corn syrup to it. It is similar to the American version but sweeter. We all miss our local baker from home. He was a Vietnamese baker and made the most superb bread. Hopefully this brand will be better…..

Ben and Georgia swimming

Foyer blinds

Lounge sheers with lining pulled

Ben's bed made lovingly by housekeeping

I have been working on this post all day in little spurts. I won't be able to finish the story as Chelsea and I have just come down with the most awful stomach bug or food poisoning......
I don't remember ever feeling this ill.

The five people you meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

I read this great book today.
It was deceptively simple and short, but I think it will stay with me for a long time.

Eddie is a grizzled war veteran who feels trapped in a meaningless life of fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. As the park has changed over the years -- from the Loop-the-Loop to the Pipeline Plunge -- so, too, has Eddie changed, from optimistic youth to embittered old age. His days are a dull routine of work, loneliness, and regret.

Then, on his 83rd birthday, Eddie dies in a tragic accident, trying to save a little girl from a falling cart. With his final breath, he feels two small hands in his -- and then nothing. He awakens in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a lush Garden of Eden, but a place where your earthly life is explained to you by five people who were in it. These people may have been loved ones or distant strangers. Yet each of them changed your path forever.

One by one, Eddie's five people illuminate the unseen connections of his earthly life. As the story builds to its stunning conclusion, Eddie desperately seeks redemption in the still-unknown last act of his life: Was it a heroic success or a devastating failure? The answer, which comes from the most unlikely of sources, is as inspirational as a glimpse of heaven itself.

In The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom gives us an astoundingly original story that will change everything you've ever thought about the afterlife -- and the meaning of our lives here on earth. With a timeless tale, appealing to all, this is a book that readers of fine fiction, and those who loved Tuesdays with Morrie, will treasure.

This is a work of fiction, it has no false pretences at all. It is beautiful, sweet and powerful.

Apparently it has been made into a movie for TV and is available on DVD. I hope I can find it in Indonesia and that it is true to the book.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Random thoughts in Jakarta

The school tailor has finished the kids uniforms at last, the delay was due to the flooding. Here they all are in their new uniforms. Ben had a good 4 inches taken off the length of his polo shirts, they were like a dress on him. The girls are pleased to have found matching hair accessories, because you know it is VERY important to co-ordinate your hair accessories with your clothes! LOL

This is a picture out our unit's window, there is two men climbing up this tower with absolutely no safety apparatus! The lower man was descending after carrying up the thing that was as big as him, which is now strapped to the other man. That is not blue sky behind them, it is storm clouds.....

I am becoming immune to the sights of multiple passengers on motor bikes. It almost standard now to have two or three people on 1 bike. But, yesterday morning I was struck speechless.... A baby, no more than 4-5 months old strapped in front of the driver with a cloth belt. The driver was driving so nothing was securing this baby but a mini sarong. This is in peak hour when the pollution is horrendous.

The girls and Ben are already starting to change the names of things. They now ask for "ketchup" instead of tomato sauce at restaurants (we eat at very high-class places), they want to "pee" instead of going to the toilet and lollies are now "candy".

The school encourages the kids to be very active which is great. The girls do inter house competitive sports during lunch (this is for fun) as well as after school sport and Tae Kwondow on Thursdays. The teachers told me that alot of the kids have the latest computer games and PlayStation's etc and nannies, so are very inactive at home.
Which is just as well as lunch box snacks are SSOOOOO cheap. Little candy bars, mini chips, biscuits etc are all about 5-10c a packet.
Similar types of products use to cost about 80c up to $1.50 each. With 3 lunch boxes a day, five days a week they didn't often get bought snacks (or popular ones that tasted fantastic and were full of sugar).
They still get their sandwich and a piece of fruit (which they must eat first!!!!) but now they get some great treats as well. Here is a link to our lunch boxs in Australia.

I have noticed that there are hardly any birds in Jakarta. We were so use to seeing and hearing birds all day and night in Brisbane. I hope I can encourage some to visit when we are in our new house.

It looks like we won't be in our house for the another three weeks. The boat arrives tonight, BUT customs needs GJ's passport for 4-5 working days and he is flying off to Singapore on Sunday for a week. So it looks like anywhere from March 11th onwards assuming that there is no delays and bribes are paid quickly. I will be having my birthday in the hotel. GJ will have to bring me some champagne back from Singapore. I have not had a drop of bubbles since my arrival in Indonesia (don't worry I have found a few substitutes....)

We are hoping that Janny, Tan Tan and Robbie are coming at the end of March as the kids will be on a two week holiday. We will be in the house by then!!!

Positive thinking, positive thinking.....

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


I received an email late yesterday from the Indonesia partner of our removalists. The Australian branch have managed to make a major error in the documents resulting in a need for a huge amount of paper work and confusion at this end as well as a FULL customs search of our entire container.

Insert a tirade of swear words if you are inclined.....

I had noticed while the company was packing that all the documents were in my name. I thought that by the third round of emails and invoices that they had got it right; as per my repeated requests to put everything in GJ's name.

Unfortunately I was wrong.....(idiots)

GJ is the person with the work visa, I only have a trailing spouse visa and as such can't receive the goods.

This is what I need:- (of course the letter was sent to GJ only, as obviously I am not allowed to receive emails either LOL)

1. Your Wife's Original Passport
2. Your Original Passport
3. Copy of Matrimonial Certificate
4. Your Original Stay Permit (valid for 1 year)
5. Your Original Work Pemit (valid for 1 year)
6. Original Authorization Letter stated that you give authorization to your wife to receive the shipment from Australia to Jakarta, Indonesia.
7. Original Authorization Letter from Mrs. Jenny XXXXX to PT. Kotaisan Prima Transindo to do the customs clearance (FYI, we will prepare this letter and your wife will only sign on it).

And please be further informed that your shipment will be going through full customs inspection and examination during the clearance process. As such, please let us know if you wish to be present during the examination, so that we could arrange to get the permit from the seaport authority for you to enter the examination area. However, without the present of yourself during the examination is applicable

Do I go and get hit with bribes, or do I not attend and hope that I get everything back with out strangers hand prints over everything?

How long is this all going to take?

Everything else was going so smoothly, I suppose it is time for a little hiccup....

Luckily I have nothing in my container that I shouldn't have. They might get a bit funny with a years supply of children's panadol and runny nose medicine as well as a 2 years supply of tampons (not readily available in Asia).

I only bought a few food things, Vegemite (of course), Moccona coffee and GJ's favorite extra hot chili pasta sauce.

The thing I miss the most besides my clothes and shoes, is my washing machine and iron.
The hotels travel iron, with no steam, is useless compared with my wonderful, steamy Aussie one and as I have mentioned before the hotels washing machines suck and are super expensive.

In the eight weeks we have been living out of a single suitcase each , both girls have outgrown most of their clothes. I did a quick buying spree for them. Instead of the usual Target fashion, here we can afford Barbie and Osh Gosh originals! The were ecstatic to do a little fashion parade for GJ on Monday night. I picked up their school uniforms today, I don't think that they will want to parade those for Daddy!

They are such girls LOL

Dear Sarah (Gorgeous eldest niece)

( Hello equally gorgeous youngest niece and gorgeous only nephew)

With each outfit the girls would come out and say "Sarah would LOOVVEE this" oh, and the girls found the perfect red top that you apparently need!

Love you all, say hello to your parents!


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Exhaustion, plus caffeine

I am exhausted

I taught the entire class of combined grade 2 and 3 ALL day, by myself, with all the planning and preparation. Then I took our kids to a party where the entire class was (+loads more) screaming around having a great time.

Even though all the kids had a parent or adult supervision there, all the kids still came to Miss Jenny for all their needs (eg miss Jenny my nose is running-ask your mum for a tissue; Miss Jenny, **** fell over and is crying- tell their mum; Miss Jenny I am thirsty, ask your mum who is standing next to me or ask the waiter who is also close). I wonder if my kids do this when I am not around? I feel quite mean even thinking this , let alone blogging it. But by 5.30 pm I so wanted some quiet space. I suppose an kids adventure playground with cakes and lollies in abundance is not the place for relaxing at the end of a really hectic day.

It was raining at first and second break so there wasn't even time for a quick QUIET coffee in the staff room as the kids stayed inside.

I don't know how Ms K does this 5 days a week.

Teachers should be on 6 digit salary packages!!!!!!
The school approached me today about upgrading my adult teaching qualifications to early childhood teaching. In Australia I looked into it, but it was just not financially viable. I would have had to do an extra three years at uni full time and then on qualification would have received a salary of just $48K pa. At the end of the year I might investigate it to see if it is offered as a correspondence course as the school would help with prac. etc. Apparently teachers on international schools are paid better than at home.

I have just realised why I have been having a few sleepless nights lately. I picked up some Panadol Extra at the supermarket last week for a sore neck. In Indonesia Panadol Extra is not extra strong pain killers, it is Panadol with caffeine added to give you a boost.
Caffeine, just what you need at bedtime.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Taken for an easy ride

Today I caught a taxi from the Hotel Kristal to the closest Carrefours supermarket.
I paid 150 000RP ($21.00) for the 6 min ride.........Yes I really did get taken for a ride. Unfortunately I did not realise the discrepancy until I was half way up the escalator........
Mr Yardi and our security guard are giving me the sweetest lectures about my stupidity....
At least I won't do it again!
Apparently I could go from Jakarta to Bogor for this amount.

For reference sake and in hindsight, I should of paid about 18 000RP or $3.00.

I used a silver bird taxi, the reputable firm......

We have had to postpone the Friday night Margaritas at Amigo's Mexican restaurant due to flash flooding this afternoon. Saturday night hopefully will be alright.

We are off to the mall tomorrow as our security guard has informed me that he will expire without fresh drinking water. It must be socially unacceptable to pack a lunch box and a drink each morning before you go to work.
You can not drink the tap water in Jakarta and as we have no furniture in the new house the security guard is feeling unloved......
I wonder if it will be donuts and biscuits next month?
A nice man who lives down the road looks after the pool and garden... I asked him how much today and he quoted me 1 500 000 RP per month for gardening and pool cleaning 3 days per week (he must of heard how much I pay taxi drivers LOL) , I think I will get some advise before agreeing to this.

Ben and I are still feeling slightly under the weather. You can probably tell by the way I have be massacring the English language in my last two posts. (I noticed about 5 errors in a comment I left on Aces blog).

I have interviewed a lovely lady who is interested in a job helping me out at home. She has a sick elderly father who she has to make care arrangements for and then she will be able to work with us.

We signed the official lease yesterday, so the house is ours for the next 3 years. Today I celebrated by cleaning 2 of the 6 toilets and bathrooms. Unfortunately the house has not been locked for the last 2 weeks and the security guards and visitors have all been availing themselves of our facilities.....The CEO's wife sorted it all out for me, Ms A told them all to stay in the garage and maids quarters and locked all the doors. Now I have to figure out how to get a cigarette burn mark off the toilet seat.....

I had better go and have a glass of wine, I sound a bit cynical.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Suits, Tailors and Margaritas

Happy Chinese New Year

In a few weeks GJ is off to Singapore for the last session of his management program. It looks like he will leave before our shipment arrives; which is a problem as he has a few formal sessions where he will need his suits. Unfortunately all his suits and dinner suit are on a boat somewhere between Brisbane, Singapore or Jakarta.

We have been indulging in the favorite pastime of Jakarta residents (or so it seems)- Shopping.
All the shops that we have tried have had a few jackets that fit GJ but never any matching pants or visa versa. 6'2" is tall in Jakarta.
We found an add for the “biggest shopping mall” in Jakarta and decided to give it a shot. We headed off to Mal Taman Anggrek on Sunday with hoards and HOARDS of other people. We stood out as there wasn’t many other westerners shopping. The mall was decorated for Chinese New year and had a special offer where you could have the kids dressed up in traditional costumes and have a portrait taken. The cost was 50 000 RP per person ( about $7) and you got a photo with it. People were almost pushing the photographer out of the way to take photos of our kids. Our usually shy little boy was loving it and playing up to the crowd like a seasoned movie star.
I don’t have a scanner here yet so I have taken a photo of the photos; the original photos are excellent quality you just can’t tell here. You can tell that Georgia is about to have a growth spurt as she looks a little more rounded. She has been ravenous for the last week and is complaining of leg pains at night time and is extra tired. This has always meant that she will grow about 4 cm in the next week.

The malls have a lot more restaurants inside than what we are use to. I suppose it is because the mall, shopping and eating are the things to do on your day off.
At Mal Taman Anggrek more than half of the families had a nanny in toe. The nanny’s all carried the huge diaper bag, pushed the stroller and carried the children. A few restaurants had banks of chairs set up outside where the nanny’s sat with the babies and kids while the parents had a peaceful lunch.

Now on one hand this sounds divine, BUT what about the poor nanny. There is no way they could afford to eat, even in the food court the food would of been way beyond their means.
A nanny working for an expat family would earn from 700 000 to 1 300 000RP per month for a six day week, 12 hours per day ( AU$100 to $190). For reference we had lunch at a pizza parlor and spent $50 for the five of us. At another table a couple with a baby ate their lunch while the nanny sat at the table with the baby and had NO FOOD. At the end of their meal they wrapped half a left over piece of pizza in a serviette and sent her out side to eat it.

The kids want a nanny because all the malls have huge playgrounds where they think the nanny will take them while GJ and I cruise around the shops at leisure.
I would also like a nanny so I can eat at a restaurant that DOES NOT serve pizza or nuggets and fries. Another option kids want us to consider is to leave them in the car with Mr Yardi and have a DVD playing…..LOL don‘t worry we aren’t.

I have changed my school roster to three days a week, but to noon instead of 11am. Today Chelsea’s teacher was off sick so I was the teacher…Chelsea loved it. The class had scheduled activities from 11am to end of day (music, sport, computer etc) so the teachers aides and I were only needed from 8 am to 11am. The teachers aides are two Indonesian girls who are extremely quiet and unobtrusive (this is the nice tactful way of describing it). I am exhausted….The range of ages in the class is from nearly six to 9.5 years old with a huge scope of English levels. I definitely won’t be upgrading my diploma in adult training to a degree in teaching.

We have solved GJ’s suit dilemma buy going to the schools tailor and having a suit made. We celebrated our relief at solving the suit dilemma with a quick dinner at Amigos with just a little jug of Margaritas ( I am making up for the last 20 years of Margarita deprivation LOL)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Just a few purchases....

This is the first purchase for our new home. This is a symbolic husband and wife mask in a black wood.
Apparently if you are married and you hang it, it means that you will stay together forever, or if you are single, it will attract your perfect partner. A win-win situation.

This is a selection of our new DVD's. Some are legit copies and lets not discuss the others.( I blame Jakartass, my blog buddy, for putting the idea of counterfeit copies into my head, LOL)

Strawberry Margaritas

Last weekend we were at the kids favourite shop getting chocolate milkshakes when I glanced at the next outlet. The shop was a Soy milk drink shop which sold all manner of soy drinks. The most outlandish to me were the avocado soy milk drink and the wheatgrass soy milk drink.
I have also noticed cans of fizzy flavored milk drinks in the shops. I don’t think that I will be acquiring the taste for these style of beverages.

Friday was a wonderful day for us all. It was my first free morning. GJ took the kids to school on his way to the office and I was alone in the apartment.
WOW, I was in heaven; a leisurely bath with no interruptions and then a quick salon blow dry with hot coffee (I am use to luke-warm coffee due to 3 kids).
It was then time to collect Ben. Our driver needs a minimum of 1 hour to pray on Fridays around midday, so I arranged to be dropped off in Kemang during this time. We had a quick lunch and then found the DVD shop that every one has been telling me about.
I have been buying a few DVD’s for the kids, but have been buying certified copies ( I think!). This time I know that I was buying fakes. I always like to buy certified copies of things, especially computer programs, I am SOOO law abiding. Three and a half weeks in Jakarta and I am already into counterfeit goods LOL. The DVDs worked out to be $1 each.
I think we are going to get our driver Mr Yadi hooked though. I saw him laughing at Hannah Montana and Buzz Light Year when we were stopped in traffic.
After becoming a film star; a film crew filmed Ben and I sitting in the coffee shop, we ventured out! Just as well I didn’t take the pram as there was no footpath or flat surface to push it along. We went into a antique-ish carpet shop. I had a great chat with the owner, a Pakistani gentleman, who sends his children to boarding school in Australia because it is cheaper than the international schools here. I was standing on a beautiful Turkish rug and nearly fell on it when he told me it was AU$20 000. Mr Chaudhry supplies Rugs a Million and Solomon carpets in Australia with a lot of their stock.
Kinara Art Gallery was stocked with heaps of stuff that I loved and wanted, but of course don’t need.
After this we wandered around and managed to cross the road. In Jakarta it seems that you just walk out and the traffic stops for you….or you hope. I don’t cross that way. In Australia I would always go to the crossing or traffic lights even if it means another 5 minutes walk.
So after spending 10 minutes on the footpath waiting to cross I had 2 taxis and the headmistress of the school stop to offer me assistance. Luckily I was then able to cross the road.
The kids and I went to the office to collect GJ before heading of to Amigos for Friday night happy hour.

The jug of frozen strawberry margaritas was just as good as the last time! After dinner we saw another Aussie family from the school and went over for a chat. We ended chatting our way through more margaritas until the house band started. The kids were having a fantastic time, they were all dancing joyously. Ben was head banging, playing his air guitar and boot scooting all at the same time.
We met a few other couples with kids around the same age as ours. (One couple lived in the Country woods estate, but I didn’t get a chance to ask them any questions, don’t worry Simonn, I will and let you know)
I think a regular night at Amigos with half price jugs of Strawberry Margaritas sounds like a good idea.

We had then curtain shop out to measure and quote on Saturday at the new house. It was so hard to communicate what we wanted. Luckily I was able to get GJ’s CEO’s wife to drop in and translate. It was just as well as the guy doing the measuring had a completely different idea to what we had.
Unfortunately we will have to start again as the cost was just phoned through….27 500 00. Rupiah or AU$4000.00. There is no way I am spending that for only three years occupancy.

The bonus of spending time at the new house was that I was able to do 2 loads of washing. The house is unfurnished, but comes with a washing machine and fridge freezer.The hotel charges 36 000 RP for a self serve load of washing, which is about $5 a load and if you want powder it is an extra $1. The machines are rough and our clothes are starting to pay the price.

We had a very interesting day on Sunday, but I can’t type after a glass of wine, so I will have to rain check…..

Thursday, February 08, 2007

More rain in Jakarta

We woke up to another big thunder storm at 4am this morning with more rain. I decided to keep the kids at home again and GJ started to rant. I will leave it to your imagination but it boiled down to “it is just a little rain, the floods are gone, don’t be ridiculous……….”
As we were walking out the door I grabbed a new DVD, just in case.
Thank goodness I did, because of course the school was closed, of course roads were flooded and of course it took 2.5 hours to drop GJ off at his office. Then we had to turn around and head back to the hotel….a lovely round trip of 4.5 hours.
In my head I am doing the childish “Ha Ha, I told you so” dance, and have decided that next time I think that school will be canceled to stay in bed !

When we ordered the company car there was a free bonus of a car DVD player with three screen. It is perfect for Jakarta’s traffic snarls. Today we watched Spy Kids 3, TWICE. It is a shame cars in Jakarta don’t come with toilets!

We got to one street where the water was gushing across the street and rising as we watched. Mr Yardi decided against crossing and we turned around a found another way. The weather reports are predicting more heavy rainfall until the end of February.

One good thing about working at the school is that I am getting a good idea of the kids strengths and weakness in regards to their education. We have discovered that although Chelsea is extremely advanced with her reading she is quite behind with her maths. She has been put into one of my groups of remedial classes, 4 mornings a week. We have found some math’s problem books here in Jakarta and are doing a bit of work at home. When our shipment arrives I will have all our books and computer programs which we will be able to work through as well.

Ben is loving the kindy. I was having second thoughts about enrolling him, thinking that the money would be better spent on other things, but am pleased that we did. The Kindy room has a lot of resources, with a very experienced teacher and two full time teachers aides. The kindy’s outside play area is a lovely court yard with a huge shade tree over it all with heaps of bikes, sandpits tents and playhouses. Inside there is a permanent water play table set up as well as a table with play dough. Books, toys, blocks and CARS!!!! are all neatly arranged and ready to be played with. There is a curriculum designed to introduce learning concepts and pre literacy skills and guide the children into formal schooling.

We always get to school very early, as GJ needs to get to the office. We usual arrive just after 7 am (yes we leave the hotel at 6.30 am!!!!) and play until school starts at 8 am. Only once has Ben forgotten himself and started to speak to me while we were playing. The teacher and aide were stunned to learn that he really can talk, LOL.
Ben is an extremely good talker. He is very articulate and eloquent, in short he never shuts up. He has opinions on everything and insists on being right all the time; I wonder where he gets that from (we are family of experts LOL) No one would ever know this as Ben chooses not to talk to strangers or acquaintances.

The rain has started again outside…I think we are still going to have a few days at home this month.

In the care package I made I put in some things that are universal to all women, a nice soap, hand cream, face moisturizer, shampoo, little girls cologne (Mr Yardi has two preteen girls) tooth brushes and tooth paste etc. GJ can’t understand why any one would be interested in these types of things when their home is underwater. Food, clothing and shelter have been organized but sometimes it is the little extras that make all the difference.
I suppose that this is just another example of the difference between men and women’s way of thinking.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Day five of Jakarta flooding 2007

We awoke on Monday night to the most violent thunder and lightening storm. It was shaking the building with the booming cracks. I have always enjoyed a theatrical storm, but last night I was so preoccupied by the thought of all the poor homeless families sheltering with their children in makeshift accommodation. It must have been terrifying for them. Unfortunately the storm was followed by heavy rain which has not helped the flooding.

The kids and I went to school on Monday, but as less than a third of the other children were there we all left with Ben at 11am. The teachers were listening to the radio as there was reports that gates in Bogor were going to be opened which could intensify the flooding in Jakarta.

Our driver made it to work on Monday. GJ got the HR manager to translate to find out how his family was faring. His house is still underwater with all his families belongings, including clothes. GJ took him aside and we gave him a months salary as a gift. I am getting a care package together for his wife and daughters.
In Indonesia it seems that even though he is a full time employee, he doesn’t get paid if he doesn’t work. So in the midst of this disaster Mr Yardi still comes to work. GJ and the HR manager are padding out the company budget in order to offer assistant to the affected employees.

Because of the heavy rain last night I decided to keep the kids home from school. I had an appointment with our Real Estate broker at 11am which we decided to keep. What a loooooong day. We drove two km to collect Ms Linda (a wonderfully sprite Indonesian lady in her seventies), then 3km to the fabric shop where I spent 8-10 minutes selecting the fabric for curtains (cream sheers with lining), and then back to our new home which is 400m from Ms Linda’s home (where we collected her from at the start of the day). This took 5 hours, I kid you not, absolutely no exaggerating - 10.15 am to 3.30pm.

Most of the roads were gridlocked with cars and motor bikes. This was our first glimpse of the flooding and the effect it is having on the city. In some spots you would not know that there was any problems, people were going about their business as usual. Then a block later you would look sideways and see a street totally submerged or homes with all the bedding piled outside to dry.

I realize at moments like these how very fortunate we really are. I would love to be more proactive with helping out but am too new to know where to go or what to do with my kids. At least in Australia I could go back to the Red Cross (where I used to work) and step right in.

At the moment the sun is shining through into the apartment and you would have no idea that less that 3km away there are streets flooded and 340 000 are homeless. Here is a link to some images.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Floods in Jakarta

The floods show no sign of receding. It is very hard to get any information about the current situation here in Jakarta (in English). I am getting most of my updates from the big western online news groups.
Our hotel is fine, we must be in a high spot. I don't know if we will be going to school or work on Monday. I am hesitant to send the kids off in case the situation changes and we can't get back. The suburb where we will be living and where the school is in is a flooded area.
I don't think we are that close to any flooded areas, but I am not game to venture out for a look.
The electricity has been turned off in many areas to prevent electrocution. I read one report of a person getting burnt skin from wading through the toxic water. This is one of the main issues with the flooding, the amount of raw sewerage and filth combining with the muddy flood waters creating an appalling smelly health risk. The news papers are reporting on the shortage of fresh drinking water.

These two photos are from "The Jakarta Post"
The below photos are from Yahoo News

Friday, February 02, 2007


Our devotion to colourful, plastic footwear.

I have a major milestone birthday coming up in a few weeks....I am in complete denial about it though. I have realized that I am getting old. Last weekend when I had my kid free shopping time I was overwhelmed with the choices for shoes. I was admiring all these glamorous colourful, WONDERFUL shoes and all I could think was "OHH they are SO nice but they would be uncomfortable after a few hours....if only Crocs were prettier". I did end up with 3 new pairs. One comfortable pair that my Mum would wear ( see, I am getting old-sensible shoes!), one cute denim high heels and a pair of Crocs mary-jane style.

I went to the Crocs web site to get links and a photo and blew my knickers off in excitement. There is a whole new range coming out in March. I can have the best of both worlds, sensible, comfortable and not too daggy.

We are having a long weekend.....Most of Jakarta is underwater. Our poor driver is sitting on his roof as his home is 7 foot underwater. School has been canceled and GJ's office complex is underwater as well. So it will be a quiet day at the hotel.

I can't seem to find any web site that will let me know what traffic/road/weather conditions are.
The road outside our hotel is normally jammed packed with cars at this time of the day. Today there is hardly any traffic. It does seem very quite. I am so pleased I got magazines from the AWA. It is going to be a day of rest and reading.

Edit, here is the link to the latest CNN item on the floods