Friday, June 29, 2007

Robbie has organised a suprise

Robbie organised a new thing for me while he was own blog domain.
It will take a while for him to get it up and running, but I will soon be!!!!!!!
Rob is the big boss of a web design company, and he organised my own email domain two years ago. He also trying to get me to move from the blogger platform to the dot net nuke program, but it looks very hard/complex......or translated I have to get out of my comfort zone and get with the times.
Georgia and Chelsea have their own email addresses...
princessgeorgia@the(insert our surname)
princesschelsea@the(insert our surname)
and they would love to hear from their friends and family.
GJand I are also available at this address, I am jenny andGJ, is well you know...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The family Indonesia, a narrative

We are on Summer holidays for the next four weeks.
It feels strange to have a big holiday in the middle of the year, we are used to the big break to be at Christmas time.
The last few weeks of term I helped the ESOL students with their writing project. The school always has a project each term that the whole school completes and is then graded to set guidelines so they can see how each child is faring and to check standards are being maintained.
This term it was a narrative.
I worked with the ESOl kids to get tense, punctuation etc down as well as to help design and create the finished product.
This particular project was from a student originally from Papua New Guinea. This student had no formal education for the first 9 years of their life and has gone ahead in leaps and bounds in the last 9 months.
For the art work we made an A3 Indonesian flag and made the islands in red and white cardboard and pasted them around the text.
It was magnificent, this student was so proud of what they had done and presented it at school assembly.
I had to share it as I too thought it was wonderful.

The family Indonesia

Once upon a time there was a family called Indonesia
The fathers name was Mr. Papua Guinea.
The mother was a lovely island called Mrs. Borneo, she was very beautiful.
The eldest child was a handsome island called Java. He was famous for the lovely coffee he made. His little sister was a beautiful island called Celebes.
The baby of the family was the cutest little island called Bali. She was so cute people came from everywhere to visit her.
The family had a naughty uncle called Timor, he liked to cause mischief!
This family was so special that many people decided to live on this family of islands and create the country of Indonesia.

His bad mother....

I have a new story for Ben's 21st birthday.
On our fabulous weekend away I forgot one very vital item...a night nappy/diaper.
Ben has been day toilet trained for nearly a year now, but is no where close to being ready to go without a nappy at night- he is just too heavy a sleeper.

On the Saturday night I woke him up every two hours to go to the toilet; he was sharing my bed so this was Very Important. I also found a little back up........

I put a super slim Libra with wings in his undies!!!!!

What mother does that to her 3 year old son?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Putri Island, Thousand Islands, Indonesia

We have had an AMAZING weekend- our first getaway from Jakarta.

We went to Putri Island, part of the chain of islands known as the Thousand Islands. I went berserk taking photos, but I always do LOL. Our party consisted of three Australian families all who brought three kids , all of the same age groups, as well as Rob.

This chain of islands is located off north Jakarta. We caught the boat from the marina at Ancol and it took about 1.5 hours to reach Putri island.
The harbour at Ancol was sickening.....the stench of the thick, black ,foul water was almost enough to make you throw up. We were all doing light shallow breathing....I could not imaging how we were going to be able to swim in crystal clear water only a little way from this. The pollution this week has been extra bad, on Saturday morning we were unable to see city high rises if they were more than two blocks away. When the boat was underway it was like sailing off the face of the earth as you could not see anything but brown smog all around. The trip over was very smooth and after an hour we started to be able to see islands in the distance.
Five minutes before we docked Ben decided that his chocolate milkshake would feel better all over the deck, himself and GJ's shoes. I was most impressed that Ben saved this for his daddy as he had spent most of the hour and a half trip on my lap!


There was two lovely dancers at the end of the jetty to great us all as well as a tank of eels. Ben thought that Jo was me and was happily holding her hand until he realised.

The air was much clearer and the water WAS crystal clear. After dumping the bags it was time for a swim in the pool.

The bungalows were average. We were in a unrenovated one which was basic and only average in the cleanliness department. I wasn't overly worried as we didn't spend much time inside. I would class it at 2.5-3 stars.

This is the area directly outside our bungalow.......I felt like I was in paradise. I got the view from my sun lounger, plus Rob's and GJ's toes as well as my own. The shot of the sun light filtering through the trees is what was above my head. The kids wear able to play on the little sandy beach in complete shade while we watched and sipped a small alcoholic beverage.

The resort has an underwater tunnel which the kids loved walking through.

After more swimming and a quick rest for Ben it was time for a sunset cruise around the neighbouring islands. We got seats on the top deck of the boat and the kids were screaming with joy every time the boat rolled over a wave. When the boat was slowly cruising up close to islands the kids were able to lie out on the bow.

Dinner buffet started at 7pm. The food was average...a chicken and a beef stir fry and a whole fish cooked Indo style with 3 fruits for dessert. We packed an esky full of snacks and drinks as we knew the kids wouldn't eat much at the restaurant.

The band was loud and unacceptable to Ben's ears, hence the shot of him with his fingers in his ears. In between sets a dancer came on stage and kept the kids rapt. Ben was on the dance floor trying to imitate the moves. Behind the stage was a large aquarium filled with sharks...the kids were fascinated. The last shots are of all the kids in the bar, they were the only patrons. We all had a laugh that it was the Australian kids that were in the bar.

After dinner we all met up for cheese (.....cheese is VERY expensive in Indonesia!!!!!), dips and chips washed down with bubbles, beer and scotch. We were sitting right on the beach with a warm balmy breeze blowing all the mozzies away having the best time.
The Baileys on ice was a lovely dessert. I made it to 9.30pm.....GJ, Rob and two others made it to midnight!- we are getting old LOL

This was the kids first time at snorkeling in the ocean. They have only ever tried snorkeling in our pool. They LOVED it.

This is Ben's set of photos. He worked out the perfect way to snorkel when you can't swim- he lay on GJ's back and just stuck his head down. He was so happy cruising around looking at the coral and the fish.

This is Chelsea's photo set. Chelsea is a natural at this. She jumped straight in and wouldn't get out, she must of spent nearly four hours floating around. The water became very deep out from the edge of the coral and she quickly worked out how to dive down and to clear her snorkel with out coming up.
Here is Georgia's set.

Georgia was very hesitant at first about getting in, she needed to be holding hands with an adult and be part of a group- for the first half an hour. She didn't end up being as adventurous as Chelsea but did manage to conquer her fear and jump off the pier.
Here is a link to the Islands blog which lists prices as well as facilities. For our family of five we paid 3 950 000RP about AU$565; so it was an expensive weekend. This fee covered all meals(4), accommodation and transport. It was a wonderful way to escape the pollution and noise of Jakarta

Monas Monument, Jakarta Indonesia

We had a great time climbing the National monument- "The Monas Monument". The pollution was particularly bad on the day so the view wasn't as good as could be. We walked through Medan Merdeka Park (and ran into Georgia's tae kwondo teacher) and saw lots of families flying kites.
We eventually worked out where to enter and I paid our 60 000rp entrance fee. Yadi, our driver came with us, I don't think he had ever been here before. We walked around the base and went inside to the independence museum. An enterprising "guide" approached us and offered us a tour.....for a price. In hindsight I think I have just joined in the bribery/corruption life style of Jakarta.
We were asked if we had made a booking for a private tour and if not he could backdate a tour and take us around for the standard fee of 350 000rp ($50 aust.) It was very hot and humid, the queue to get the lift to the top was at least four hours long so I paid. It was worth it, the guy spoke excellent English and pointed out all the landmarks for us, and being able to bypass the queue was magnificent.
At the top of the monument we were all far more interesting than the view.
A women kept standing really close to the back of me and leaning against me, I soon worked out it was because I was holding Ben and he was facing that way. Hoards (I kid you not!) were following us around sticking cameras at us or mobile phones if they didn't have a camera.
In the end we just had to stand still and do group shots while every one had a turn posing with us!
This was my Hollywood/paparazzi moment LOL.
It was too much for Georgia, she started to look a bit thunderous after a while. I asked her to smile and just get it over with and she got the funniest faces, a scowl and a smile! The other people thought it was hilarious when I started to take photos of them taking photos of us.

Next time we visit I will make sure that it is not a Sunday and not a day where a marathon and a giant expo event are running beside.

Click on the photos to see a larger shot with comments

This is all the info I find on Google which I have cut and pasted. Some of the links got lost and of course I can't find them again, so please forgive a little plagiarism.

Standing at 132 meters and topped with 35 kilograms of gold, this imposing obelisk is Jakarta's most famous landmark. Construction started in 1961 under President Soekarno but was not completed until 1975, under President Soeharto.

The Freedom Hall depicts Indonesia's struggle for independence through a series of dioramas, whereas the Hall of Contemplation displays the original Declaration of Independence document and a recording of the speech.

An elevator takes you to the observation platform, which has a bird's-eye view of the cityscape.

The form of the Monas Monument was carefully thought out by President Soekarno and his followers. The Monument was built to symbolise the spirit of the Indonesian people as well as mark the independence of the nation.
Situated in the centre of Medan Mederka (Freedom Square) the Monas Monument is the landmark most associated with Jakarta. Medan Mederka was once the Dutch Military training ground in the city until Indonesia proclaimed independence.
The monument stands in the shape of an “Alu” or rice pestle on top of a cup form-like “Lumpang” or mortar. This shape symbolises eternal life as well as signifying the struggle for independence and the pride and nobility of the resulting victory to stand alone as a nation.

The flame at the top of the Monument symbolises the spirit of an independent Indonesian nation.

The building specifications of the Monas Monument deliberately focus on the date which President Soekarno proclaimed independence for Indonesia – 17th of August 1945. Therefore, most of the measurements of the monument and the associated buildings have the numbers 17, 8 and 45 associated with them.

- The interior of the Museum hall in the basement is 8-metres high and the main hall measures 80metres x 80metres.

- The base of the monument in the shape of the rice mortar is 45x45 metres wide.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Istiqlal Mosque

Click on the photos for a larger view with captions.
This is the most amazing place to visit. We went on a Sunday morning and there was hardly any one there. We all dressed in long pants and had no problems getting in. Our driver came in with us to organze a guide. A nice young man with excellent English took us on a tour and explained all about the architecture with the symbolism of dates bulit into the proportions. Unfortunatley I cannot remember all the relevant detail and can't find them in English on the web.

Istiqlal is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia and the third largest in the world, capable of holding up to 175,000 people. The building of this mosque began on August 24th, 1961, and was finished in 1967 or 1975(depending on which web site you believe) but its official opening did not occur until 1978.The mosque was designed by a Christian architect, Frederick Silaban, to symbolize religious harmony in Indonesia
It is located opposite to the Roman Catholic Cathedral (built 1901)
The area of the mosque takes a surface of 9 and half hectares. The main building is 5 stories high. There is a large drum in an outer corner which was made in Borneo. The opposite ends are covered in a male and female cow skin and is used in Friday prayers
The rectangular main prayer hall building is covered by a 45 meter diameter central spherical dome. The dome is supported by twelve round columns and the prayer hall lined by rectangular piers carrying four levels of balcony. Staircases at the corners of the building give access to all floors. The main hall is reached through an entrance covered by a dome 10 meters in diameter. The latter structure is directly connected to the arcades which run around the large courtyard. The walls, walkways and floors are almost entirely covered with marble from Tulungagung, East Java. Stainless steel is used for the fret work. The mosque is completely open, no windows just large balconies to keep out the weather. The interior is cool from this ventilation.
Wachid Hasyim – Indonesia’s first Minister of Religion and the father of Indonesia’s fourth president, Abdurrahman Wahid – is the pioneer of this mosque. He wanted Indonesia to have something to commemorate its independence. That’s why the name Istiqlal was chosen, because Istiqlal is an Arabic word means ‘liberty’.
The floor tiles have all been laid so as to face towards Mecca. The size of the floor tiles in the main hall is the right size for one person. From memory it is 1 x 1.6 m. In the outer areas the floor tiles are colored and are the same size and also pointing towards Mecca.
All the dimensions of the building have a special significance, the heights, widths etc all are important dates in Indonesian history, predominantly the date of Independence -17th August 1945.
Next time I go back I will take a note pad and pencil to get down all the facts; it was amazing how all the details had a special significance. Our guide mentioned that the mosque is usually filled to capacity twice a year. It would be fascinating to see the mosque so full and to hear the prayers.
This is a great place to visit; I would highly recommend it to any one visiting Jakarta. It has a lovely cool serenity and is a great insight to Islam.
We all wore long pants and I wore a long sleeve top, dressing modestly is important as is cleanliness; you must bathe before visiting and wash your hands, face and feet on entering. You also have to remove your shoes. I took a scarf to cover my hair, but didn’t need to use it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

nearly there.................

I have nearly finished sorting all the photos and are now googling all the places we visited to check facts...unfortunately all the things guides have told us have whizzed through one ear and out the other!!!
I should be right to start to post tomorrow....
Stay tuned.

Monday, June 18, 2007 Jakarta

We have had so many exciting adventures in the last three days......There is more happening today so I can't get it all down now.

Rest assured I have taken many many MANY photos. Here is a little teaser of what is to come.
Istiqlal_Mosque, was amazing, Monas monument( and the bribery) was fantastic!!!!
More to come when we stop to take a breath..................

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Gorgeous baby Ella

Isn't she absolutely gorgeous!

We received these photos from Lisa yesterday. We had a family viewing and these are some of our comments:-
  • Georgia- She looks like a super model
  • Chelsea- when can we visit her, I want to snuggle her
  • Ben- I can't kiss, she has lipstick on
  • Chelsea- I want her cradle for my bed
  • Ben-that's Leesees baby
  • GJ- that's one good looking baby
  • Me- absolutely speechless at her adorableness

The photos are perfect, I just blurred them on the blog for privacy.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Yet again the internet and phones are down....yes I have paid the bill LOL

The Internet and phones have been out this week.........this is the one thing that gets to me in Indonesia.
I shrug off most things but become a little crazed with lack of communication.

I work with ESOL( English as a Second Language) children all day, and when I get home I need to have some adult communication. If the phone and email doesn't work I get VERY frustrated.

I have also caught the kids head cold...I look a bit like Rudolph at the moment.

This has enabled me to catch up on my DVDs, I have just finished Lost, Heroes and Desperate Housewives.......I love trashy American blockbusters!!!!!!!
I haven't even started Prison Break, House and a bunch of others yet.

We are all really excited that Robbie is arriving on Saturday for 8 days.........We will be doing lots of exploring, expect lots of photos.

We aim on visiting Istiqlal_Mosque, the worlds third largest mosque. It can hold over 120 000 people inside. (if any one can advise me on dress requirements for me and the girls and tours it would be much appreciated)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Our Bajaj Adventure

Bajaj, a three wheel vehicle for hire.

The girls and I shared one bajaj. It was like a hot, smelly, bumpy roller coaster ride.

Ben and GJ's bajaj overtook us , this is them in front.
Ben's happy face peering out, GJ said that he had a huge smile on his face for the whole trip home

Our greedy drivers....

We had a little adventure last night on our way home from Amigos.
We decided catch a Bajaj home instead of a taxi. Something we had wanted to do for a while…BUT were not always game enough.
We negotiated the price before we got in as this is VERY IMPORTANT!!!! 2000RP per Bajaj
We were having a great time putt-putting and weaving through Kemang (thank goodness we don’t live in this grid-locked traffic-snarled suburb) and then hit the home stretch.
We stopped at the start of our street; I don’t know why they wouldn’t take us all the way and then the fun and games started………….
The two drivers started to demand ridiculous amounts of money which we refused to pay, we had already given them 5000rp each as way of a tip but they wanted more. As we argued in the street all the neighbor’s guards came out and joined in the fray. I went over to our RT (really hard to describe this role- the RT, pronounced “aiRtay” is an elected district office who manages the locality like a council as well as organizing security
“In many ways, Jakarta is still just a collection of villages, with neighborhoods providing the basic services such as garbage collection and security. This is organized by the Rukun Tetangga (RT Neighborhood Head), who is an unpaid, elected official and carries out a number of duties. A neighborhood usually consist of around 20 households, and the RT is the head of this neighborhood watch system, carrying out registration for residents and visitors, and keeping records of births, deaths and marriages for the government. A group of RT neighborhood forms a Rukun Warga (RW), which is the next level below kelurahan.” )

Unfortunately our RT doesn’t speak much English and our Bahasa Indonesian is still not up to sentences.
Now in hindsight it must have looked pretty funny the five of us and all these guards haggling over a few dollars. The two Bajaj drivers wanted more money but wouldn’t come close as there were so many guards around. In the end we gave them 8000RP each. We know we paid too much; an air-conditioned taxi would have only cost us about 10 000rp.
We then had to walk the rest of the way home……all of 200m

GJ thinks that this post should be titled "Bajaj Grand Prix Through Kemang" as the lead swapped several times. I think there was a race on to see which Bajaj would make it home first!!!!

Another great night at Amigos

We had another fantastic night out at Amigos Mexican restaurant.
It was a noisy fun filled night with lots of jugs of sprite and strawberry margartias.

The excitement was just too much for one of our group........

Chelsea, on the hard stuff-Sprite.

Ben having a quick rest in between dances....

Superheros pose.

The boys had a great time
All the girls had their own table
Running, playing and dancing are all thirsty work!

GJ and I even hit the dance floor!

Air pollution in Jakarta

This is what the streets look like some mornings. This is not the window tinting or a flash reflection on the window, this is just traffic pollution............

Friday, June 08, 2007

Only one little sickee left

Poor little Georgie is still sick, every body else is fine.
Georgia and I spent the day at SOS clinic today, the lovely Dr worked out that the antibiotics that she was on was causing the reaction which was giving her these new symptoms. The congestion on her chest has cleared up considerably and with the new antibiotics her fever should go down and the tummy problems should clear up.
Georgia only managed two hours of school this week, and I only managed to work one day....strangely both of us are disappointed!
Hopefully we will get back onto regular bloggy posting asap.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Sick kids in Jakarta

I have three little sickie's at home.

  • Georgia came down with a fever and a honking-bark like cough on Sunday afternoon and now has vomiting, diarrhoea and a fever. The Dr also thinks that her tonsils are infected.
  • GJ has an arthritis flare up in his wrist and gout in his ankle as well as a tummy bug
  • Ben has a fever and a runny nose.
  • Chelsea is very disappointed that she is in extremely good health and has to go to school.

I'm fine, just tired from all the extra devotion....

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Our 1st lazy expat experience!

We had a lovely last minute outing on Saturday. We ended up spending the afternoon at putt put golf with another family. The older kids had a great time, while the two young boys and I had a fun time zipping all over the place with out much put-putting.
The center is in a lovely park close to the city. It was covered with huge shade trees and is a great way to spend an afternoon. There is a small pond stocked with fish that you can pay to fish in and then keep the fish; though there is no way in the world I would eat "fish" from this murky pond!!!!!!
At the entrance you can hire electric scooters for the kids and then grab ice creams.
We ended back up at our house where a drink or two+ lead to starving kids running around happily; luckily Amigos came to the rescue and delivered a great dinner.
Now this is where the laziness starts.....

Because it was a long weekend, Sarinah and Samino both had two days off so we were all on our own for Friday night until Sunday morning. We are not slave drivers, most of Indonesia has a 6 day working week. This is never a problem as I do all the cooking and we normally have Sat night alone so we just do all the dishes, I usually put on a few loads of washing as well as I know how a one day break will cause Mt Washmore to form in the laundry!
Sat night:-the kitchen had plates from 10 people, plus at least 4 glasses from everybody as well as crumbs all over the table and MESS, MESS, MESS in the playroom.
We went to bed and left it all downstairs and when we came down this morning it was all clean and fresh. It was totally wonderful, but the guilty of leaving someone else to clean up our mess created on their day off (even though we pay them too) is too much to bear.

Weekend scenery in Jakarta

Some things we saw this weekend.............................................

Hari Raya Waisak,Buddha's birth, enlightenment and demise

Friday was a public holiday in Jakarta to celebrate Buddha's birth, enlightenment and demise.
We had a lovely morning play date with some friends and a little shopping in the afternoon.

Ben has become very attached to our driver Pak Yadi. Ben would rather wait with Yadi than come in to shops with me etc. Often I come back to the car and find it locked and the two of them off exploring (usually fountains!!!!).
On Friday night he asked to go home with Yadi and was devastated that he couldn't and that Yadi had to leave. A big crying fit was produced to show his displeasure. Ben climbed on to Yadi's lap and held on to his hand hoping that this would stop him leaving.

The next photo is how I found Georgia watching TV......she assured me that it was very comfortable!

The last photo is of Chelse and Ben asleep. Ben has spent the last week in the girls room and this morning this is how I found the two of them entwined, with Ben's beloved puppy in between.
Chelsea' s gorgeous big choppy cheeks are resting on Ben's arm.