Saturday, April 26, 2008

Kecipir, in Gado Gado

GJ asked Sarinah to cook Gado Gado this week...mmm yummy!

On the platter there was a strange green vegetable that I had never seen before. It is called Kecipir and was grown in our garden!

It is similar to a green bean and was delicious.

I have this great book called A Jakarta Market by Kaarin Wall; it is available at AWA as well as ANZA. This book has black and white sketches of common Indonesian fruits and vegetables as well as a short description. The book has the local name as well as overseas names which makes it easy for Sarinah and I to swap recipes as well as write out the shopping list.

Our bit for Earth day

We have a patch of land next door to our house which was used as the site office when construction began on our house and next doors.
In Indonesia builders live on site; they build a shack first then build the house 12 hours a day 6-7 days a week.
Once these two houses were finished the guys moved on to their next venture. Left behind was the shanty, broken stuff, bricks, piles of unused cement (hardened of course), rusty nails etc. This was then covered with weeds and jungle and locked behind a rusting tin fence...
It was an eyesore and a waste.
The owner of the street (yes one family owns the whole street!!!) said that we could have use of it.
In Australia I would have got a bob cat (truck thingy) in and a dump truck/skip and it would of been clear and flat in about four hours. Probably would of been $300 all up. Here it cost the same but took three and a half weeks of hard labour, BUT pool boy and his mate got the job.
So now we have a big patch of land completely cultivated providing food for many as well as getting rid of an eyesore.
I have found a shop that sells seeds(Ranch market) and we pick up a new type each time we go as well as save seeds from all vegetables we eat. Samino and the family next door grow all sorts of exotic things for themselves as well as their families and the families of other staff members. I think sometimes there is enough left over for bartering and/or selling.

Next post will be about a new vegetable that we tried from the patch.

Georgia and Chelsea took these photos for me, I am recovering from a little procedure. In Australia I had a general anesthetic last time, here it is just done in rooms with a giggling specialist......

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Brunch at the Ritz Carlton Jakarta

We had yet another wonderful brunch at the Ritz on Sunday.
I can not see any reason to go any where but the best (we did try here and it was a shocker!!!!!).
I think we might of outstayed our welcome...they turned the lights out on us (it was 5pm and they did close at 3.30pm.......). We are trying to fit in lots of functions with Shannon and Dave before they head off on their next overseas posting.
In every single photo, EVERY single person had a smile on their face!
(oh well except Prince Benny...see below)

As usual the kids loved the kids club......They even got to keep the balloons once it closed!

I had to put this collage of Prince Ben in.
We call him Prince because that is what he thinks he is....King of the world, aged four! I do so tire of his royal behaviour and love it when GJ catches it and swiftly brings him into line. This would have to be a major drawback of being an expat in Indonesia. Most people here are so nice to the kids that they can easily take it for granted and forget common courtesy.

Look at those choppy little cheeks!!!!!!! My bloggy friend, Heidi from Irish triplets was uncannily spot on with her comment on this post......He is the spitting image of GJ and he does like sneaking GJ's scotch LOL.

It was sorting out these photos that made me realise I had forgotten about the ball photos from the previous post.

I do have a little note to time champagne finishes.....don't get just one more round.....not if you want to stay awake after 7pm and go to school the next day and be a responsible educator.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

St Patricks Day Ball 15th March 2008, Jakarta

I can't believe I never got around to posting about the Ball........
It seems so long ago. LOL.
In summary; it was a wonderful, fun night!
We arranged to meet up with a lovely blogger, Shannon from Cyberbones and her equally nice husband David. What a lovely couple!!!!!!!
We have already managed to get together again!

16th wedding anniversary

Oh my goodness, we look so young!

We spent a lovely day cruising a mall on Saturday, just the two of us.......GJ bought more boogie boards for two upcoming trips to Sambolo and I found a new salon at the mall whose chairs vibrate at every point of contact.......(after a hard day of shopping, a bottom cheek massage is bliss).
Lunch was at my favourite, Pho, a Vietnamese outlet.
By the time the sun set the old man got grumpy and decided to watch sport on TV instead of going out , but my new glitzy cocktail dress changed his mind....well the fact that I managed to get it on super clearance for less than $20 in Australia did the trick!
GJ had his first visit to the Face bar followed by a scrumptious dinner at Lan Na Thai.
It was a wonderful evening!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Taronga Zoo

The Zoo's animals

my animals.....

I was fortunate to grow up on Sydney's northern beaches, about a 20 minute drive from the world famous Taronga Zoo. The zoo is like a comfortable old friend; but even with all the familiarity I still think it is one of the best in the world! (Singapore and San Diego are my other favorites).

The view over the city is amazing!The zoo is built into the side of a hill going right down to the harbour. We alway wind our way down the hill and then catch the sky rail back to the top.

This has been a great addition to the zoo over the years as I am usually pushing a stroller and or carrying a child as well as drinks and bags which is VERY heavy going up hill.
This year I forgot all about Tanya's and mums' fear of heights........

The girls thought it was hilarious that they didn't like the view and ride......but Tanya was HORRIFIED when the girls channeled their father and started to rock the cabin.....
It was hard work not to laugh out loud while telling the girls off, reassuring Mum and Tan, as well as taking photos!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sydney, Singapore and Jakarta International airports.

On our trip over to Australia I had made a few notes on my laptop about airports......unfortunately I could not connect my laptop to the internet to post them.

(Don't loose your wireless will regret it!)

Jakarta international airport, Soekarno-Hatta International Airport

In the weeks prior to our departure there was a lot of mentions of the state of CGK's restrooms in the media....... well here is my two cents worth......


In my 32++ years I have been to quiet a few public restrooms around the world. This would come in the top 5 worst ever.

It is an absolute disgrace for the capital's airport.

The airport itself is not too good.
Very inefficient!
I try not to ever say a bad word about the country that is our present home, we truly love living here but honestly ...the airport sucks big time!

EVERY time a citizen or resident leaves the country you have to pay a fiscal tax of 1 million rupiah ($125) per person as well as 100 000RP departure tax ($12.50). So it costs us three hundred dollars to leave the country, kids are free of fiscal but pay Dept. tax. Apparently claiming it back on your tax return triggers an who would want the Indonesian tax department going through their finances???????

Not much was open, for some reason we were not allowed in for 10 minutes....I think the guard was waiting for us to pay him. At 4 am in the morning I need nice hot coffee and a clean spot to sit and be able to sniff Bens warm snuggly body. None of this can happen at CGK.

We have got some great tips after a few visits through...when you get off your flight RUN to immigration. Knock over all in your way, just get there ASAP. It will save at least an hour of ridiculous queues.

A new tip is to take a wet wipe and rub off all chalk marks on your luggage surreptitiously as the come off the carousel. It will stop the annoying spot checks at customs. Unfortunately I did not have a wipe handy and the wise guy wanted to check the bag on the bottom of my trolley which was piled high as a volcano threatening imminent eruption. GJ and Yadi were no more 20 metres away behind the screen but I still had to unload and then reload my mountainous pile of luggage......

Unless you speak way more Bahasa Indonesian than I do, don't bother with the porters. I know the going rate, can negotiate the price but still get surrounded in the carpark and hit up for more. Same as the creepy men in the terminal who walk past and hiss in your ear "statues, etc", I loudly say no. My sweet bloggy buddy has taught me how to say no like a local..."ngat" (i think that is how you spell it...) lots of guttural emphasis and none of the soft formal word "tidak'.

Singapore Changi airport.

Oh my, immaculate, organized, efficient. You could eat in the restrooms here.

On our return journey we caught the new light rail system between terminals.
Ben was in heaven; a bus, a plane and a train all in one day! You could live in this airport for a week+ free trolleys throughout.

Sydney International Airport.

I must admit getting alot better...

but the extortion of having to pay $4 for a single luggage trolley...and no credit on return.

The shops are interesting, lots of chairs and windows and space, but the rest rooms still smell. It was nice to watch the sun come up over the airport and see all the activity.

Customs and immigrations on arrival are still super slow and tedious.

I was a bit nervous traveling home by my self with the kids......The journey started at 4.45am and finished at 10pm, a looooooong day.

Normally I have GJ as my pack mule...... this time it was just me with 4 large suitcases, 3 cabin luggage bags, 3 backpacks and a handbag and 3 tired kids.

But we survived, intact and sane.

Singapore airlines are great for traveling with kids. Their inflight entertainment system is great and the kids meals have a small portion of healthy well balanced food with heaps of yummy junk. I totally caved for convenience......they ate all junk (well not Ben as he vomited all the junk food over himself and me on landing/arrival in Australia....) and drank COKE!!!!! that is normally SO not allowed.

After having to take Ben to the toilet every 50 minutes on the way over, and being pee'd on TWICE (yes I was in a state when we finally arrived home in Sydney...vomit and pee encrusted as well as hot, sweaty and tired...) I cheated on the way back. When the poor little thing fell asleep I whipped his knickers down and put a nappy on him. When he woke up he felt it and was most impressed that he could just pee away where ever he was.......He didn't want to take it off.....must be a boy thing!

The new airbus was ok...we didn't get to see the cabins though. The girls still can't grasp why we can't travel business class....I can see their point, it does look much better LOL.

Four and a third years later......

Remember these photos......(well only if you knew me as i didn't have a blog when Ben was a newborn....)

These are at my friends house in Australia.

De and I have been friends since we were five years old!

We both managed to have our last pregnancies together and popped out these gorgeous bundles (well A is gorgeous, Ben was an ugly troll...if you don't believe me go look here!) in October 2003.

A and Ben were born three days apart, Oh and C's birthday is in October too; 5 kids all born with in a 20 day span!

Here they all are in November 2003, the babies were about 6 weeks old.
Here they are in March 2008, four and a bit years later!
Same lounge and just as happy to be together!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Colourful Bedrooms

It was wonderful to come home to a riot of colour in our bedrooms.
Everything was exactly as we envisioned!

This is Ben's room, he chose red and orange for two of his walls.

This is our room, we chose rusty red and "urky colour" for our room.
This is the girls.......very wild and they are ecstatic!
Purple, yellow, blue and green.

I am mentally cataloging all the other walls I could now get painted......

Monday, April 14, 2008

The most beautiful city in the world

These all taken whilst walking around Taronga Zoo in Sydney Australia.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Still in Sydney

Poor Ben is missing Jakarta!

All he wants to do is go home.

All the kids are being good whilst dragged from one retirement village to another.
They have also discovered the complete DVD set of "Gilligan's Island", they are rapt in the show.

We are having a hugely stressful time dealing with Alzheimers, but are at last moving forward.