Monday, April 30, 2007

I am in Australia

I got some really sad news last Thursday morning that a dear friends husband had passed away. I managed to get the only available seat out of Jakarta and completed an arduous LONG journey and ended up in Cairns just in time for the funeral on Saturday. I am now back in Sydney at my Mums house. I will be heading back to my babies in Jakarta on Wednesday.
I have lots of stories of the small pockets of joy we found at the wake with all of us together as well as the gut wrenching sadness.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Jeruk Bali

Last week Ibu S. cooked the great Beef Rendang......yummy. This week we are having chicken porridge-Bubur Ayam . I first heard about this dish from my blog friend Devi, and was intrigued. It sounds like a spiced chicken risotto. I will be able to tell you how good it is tomorrow...

Ibu S also bought a Jeruk Bali fruit for after the rendang. I loved it, GJ thought it was OK and of course the kids thought it was disgusting.

It is from the citrus family and has large pustules of juicy flesh. It is quite firm to bite into and then it burst in your mouth. It has more of the sharp grapefruit taste but is sweeter. It is very refreshing to eat, especially after a curry. I am also enjoying the water melon here; it is so red, sweet and juicy.

We have this vine growing in our back yard. It has now started to rapidly grow these large green fruits. I can't seem to find out what they are. Any body have any ideas?

I have all three of the kids home today, diarrhea, headaches and snot. Apparently GJ is not feeling the best in Surabaya. I am feeling fine though, which is good with 3 sick kiddos.

A highlight of the sick day has been a new DVD- Night at the Museum.

All four of us have loved it.


The MOST AMAZING SMELL is wafting out from my kitchen. I can pick out lemongrass and ginger but the rest is a divine mix........


"Blow your knickers off" click here for definition delicious.

Photos and description another day.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

MySpace, Skype.

I have embraced new technology at my niece and nephews request...
I now have a My Space account, same name as everything else....jenjenqld.

If only it came with instructions........

At least now I can see their blogs and photos.
Did you know that MySpace puts your age on the page.........I had to take a creative option on my year of birth.

I have also downloaded skype; I also need lessons, a microphone and web cam for this new venture.

I have had today off as Ben has a cold and diarrhea....a three year old with body fluid issues is not wanted at kindy.

He is having his rest now in raptures as when he wakes up Mr Yadi will have bought him two big bags of sand for his new giant sand bucket and I will have filled up his giant water play bucket.
This is the most FANTASTIC thing for a three year old boy besides sitting on the guards motor bike and beeping its horn.

Here are Bens new giant buckets. He has decided that red is for water and blue is for sand. Mr S is currently washing the sand before play time starts, I think that this is very prudent considering where we live. Ben has gone through the kitchen and selected the best of all my things for use. I will be able to drag the sand in each night to keep out all the cats, and the water can be emptied to keep out Dengue Fever infected mosquitos.

We have a nice new guard this week. My busy-body, pushy, moody guard pulled his last stunt last week. When he again left his Kris/knife (not a butter knife, a fighting knife!!!!!!)on a low coffee table in the garage. This is the same place that Ben and his friend Indry play in. The girls hated that he would come round and stare at them in the pool and I hated him being constantly late....
I didn't realise that he upset every one as the whole house hold cheered when they found out he was to be reassigned. GJ's company pays for a team of three security guards working on a roster at our home. With the five of us, and depending on the time, up to five other people in our home it is important to have every one happy. Calm has been restored.

There is one downside though.....The ex guards wife works at my favourite hair salon, GJ is teasing me that if I go back I will come out bald with a fungus infection.....

GJ has jetted off again, this time to Surabaya (lucky bugger) and in two weeks he is off to Thailand (lucky bugger!!!!!!).

We had the most exciting storm yesterday. It was such torrential rain, you could not see in front of you at all. The sky was black and green and the walls and windows were shaking with every enormous thunder clap. There was so much water across the school car park that we waded up over our ankles. It is not a low lying area at all, its just the rain could not move any where quick enough. The water was refreshingly cool. These mega storms always seem to reach their peak just as the school bell rings and I have to get the girls LOL.
The river near our road rose at least 3 feet inside 10 minutes, which unfortunately meant that Mr Yadi's home got wet. He assures me that it is OK as it was only a little flooded, for a little time and his wife got home in time to move everything!

I can now hear thunder in the distance, another storm is coming. I wish I could send it over to Australia....Jakarta has flooding and Australia is in severe drought.

Here is my little man as Spider man....
He doesn't like the mask over his mouth so we roll it up and get this cute look.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Amigos Mexican Restaurant, Jakarta

Click on photos to see group with captions.

We have been spending ALOT of time at Amigos lately (3 times in 9 days....). It is just as well we all love it, though I don't think that I could eat another chicken fajita any time soon, LOL
I have had my first Bloggy meeting.........We had dinner with another great Australian family that this blog introduced to us. Both of our tribes of kids were the same age and had a ball together. We were talking away madly until Elvis arrived, yes Elvis is alive and well in Jakarta...... Elvis was great fun but too loud for chatting.
Chelsea lost another tooth while we were at Amigos, the tooth fairy has been very busy here in Jakarta.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Jakarta daily traffic

I am almost too tired to type this post now....
I have spent all day, well lots of small spurts of time, trying to do this new display.
I copied the instructions off a favourite site "Do they have salsa in China" for how to do this photo montage. I got stumped at the print screen step. I spent ages down loading Picasa and it turned out that I didn't need it.
Hopefully if you click on the photo it will take you to Flickr where you can view the photos with captions.

I have been collecting this group of photos for a few week, I hope you get a glimpse of the fascinating scenes we see everyday.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Beef Rendang

Ibu S, our housekeeper cooked us our first Indonesian meal.........

MS S is a great cook, but has cooked for huge groups everyday in the past and reckons she is cooked out! We have asked her to cook one night a week and have decided on Wednesdays. It will become our favourite night of the week I think.

We had Beef Rendang last night. It was bubbling and boiling away for hours yesterday, the house smelt DIVINE.
It tasted out of this world.
Of course the kids hated it....Chelsea and Ben ate the rice covered in Soy Sauce they found in the cupboard (they like it better than Tomato sauce/ketchup!!!!) and Georgia ate a piece of carrot and zucchini.......

I wonder if Ms S would like to cook 2 or maybe even 3 nights a week............Oh the joy!

Electricity and water in Jakarta

The kids had a bonus half day holiday yesterday; they were most impressed!

The electricity system is being upgraded in the schools suburb, supposedly after hours only though.

The power in Jakarta goes on and off frequently, I teach most of my classes in the library (no windows to out side) which loses its lights the most. The kids love it as they get a minute or two of rest time in the dark.

Yesterday the power went out at 9.45am and wasn't expected to get turned back on until after 4pm, so school was canceled yippee!

The main problem with the power being off, besides the heat, is that there is no water.
Water doesn't often come in pipes in Jakarta. Most of the cities water is well/bore water pumped up from underground. No electricity equals no pump and no water or flushing toilets.

I have reasoned that this is why the upstairs bathrooms smell by the end of the day. There is no chlorine in the water, it is pure fresh (well.....maybe contaminated by pollution and septic run off) water and in the heat it turns into a stinky gloop very similar to the water in a vase after a week with wilted flowers. The kids now flush all the toilets ( we have 6!!!!!!) when they get home from school as well as run the taps to refresh the s bends.

This leads me to a very important tip for people looking for homes in Jakarta.......
Live at the top of a hill, never at the bottom.
All, I repeat ALL, water used in the house except the toilet, goes straight out to the open drain/ditch that runs along the road. Can you imagine the germs and smell that a day in the heat would do to the dish washing water, or .........well I will leave it to your imagination.

I haven't been able to work out what type of system this house uses for toilet waste. When I ask everyone points to under the driveway, I hope it is decent, as our water comes from under the driveway too............ Which is why we all clean our teeth, cook etc with bottled water.

15th Wedding Anniversary

Today is our 15th wedding Anniversary.
This day 15 years ago we were married in a beautiful old Church,

St Peter's Presbyterian Church
Blues Point Road, North Sydney

Last year GJ arranged a special dinner at the restaurant where we had our very first date. This year we are trying a Turkish restaurant that has been recommended to us.

I would never in my wildest dreams would of guessed that I would be spending my 15th wedding anniversary in Jakarta.

I wonder where we will be spending our 20th or 30th Anniversary?

Forgive the quality of our photo, my scanner is a bit off colour today!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Dunia Fantasi and Sea World

Sea world

The fish were SO close
This is the touching pond with turtles. It is Ben's arm at the bottom.

This was the underwater tunnel.

I loved these preserved fish, they reminded me of the girls arguing!
Outside Sea World.
Dunia Fantasi and Sea World.

GJ took a day off during these school holidays and we headed off to Ancol.
Ancol is the area along the sea front at north Jakarta. It is an old swamp land that has been converted into a seaside recreational area. There is a marina that is the gate way to the Kepulauan Seribu, the Thousand Islands, as well as hotels, parks, markets and golf course.
We visited Sea World (not like the gold coast) and Dunia Fantasi
(A mini Disneyland/Dream world).
Sea World is a tropical oceanarium with an under water tunnel to view the fish. The kid had a great time touching a big turtle in the petting pond. It was very interesting (and cool!) way to spend an hour or two.
After this we wandered over to Fantasy land where we sweated out the remainder of the day. Chelsea was overjoyed that she had grown tall enough to go on all the rides. My little daredevil went on a huge roller coaster with three upside down loops, TWICE. Georgia only managed once. The dodgem boats were a huge hit with the kids having three turns. Ben LOVED the little kid’s roller coaster and kept wanting more.
It was extremely hot and humid and had no air conditioned restaurant to cool off in for lunch.
I dragged them all along to the “It’s a Small World” –Istana Boneka ride. No one was interested until inside where all family members were entranced. The cute Disney music was playing, but sung in Indonesian. To me it was just like being back in Disney Land CA.
After many hours spent zipping around the park it was time to head home.
A huge storm was visible in the distance, which we missed, but in turn left the traffic on the south side of Jakarta in complete chaos. This added over an hour to our travel time which is not a hardship as we don’t have to do the driving and we have a three screen DVD player in the car. Mr Yadi, our driver even had time to watch a lot of “Eight Below” a great family movie.

All this fun and no day sleep has had a little side effect on an obnoxious 3 yr old boy. Today Ben hit any one who did not follow his wishes. The guard got whacked for not letting Ben hose him and his motor bike, Sarinah got whacked for saying Selemat Pagi to Ben, the girls got whacked for being sisters etc etc. Drastic measures were called for and after an extended stay in the thinking spot (and a smacked bottom) Ben reluctantly apologized to all and then had a 4 hour afternoon nap. I think the nice Ben has returned.

The dodgem boats, our three kids were in the red boat.

This was the view of the sea side from the top of the Ferris wheel. We could see a few of the "Thousand islands' and many, many cargo boats.

This is the view looking back towards the city, hidden by the haze.

This is part of the scary roller coaster that the girls went on.
GJ got the short straw and did the carousel ride.

This is the entrance to the "Its a small world" ride.

Farewell from Fantasy land.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Dom Perignon

We had a wonderful family Easter.

Good Friday is the only Easter public holiday here in Indonesia, which meant GJ had Janny and Tan Tan’s last day in Jakarta at home with us all (well all except the quick trip to Pondok Indah Mall we made for the last minute shopping LOL).
We spent the afternoon snacking and chatting in the lounge room about how great a time we have all had here together in Jakarta.
Jan and Tan are going to try and come back for Christmas.
To celebrate we opened my first ever bottle of Dom Pérignon. GJ had picked a bottle up as part of my Birthday presents when he was in Singapore.
My verdict – spectacular. It was great to be able to share it with my mum and sister but I would have also liked to be able to share it with my special champagne friend Robbie!
As I re-read this sentence I realize that there are many more special friends I would like to share with (De, Fi, Trina, Alicia and Deb W to name a few), GJ had better buy a case next time LOL
In Brisbane, Easter has always been a time for family get-togethers. Over the years we have developed a ritual of a seafood smorgasbord on our deck overlooking the pool with GJ’s family and a few special friends.
We received a lovely message from GJ’s sister letting us know that they were heading off to the fish markets for Sunday lunch with a big ‘I miss you”.
We had been invited to GJ’s boss’s house for a BBQ lunch. It was a wonderful substitute.
Mr. K, a Dane, is the CEO and his wife Mrs. A (my mentor in Indonesia) is from the Philippines, the Sales manager is also Danish and is married to a Taiwanese lady and then the Service manager--AKA GJ (and us) are Australian. We had a very eclectic mix for lunch and before we realized it is was nearly 7pm. The kids had a great time and were very sorry to leave.

We had a wonderful family Easter.

The Easter Bunny comes to Jakarta

Very unglamourous shot, but oh well!
Janny with her new photo album and a glass of Dom.
Janny is not used to looking at photos on the computer, she still prefers the an old fashion photo. On our last day in Jakarta Tan and I ordered a pile of photos and put then in an album, labeled. We thought that we were supremely organised, not many people travel home from a holiday their photos done. LOL The girls in the new outfits to go out for Easter Sunday lunch.
Ben, as tidy as a little boy can be