Wednesday, March 26, 2008


We are in Queensland for the week.
Have heaps of photos on my laptop but can't get internet access.
Every one we know that has wireless internet has lost their security code!

I can't even read blogs...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

We are here...............

We are all alive and well and on our way to Australia.

I noticed a really fun phenomenon this week.......

After the St Patrick's ball (oops you haven't seen the photos, or heard how I met the lovely Shannon.....soon!) I lost my voice for quiet a few days.
I have just realised that because I couldn't speak I thought I couldn't blog.....ROFL

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sambolo Beach Bunglows

Sambolo was a place we had heard about for the last year as being a great place to go BUT it has always been advertised as available on a yearly lease or time share exclusively.

Well we found out that you can book nightly or weekly, yippee!

We got a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom bungalow for a week for $400US. We easily fitted 4 adults and 10 kids (11 one night). The other families in our group got a three bedroom house right next to ours and easily fitted 3 adults and 5 kids in. The 2 lounges converted to single beds so the units could taken even more people.
Further down the beach one bungalow had about 25 in it!

It is quoted that it is only about a a 2.5 hour drive from Jakarta, .........we all averaged about a 3.5 hour drive.

The location is lovely, a quiet shady cove with gently rolling surf and a magnificent view of Anak Krakatoa, yes, that most famous volcano.

Isn't it magnificent!

The bungalows are right on the edge of the beach, each with a grassy patch, BBQ, table, chairs and outdoor shower. Inside are are a lounge area, a large table as well as functional kitchen (the 3bdr unit had a way bigger kitchen that the 4bdr). The units are basic and start off reasonably clean, with one hour though, EVERY thing was covered in sand and termite dust from rafters. 5 days after returning I am still finding sand in Chelsea's hair, even though I have scrubbed her!
You need to bring just about everything. There is basic linen on beds (bring your own!!!!!) and adequate crockery and cutlery. Things like soap, toilet paper, tea towels, aqua etc are not provided. Seafood is readily available but there is no supermarkets anywhere close.

The vendors..........there is two sides to every story.
These people rely on the tourists for a living, I can't imagine there being a heap of jobs locally. If you buy from them you are providing an income.
oh my it was so intrusive. We were stalked, watched and pounced on. Vendors would even come to the door!
Things that were available
  • massages oh my, 40 000rp($5) for an hour of luxury. Do not make our initial mistake; massages on the beach are great but big black biting ants like the massage oil. The girls all got their hair braided for about $3.
  • Shells big, little, all sorts. i got little necklaces for kids for 10 000rp, about $1.20.
  • Sarongs and batiks. these stated at about $3.
  • Board shorts and T shirts these started at $2.50. GJ got some great surf shorts for $3 each.
  • Lizards this was disgusting. Stuffed lizards over 1 meter in length. We chased this vendor away and told him off, unfortunately we told him off in English , I hope he got the message. If you bought one of these it would mean that someone would just go and catch another poor animal and kill it!
  • Boggie boards and fishing nets boards were for rent and nets were for sale. Bring your own, boards were well used and nets were far too big for rock pools.
  • bananas, rice rolls in banana leaves, ice cream, fireworks were also available.

The surf...
The kids were in heaven.
GJ was disappointed that he did not bring his proper surf boards.
The waves were perfect every day, not to big not to small. The kids were up and in the ocean at 6 am every day! We kept them out of the sun for a few hours over lunch and then they were straight back in the water until sunset. I even caught waves on a boogie board!
The below collage is going to be enlarged, I think 60 x 60cm (24"sq)
Our group consisted of 7 adults and 15 kids (and then we met up with more friends there)and 5 different nationalities and we all had a blast.

T and I are rather organized high achiever types LOL......we are already refining the excel spread sheet of food and other stuff that was used for the first trip, for our next trip......If you are interested in knowing what to take and what to leave behind please email.

Hiking in west Java, Indonesia

I have no idea of the name of this place, all I know that it is about a 20 minute drive from Sambolo beach....doesn't it look great!

I have another confession....I have not been there!

I only bought flip flops and Crocs to Sambolo and did not want to risk my ankle out in the jungle with inappropriate footwear.
J took all these photos of the kids and downloaded them for me, we both have exactly the same camera (Nikon it!)

Everyone had a great time and came back covered in mud. It was decided that with 10 kids it was a bit risky for them all to swim in the water hole (it was right on the edge of a 5+ meter water fall) but if you go take your swim wear as it looks fantastic!

I was watching the latest episode of Lost last night (season 4, episode 4 & 5) and realized how similar the jungle where they film is to here.

I am pretty sure that this was a national park. There was a guide available to take you though the park on different trails.

If your ankle is not up to hiking through the jungle, you an always do what I did.......stay at Sambolo and have yet another massage!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

GJ jinxed us again

GJ struck again yesterday.
He made a sweeping statement of "the rainy season is over"....................

This is similar to the time touring around central Java he decided to take a shortcut through a village. He turned around after five minutes and said 'What are you worried about, this road is great!" Two minutes later we were driving the Serena up the inside of a rough creek bed that was supposed to be a main road LOL.

Yesterday, after picking up the girls, we made a quick stop of at Hero, the local supermarket. It was pretty dark for 3.30pm but no more than the usual afternoon clouds. We were inside Hero for about 8 minutes when we heard the thunder and the rain start.
We spent about 15 minutes in the shop and then loaded the car up in the pouring rain.

As we left the car park we were driving through about 15cm of water which was rising rapidly!
We found that the road was closed, the river was over the road and there was only one way out and that was to power across the intersection through one foot+ of water.

We drove through a posh part of Kemang looking for streets not flooded so as to get home, this was after 10 minutes of rain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The girls were screaming with joy, yelling out "cepat cepat" to Yadi, which means faster faster! They thought they were in a speed boat making a huge wake.

I was busy rummaging through my hand bag for my camera. I try never to be without my small compact, but alas no SD card or battery and I couldn't get my hand phone on as little madam Georgie had changed some settings!

We finally got out of the suburb Kemang and were nearly home. We had to cross one more river before we got there and were amazed to find it breaking its banks. The river had risen over 2.5 feet in about 20 minutes of rain.

We were ringing GJ telling him to leave the office now!
Get a taxis and try and get home asap.........This was a 4.05pm.
Yadi's home was already thigh deep with water through the ground floor and we wanted GJ home.

I remember years ago trying to describe how heavy the rains were in sub-tropical Queensland compared to Sydney or Melbourne...

There is no way to describe the ferocity of an Indonesian rain storm!

GJ made it home at 5.35pm...and wanted to know what the fuss was about....not much traffic, great trip home and the river a good one foot below its banks............

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sunsets over west Java

I have done nothing to these photos, this is really what it looked like!

I don't ever think I have seen a sunset this vivid.

I did grow up on the east coast of we were sitting on the west coast of Java.
I wonder if the air pollution contributes to the magnificence of the sunsets?

We all sat and wondered if we went back 2-3 years would any of us guessed we would be living in Indonesia and living a life of adventure? I know that I would of bet money against it! But here we are and so happy to be here!

We were waxing lyrically (well as much as you can with a few glasses of champagne....) and came to the realization that we had taken out family "boat" out of dry dock, we have even left the safe harbour!
We might encounter some rough seas, but wow, how fun life is!

This is still my favourite quote of all time

"Twenty years from now you will be more
disappointed by the things you didn't do than
by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines.
Sail away from the safe harbour.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover."
--Mark Twain

Sickness in Jakarta

Just to break up the monotony of our fun adventures in Indonesia...

I have more sickness to report.

Both the girls came down with Cytomegalovirus last week.
This week Ben has Glandular fever
Quite a few kids are off school at the moment with one or the other.....We are at week 7.5 of a 10 week school term...School holidays are needed!

I think GJ has both!

I had both in my early twenties so should be fine. The girls are back at school and are on the mend. Georgia needed antibiotics for a very infected throat, but Chelsea has not needed any.

Ben is still contagious so is at home being my little shadow........
I think that this is what explains the temper tantrums from a few days ago!

I think that this photo is so precious, It was late at night and we were still at the clinic and the local dr wanted a second opinion with the Expat dr, so Georgia was taken back to the ER to lie down and wait. She is such a little princess like dramatic but soo cute. My sister saw this photo and wanted to jump on the first plane to comfort her.....
This is the exact opposite from Chelsea LOL, If she needs a blood test she just sticks out her arm and watches......Ben falls half way between the two extremes. This time his vein collapsed so he needed two goes and was quite ok with it all.

It is not until you move to a third world country that you realise how much you take for granted at home.
Australia's drinkable tap water, clean air, sanitary conditions, non polluted environment and access to safe foods makes it very easy to stay healthy.
Here it is a whole new ball game.

I have worked out how to take photos with my hand phone AND to download them......It makes it easy to take discrete photos.....

I am trying to sneak one this week to show the raw chicken handling procedures at the local expat supermarket....oh my you will be shocked!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A tropical birthday party

My birthday was the 5th of March and J's was the 10th; we decided to hold a combined party while on holidays at Sambolo on the west coast of Java.

What a GREAT decision!

We decided to make it a toga party as well!
This was J's and my birthday cake.
There is no ovens or shops at Sambolo, and a cake wouldn't stay fresh from Thursday to Saturday evening so we improvised......Tim Tams and Lamingtons (these are Australian icons).

The bottom RHS photo is the table decoration that the girls made for us.
We had a sheet as a table cloth and had covered it in sparkling party confetti when the girls presented us with two half coconuts filled with flowers.

They were stunning...we were all blown away that we were in togas with the sunsetting on a tropical island with volcanoes as a backdrop.............

J is a explosives-mining-thingy-expert and had great delight on putting on the most AMAZING fireworks display( T even had an OHS plan on standby....I have very clever and efficient friends LOL). This would be absolutely, totally illegal in Australia, probably here too, but fireworks are readily available, even on the beach.
Around the cove another group let off a few fireworks before ours...theirs were quite good but ours were the best!

We had a 14 kids at the party......this was the sort of night that makes childhood memories.

How are we going to top this next year?
And when can we do this again????????????????????

I am now 32+++

This was my surprise birthday presents.
I have long admired these over-sized goblet ice bucket and now have my very own!
I was asked if it was for a very large greedy serve of champagne.... I have been to a few parties and seen these filled with ice with a few select bottles!
The picture frame was also a nice surprise. I was fascinated when I first saw these months ago and set about folding paper to achieve the same look at a fraction of the no avail.
I can not make my hands do what my brain wants them to do, they are craft challenged fingers!

The ++++ in my title refers to the practice of adding a ++ after the price on just about everything in Indonesia.

In Australia we are used to the advertised price being all inclusive. Here the final price can be over 21% more than the advertised price......sales tax as well as service charge need to be added.

I have decided to adopt this practice for my age, every year is just another +

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Birthdays in paradise

We are just back from our wonderful looong weeknd on the west coast of Java.

When we sort through the many, many, MANY photos I will tell all about
  • J's and my all Australian birthday cake...Tim tams and lamingtons.....
  • hiking through the Indonesian jungle
  • fireworks on the beach
  • sunsets so magnificent you will not believe that I have not retouched the photos in any way
  • our toga party
  • swimming in the ocean looking at Anak Krakatoa......( yes that volcano!)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Yet another wonderful weekend in Jakarta

Sat afternoon, clean, rested and fresh
synchronized pool fun
Mud mining and construction
Backyard soccer
Saturday AND Sunday night; dinner with friends

humongous garden snails
What the floor looked like on Monday morning....courtesy of the mud construction and Mowgli.
Monday at rest time...
First ever full-blown tantrum from too much excitement over the weekend.
Yes, all books thrown across room and chocolate milk smeared on walls.........
I don't think he will do that ever again.........
He packed them all up too, although his wall cleaning skills leave a lot to be desired.

Chocolate fountain ............Chocolate volcano!

The kids were delighted the other night when the chocolate fountain exploded like a chocolate volcano.....
Someone let their skewer fall in and it got sucked into mechanics, the fountain was not impressed and went off.
Chocolate flew
(except the curtains thank goodness!).

Ben caught most of it on his spider man outfit. It was just pure luck that I had the camera out as it erupted LOL

You can actually see the chocolate flying in the first shot.

The kids all want to know when we can do it again!

Thank goodness I had Samino here to help clean up the huge mess........

The Kamoro tribe of Papua, Indonesia

Blogger ate my post.........

I had an epic post written about the great Lunch T and I had with the some members of the Kamoro tribe of Papua, Indonesia.

It will never get posted unless I summarize......
  • Indonesia Heritage society organized in support of the Ubud writers festival.
  • Kal Muller spoke about life with the tribe, his role in distributing the tribal art and his job at Freeport mine.
  • It was a first for T and I, we work, we don't "lunch". In fact T went back to office after the lunch (and one bucket sized glass of wine).