Thursday, August 30, 2007

Brunch at the Ritz Carlton Jakarta

Gorgeous Georgia is going through a stage of pulling faces at the camera, where as Chelsea is posing beautifully. On the bottom row, Ben is sucking on a lolly pop shaped like a dummy/pacifier/Binky and Georgia is having a quick cat nap on my lap.

The chocolate ho-down.....Georgia was too lady like to be photographed....

We had our first brunch experience in Jakarta.
Apparently it is "the" thing that you do on Sundays.

Oh my was wonderful.

I had one of those moments where I nearly had to stop and pinch myself to see if it was for real.
I felt like a princess...the kids were looked after royally, we were driven there and home, I ate wonderful food and had Champagne before nightfall.....

We went to The Ritz Carlton in Jakarta, for a wonderful lunch with another family.

The Ritz has a kids club on the third floor for the kids with all sort of fun activities (Georgia came back with blood red finger nails and they all had tattoos ). Because it was three floors away I asked Sari (maid/nanny) to come with us to make sure the kids were ok.

The four adults sat and grazed on the most delicious buffet while our champagne/wine glasses were constantly filled and a wonderful jazz band crooned in the background.

The kids ate upstairs, it was full of kid friendly things like chicken nuggets and spaghetti etc.

They did however leave room for the dessert buffet.....a five tier mega chocolate fountain.
There was strawberries and marshmallows pre-loaded onto skewers for the kids. This wasn't good enough for "Prince" Benjamin, he grabbed a soup bowl and got Sari to fill it for him.

We certainly didn't need any dinner that night.
One other good thing about brunch is that it is CHEAPER than going to Amigos.......
I now know what my preference is.

GJ has been informed that he has to be promoted EXTREMELY quickly, or get a BIG pay rise so we can go back regularly.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bondies Playground, Kemang

This is my three on a Very steep and fast slide, they loved it!

This toy scrunches up to a small ball and then expands to a HUGE ball, all the kids loved it.

We have visited another playground in South Jakarta. This is Bondies in JL Ampera, Kemang.
This playground is great fun and above average in the safety area. The only bad point I noticed is that at the top of the slippery slide the netting had come away and a child could fall 3-4 m to the ground.
Besides the area in the photos there is a lounge area with books, toys, TV and a computer style game console. There is also a craft area where you can pay extra and do a craft project. The girls decorated a headband each for 20 000RP ($2.80).

The bonus of this playground is that it is licensed; the kids can play and mums can have a margarita or two........

It was very quiet on Friday afternoon and the Aussie mums were a real contrast to the only other group of mums who were locals. There was a table full of coffees and ice teas and a table full of margaritas....I will let you guess what table I was at!
It was a great way for the nine kids to burn off any excess energy at the end of the week, all the kids were happy to go home at 5.30pm for bath and bed!

This play ground is not cheap. For my three kids it was 105 000RP entry fee ($14.00) and food and drinks cost me quite a bit more (alcohol is very expensive in Indonesia, hence why we don't drink out often!)

Bens first swimming lesson

The school has introduced two optional activities for the Kindy kids- Swimming and Ballet.

Here is Ben's first swimming lesson.

We are lucky to have a fully qualified swimming teacher as one of the school mums who is running the classes.
Apparently she is the only one doing lessons for younger kids in our district. These photos are from a local apartment complex that hires out their pool for the lessons.
The photos aren't that good as I am hiding behind a tree so as not to distract Ben ! LOL

Friday, August 24, 2007

Three monkeys at a zoo in Thailand

Still waiting for GJ to his guest post on the Mud flows at Surabaya.....

Here is another teaser of GJ's work trip to Thailand last week.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

More from the frammers

My Java Road Tour picture has arrived at last!!! Hopefully I can convince GJ to hang it this weekend! I am so pleased with how it looks, it will be such a wonderful reminder of our great holiday.

Here is a wonderful silk Batik we bought in Jogjakarta. This was made by an elderly Indonesian lady who is famous for her Batik and teaching. The flash on the silk emphasis the colours, in real life the colours are allot more discrete,

This is my display of Sumatran wedding pillow embroideries. I can't find much detailed information on them (hint hint...any info would be gratefully received).

I bought these two Batik throws in Jogjakarta for the girls beds...unfortunately they have not inherited their mothers taste and they think that they are DISGUSTING....I might have these two joined and use it for my bed. The colours are wonderful.

These lovely acrylics were only 10 000RP in Jogjakarta (AU$1.40). The owner of the frame shop was so impresses she got the shops details off me to order some for her gallery. I am sure she could resell them for a lot more....

Look at this cute little guy...They are actually little people climbing up his back. The body separates for storing medicine inside.

The walls are cracking up

Some earth quake damage........

Some of this cracking would be from the earth drying out during the dry season.
The cracks have gotten huge in the last weeks since the earth quake.

Apparently I should not be worried until I can fit my hand in the cracks.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Bahasa Indonesian lessons

I have started my Bahasa Indonesian lessons.
I have picked up many words in the last few months but have not managed to get any joining word to make sentences.

Wow, it is going to be hard work.

Here is a small sample that I have tabled (formatting didn't make it) from my first lesson. I am putting all words that I learn in to an excel spread sheet, printing it out and carrying it every where with me.

Aku use with friends and kids I, Me My, Mine 1st person singular
Anda polite You, your, yours 2nd person singular
Apa what Vocabulary
Apa kabar how are you? Vocabulary
Apakah ?, makes a question at front of sentence Vocabulary
Apakak ? Whether? In middle of sentence Vocabulary
Ayah Father Addressing/titles 2nd person singular
Bagus Good well fine, thing Vocabulary
Baik Good well fine, person Vocabulary
Banyak much, many
Bapak Superior, formal, male Addressing/titles 2nd person singular
Beliau respected older person, eg principle , minister He she it 3rd person singular

I spend all my time at work teaching the phonic sounds of the English language, it is so hard to switch off that part of my brain.

For example
  • English E = e as in egg
  • Bahasa E = a as in hay
  • English C = c as in cat
  • Bahasa C = ch as in church

The course seems to have between 150 - 200 new words to learn each an hour an a half lesson.......All the Indonesian teachers at school are helping me, unfortunately every one has slightly different meanings or translations.

Tujuh belas Agustus, Indonesian Independence day

We had a lovely, quite Independence day.

GJ left at 4 am for Thailand.

Sarinah decided to stay and swap the holiday for Saturday and Sunday off. The poor old guards worked though, they never get days off (but they do get overtime).
Our local festivities kicked off at about 7pm about two to three blocks away. The kids and I walked down to have a quick look. The first thing was a group of young girls doing a wonderful dance. I got it on a small video but as the Internet is being very VERY patchy I have no chance of uploading it.

We didn't stay long, as although every one was very welcoming, Georgie felt a bit uncomfortable as we were the only westerners there. I must admit that we did attract a few startled looks-me and the kids walking through a dimly lit kampong.....The fireworks weren't scheduled to start until 8.30pm which we decided to watch from home, another advantage of living at the top of a hill. The girls didn't make it..too tired from the previous nights sleepover.

Our street looked great, the RT and helpers had hung all the new flags. A team of people had come through a few weeks ago requesting donations for the festivities. My neighbor helped me verify the request and suggested a suitable donation (200 000RP).

It was wonderful driving through the streets on the last few weeks; seeing all the houses, businesses and streets decorated in Red and White. You don't often see this type of national pride in Australia.

We bought these flags from one of the many roadside vendors. They have ties that make it easy to attach to a piece of bamboo.

Our street was festooned with these flags.

Our neighbourhood night time walk.

Gado Gado

To my absolute delight GJ has decided that he would like our housekeeper to cook more Indonesia dishes for dinner. Previously Sarinah was asked cook once a week, but that only averaged out to once every three weeks.
GJ has put a huge white board in the kitchen and lists down what he would like to try. All his colleagues at the office are sending home suggestions as well.

I don't care what is cooked, as long as I don't have to cook it!

These photos are of Gado Gado. On the first plate there is potato cubes, hard boiled egg, tofu (Tahu in Indonesian) and tempeh.
The next plate has blanched bean sprouts, green beans and green stuff ( I will ask LOL)
You add this to your plate and then cover with home made peanut sauce, hot or cold. I don't add much sauce, as although Sarinah added only a touch of chilli and no seeds (to make it nice for Mrs) it still nearly burns my mouth out.

I have had this three nights in a row...yes GJ is away in Thailand having a wow of a time and we are living on left overs......yummy though. Of course the kids think that it is DISGUSTING so they are living on their staples; home made cream of chicken/vegetable soup, spaghetti and Izzi pizza.

GJ loves chilli......loves it with a passion and the more the better. He pulls the chilli garnishes of dishes and eats them and adds chill sambal to everything. By Australian standards I like things medium hot, but by Indonesian standards I like things very mild.
Sarinah is going to make GJ his favourite sauce for fruit this week, yes here they have a chilli paste to go over fresh fruit that GJ assures me is divine.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

An Afternoon Garden Tour in Jakarta

The kids and I decided to take a tour of our back yard this afternoon....

I love the contrast here, a 12ft wall topped with barbed wire next to the most magnificent green leaf.

This is our pumpkin corner. Imported pumpkins are very expensive in Jakarta and the local ones are not what we are used to. We found some butternut variety seeds and Samino has built this trestle to grow them on. This yellow flower will hopefully become a delicious pumpkin. We don't know what the bottom fruit is but Samino told us you can eat it, we just have to find out the English name.
I didn't see the car mat drying on the tree when I took the photo, probably as I am so use to seeing it there!

I have not retouched these photos in any way, this really is the real vibrancy of Indonesia!
This group is for Aunty Tan Tan, her favorite flower is the Frangipani.

Samino left his ladder out, of course they had to climb it and run through it.

It was Very hot work exploring and climbing ladders and the kids were looking lovingly at the pool so I just pushed them in, they were SO excited to go in in their school uniforms!
Here is our angelic Georgie
Beautiful Benny

Cute-i-pie Chelsea

Here our our flags; we are getting ready for Independence day.
Friday the 17th of August is Independence day in Indonesia.
This year is the 62nd year of Independence and we are really looking forward to joining in the party. The streets are a riot of colour with every one hanging their Red and White Flags and banners.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Kumon and after school activities in Jakarta

GJ and I came out to the garage this morning to find Georgie entertaining all the staff and neighbours.
Georgie had GJ's glasses on and was bopping around driving the stationary car!
The school has just started its term three after school activities (ASA's).
Some new options have been added; Drama, Cooking, Bahasa Indonesian lessons (only year 4 and above do BI lessons weekly), Golf and Modern Dance as well as the old favourites of Ballet, Tae kwondo, Computer, Tennis, Sport, Mad Science, Craft, Art, Piano etc.
Georgie is trying out Drama and Cooking as well as her favourite Mad Science.
Chelsea is sticking with Ballet , Piano and Mad Science.
The girls have also both started Kumon, with twice weekly lessons and DAILY homework.
Kumon is a world wide maths tutoring program, developed by Toru Kumon a Japanese mathematician in 1954.
We have had to put up a white board in the kitchen to keep up with the kids schedules!
I was dragged from every ASA known to man while growing up AND HATED EVERY MINUTE!
I was determined never to make my kids do any activity unless they wanted to; well except for the maths tutoring because they really need that! And here they are doing all this, at least it is all at one place and at the same time so there is no ferrying involved.
They love all these activities and wish there was more days in the week in which to do more!

134 days until Christmas

My mind has turned to Christmas.....I even know that it is only 134 days until Christmas.

Sorry if this freaks any of you out, but I need to start my planning.

Janny and Tan Tan have booked their airfare, so they will be here for Christmas.

I am up to getting the kids portraits taken for the Christmas card photos, or at least thinking about getting the photos taken.

I think I have worked out what sparked this Christmas planning. I saw a mention of the annual July "Great Target Toy Sale". This has been an annual event on my schedule for the last five years.

All the kids birthdays as well as GJ's are in October......I like to be organised!

At the Mega toy sale I would buy every ones birthday and Christmas presents in one swoop (this way I could make sure that every body got exactly the same amount of things each).

The stash would be laid out and quickly photographed (very important in case you forget exactly whats in the box!) and then divided into Oct and Dec boxes for each child. There was another box of presents for all the birthday parties for the rest of the year. I would stock up on half price Bratz dolls cause they are a HUGE hit at parties-apparently you can never have too many Bratzs.

So here we are half way through August, no Target toy sale, not even a catalogue to get ideas from and not a single present planned let alone bought.........

I have just given my self a head ache.......

Friday, August 10, 2007

6th month anniversary

The "W' post
We have now been here over six months.
WOW it has gone so quickly.
When we walk into our home it feels like "home".
We are loving living here!
We can see ourselves here for quite a while.
We have made some fantastic friends.
We feel alive with the diversity and pace of this country.
We are getting used to the traffic and pollution.

Playgrounds in Jakarta

There is almost nothing around our local suburbs in the way of public parks. If there was it would full of food stalls and rapidly erected small homes, as well as feral cats and garbage.

We are extremely fortunate to live in a dead end street with only one neighbour so our kids have a place to ride their bikes safely and play. Not many kids have the luxury of a play area with out cars whizzing by. This has led to a few really nice playgrounds being opened in the surrounding suburbs. Most are indoors- clean air and A/C!!!!!! We went to a birthday party at a new playground on JL. Kemang Timur last week, the girls had a ball! We will definitely be going back.

The safety standard of this play ground weren't too bad; except this big metal thing that was a cross between a see-saw and a swing (a bit like the pirate boat ride at theme parks) which could brain a little kid if they walked behind it!

In Indonesia there is no safety guide lines or regulations in regards to play toys or equipment, and there is no suing for damages either. You have to be HYPER VIGILANT.

  • At Amigos if we sit on the upper level Ben can fit his complete body through the rails of the balcony. He could fall to the ground floor......

  • No one checks that services are regularly done on small centres and old buildings we take the stairs.....I am not being paranoid

  • We don't EVER lean on balcony's or stair rails. I have seen rails that are nailed (not screwed) into concrete floors two floors up.

Enough of the bad stuff......lets get to the good stuff!!!

This playground is great.

Toddlers section inside with the coffee shop, with the water park area and main playground outside. All the kids at the party had the best time! I think?????that it is about 50 000RP per child, I will have to check as that is quite expensive BUT the amount of energy that the kids expend there would be worth it!!!!

Another playground we have been to is Bondies on JL Kemang Ampera. Playground is downstairs and upstairs is a licenced premised. Coffee or wine depending on the time!

We have also been to Tamani kids in Kemang which was a good indoors playground.

Jakarta Traffic Police

We have had another run in with traffic police...potentially alot more expensive this time.

We got pulled over last Saturday afternoon at the big fountain roundabout in the city. I think Yadi did make a wrong turn but only because a taxi was completely blocking the road.

The police man was very excited to see GJ and I in the back of the car!

He kept trying to talk to us and Yadi kept saying "No Speak Bahasa Indonesian" and wouldn't let us talk.
Turns out that the police man was telling Yadi if we didn't pay him he would give Yadi a ticket.

Turns out the ticket will be MUCH cheaper than the huge payment sought!

There was an article in the newspaper just this week stating that the starting wage for traffic police is around 795 000RP per month (about AU$118.00). This is what we pay our junior maid!

Why would you want to be a police office......."Bonus" income maybe?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Jakarta Earthquake

Edit: Earthquake update for Wednesday 12th September 2007 here

GJ has just rung (he is away again, Surabaya this time) to check that we are all right.
GJ heard about the HUGE earthquake that struck Jakarta at midnight and was worried.
We are all fine as is the house, we actually slept through it.......

I will find out more today.
One mum from school lives in on the 26th floor of an apartment in the city another friend lives up high as well.
So far it is reported that there is no casualties.

Added 9.20am

There was only two of us mums at school that slept through the quake, both of us had a wine with dinner.......
The family that lives on the 26th floor in the city had a great story to tell. The beds were moving, drawers opening and closing, cupboards shaking and J had trouble standing.
The teachers apartments are about 150 m from us and they all woke with the beds shaking.
I can not believe we slept through it all.
Georgia is now claiming to have felt it; she did climb into my bed around midnight so maybe something did disturb her.
I have yet to hear on any casualties, I hope that this will stay the case. Indonesia has had more than its fair share of disasters.

Don't worry about me mentioning when GJ is away in real time, we have the guards as well as our lovely staff with us.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Google Picasa 2

I have been meaning to share this for ages....

I love this program and the best...its free!

I have photoshop and still don't now how to use it properly (19 years at Kodak didn't teach me this LOL). I wanted something simple and quick and this fits the bill perfectly.

Piassa 2 has the added bonus of being able to create photo collages, just like the ones I have been using on my blog for the last few months.

I am extremely aware that I am not a writer and that I massacre the English lanuage; so I tend use lots of photos to disguise this.

This is my latest creation.

This is the wrap up photo of "The Great Java Road Tour of 2007"

It is presently at the framers and will be displayed on the blog in all its glory when ready.

Note to self: next time the biggest is not always the best (1.3 m square) as it costs a FORTUNE (even here in Jakarta) to frame!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hence why I am now on first name basis with all the staff at Jakarta Frames (JL Benda- Highly recommended- very professional and top quality) and I qualify for a special customer discount..........

Water supply in Jakarta

It is so easy to take for granted the simple act of turning on the tap and getting clean water.
We have a standing competition for years about who's water tastes best- Sydney or Brisbane's?
We always ignore Melbourne, and every one knows that Adelaide's tastes foul!

Now our eyes have been opened up to what a huge proportion of the world live with.

This is the pump that supplies our house with water. All our water comes from an underground well. The water is not treated in any way and is most likely very contaminated from septic run off.

If the power goes out we have no water.......We do have a large orange tank on the roof for emergency supply. If the well dries up we will have no water......

We use this water to bathe in (gives you lovely soft hair) and wash the clothes and dishes.

We do not, CAN NOT drink this water or cook with it. We can afford to buy bottled water to do all this.

Many people can't.

This is life in Jakarta.

Google Reader

I heard about a new thing at the end of May from Everyday Mommy and have been hooked ever since.

Google Reader is a feed aggregator, it constantly checks to see if any of your entered websites updates and displays it for you.
Instead of clicking on all my favourite sites (not just blogs, but news etc) when I have time to sit on the computer there is a list of all updates. Google reader also shows any pictures that have been loaded.
The only negative thing is that you can't comment on a blog from this platform
(which explains why I have been so slack commenting lately) and if people are using a site metre style program you don't show up on their logs.
I would highly recommend this product, it saves me so much time!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Garden maintence in Jakarta

In preparation for our BBQ party last weekend, Samino was tidying up the garden.

We are Australian, parties are always outside....LOL

It was irresistible to the kids.

They all took turns mowing as well as sweeping up the clippings with a twig broom.

I wonder when we go back home and they are older, will they be fighting over who mows???????

Antique Java rice hopper / Antique Teak Jodang (Dowry Chest)

We have bought a new coffee table; our first ever good one.
We have made do with a cheap and nasty one for years while we waited for the perfect one.
This one is magnificent and has a dual purpose.
This is an antique Java rice hopper, a storage bin for rice OR a Jodang, a dowry chest. It is made out of teak and has heaps of interesting bangs and dents. It is big enough for many, many pizza boxes and drinks. It is also great for sitting on to watch TV, or so the kids think!
The dual purpose is also magnificent, it is our new naughty can fit all three kids inside.
It was a hit at the party where all the kids had to have a turn locked in!
I think that if GJ is naughty or needs time out I could fit him in as well!