Thursday, January 31, 2008
We have Sambolo, on the east coast over looking Anak(child of) Krakatoa booked already, nearly finished planning Bali for Idul Fitri, trying to find time for a weekend safariing in Punjak + we want to go out to the Thousand islands again.
We also have our holiday back to Australia coming up, it will be the first trip home for GJ and the kids in nearly 16 months!
Oh my it is so confusing…..I wonder if they make it so hard so only clever people can get in?
Not that I am not clever, I am!
I am very logical and these sites just aren’t.
If any one knows of any links to Australian uni that offer this course please let me know. (if I do it through another countries uni I will be a foreign student and will probably have to pay much higher fees.)
During the first week back, two kids came in with a cough…well it has spread like wildfire through teachers and kids……and guess what….of course I got it.
Ms K, one of the other friendly teachers who has also come down with the cough/flu and I are going off to find a detox centre, we have seen 2 in Kemang. Since the typhoid (K was one of the 1st ones to get it at school) time we have both caught every thing that has gone around. If any one even talks about a sickness we both seem to get it!
We think our immune systems are compromised and are going to fix them.
K has heard of an American plan that lasts for 10 days and apparently has excellent results. It will be 10 days of herbs, limited (imported) fruit and vegetables, brown rice and water and not a skerack of any thing else. There would also be massages and something I have no wish to even think of let alone contemplate.
They could be a variety of outcomes:-
- I keel over and die from all the toxins leaving my body
- I make it to day 2.5 and break the fast with a glass of wine and some strong pain killers
- GJ and the kids have me committed for being a raging lunatic while suffering the release of all toxins
- I survive 10 days on the plan and emerge glowing with health and vitality and in a dramatically slimmer body……
I think I have listed the options in the right order.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
GJ and I have been on a lucky prize streak, which is just as well considering the unlucky health streak we have been going through.
Our friends T and J started it off when they won 2 flights to Germany at the Anza ball last year. GJ then won our Bali holiday (for 2) at the Scottish Ball, I won a years membership at JICC at a bazaar and then at the Anza Christmas carols we won 7 out of the 12 or so prizes.
Other friends now want me to buy their tickets and to sit next to me at the upcoming St Patrick's Ball.
Four of the raffle prizes were for gift vouchers to be used at Sailendra restaurant at the Marriott.
Don't worry it will never happen again.......
it was very disappointing at the Marriott.
I called on my wonderful, snotty, private school education and smiled sweetly and kept my cool...which meant that I got upgraded to a much better table and got great service all night...but still had to pay through the nose.
I am sure we were just there on a bad night and we were very disappointed that a very slight ambiguity in the wording of the vouchers made it possible for the staff to deny them for dinner and insist on them being used for cakes????????
insert swearing, just a little.
I am sure the manager who signed off on the vouchers with the words "dine in only, not for Christmas Day , New Years Eve or Sunday brunch" did not mean that you could only buy a friggin cake!
And that US$80 would get you two small 7" cheesecakes........After GJ haggled we got 4 small cheesecakes......while I sat smiling sweetly on a lounge...planing a scathing blog post...
The dinner buffet was nice, just nice.
The wine was exorbitant in price.
The room was really noisy.
The room needs some major exhaust fans, oil was smoking most of the second half of the night and it was very hazy. My hair now stinks...petty and trivial but true.
The staff were very polite, attentive and friendly but refused to even consider that they misinterpreted the voucher. (It was all written in English)
It was lovely to go out just the two of us, we got all dressed up and had fun in spite of the aggravation. Although if had planed on spending so much money on dinner this is definitely not the place I would of chosen.
Friday, January 25, 2008
A lady that has been a very active volunteer at the Anza club was having a birthday and a Bon Voyage party as she is leaving Indonesia.
At least 50 women, all in their compulsory tiaras filled this place. We had a great time mixing, mingling and eating yummy snacks.
By 10pm I was feeling the effects of first week back at school.....and we decided to leave.
Which is how we ended up at the second spot of the night.
GJ was having a late night snack with a friend at Citos, Cilandak town square. We swung by to pick him up and just ended up staying for another bottle of champagne..as you do LOL
GJ loves going to D'place and meeting up with Ace where they can solve the problems of the world.
D'Place has a great jazz playing every night. On Mon, Tue and Wed nights you get the best bands as they are not booked for the big city night spots.
So there you have it, 3 nights spots in 3 days. Probably another six months before I go to another one LOL.
This is why I like the Ritz...you can go for brunch and still be in bed by 8pm.
Georgia has the purple and Chelsea the turquoise.
Ben didn't get one, but now (of course) is devastated and wants an orange one! Next trip.
The girls furniture is all stark white as is all their bed linen. The room has soaring ceilings and is full of light.
These are the 4 possible wall colours they are deciding on.....
The girls have chosen purple, turquoise and lime,and are still deciding on the fourth colour.
It will be either yellow, orange or a cherry red.
MMMM I wonder what it will end up like LOL
If it was mine......words couldn't describe it. But to a nine and seven year old WOW, better than Hannah Montana's bedroom!
Ben has chosen Thomas the tank engine bright blue and orange.........
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Kemang Duty Free is now selling alcohol again!
Wine has been expensive and very hard to find since October last year, unless you were an embassy official or knew one
They are still very strict on policies.
You must show your original Kitas card (residency/identity card)
and you are limited to 3 bottles.
You also must pay in cash, probably so the official standing
next to the cash register can get some too.
Oh and don't be shocked to see the guards with HUGE guns roaming around!
Although they did let me get 4 bottles with a photocopy of my kitas.
I have never seen the shelves so full!
I am sure that will change as the news gets out.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Then I read this review and can not........
Wow..I did not know it was about the book at first.
I am pretty sure that the main character was not too popular with this reviewer.
I will give the owner a chance to get involved and fix the problems before I scream from the roof top.
We have a psychotic mum at school at the moment......first day back at school for the year and she is already causing problems.
It's sad for her kids and others to see her roaming through the carpark ranting and raving.
I feel for her as she obviously has some major problems, but won't accept help and rebuffs offers of friendship.
It is a really bad and sad situation.
I hope the school carries through with the threat of not allowing her on the grounds if the situation doesn't improve.
I have had enough.
You know how some people just ooze style and class and make it look so effortless...well Stephanie is one of them!
The theme of the party was black and red. Exotic extra long, red curtains were made especially for the night, the house was filled with red roses and the floor strewn with rose petals. It was so glamorous and fun.
We sipped champagne and mingled the night away.
The party ended just after midnight, all were amazed that I was still awake.
Which is how I ended up here......
Yes, I went to my very first club/bar in Jakarta.
I think the only difference to bars in Jakarta and ones else where in the world is SMOKE...oh my it was bad.
Red Square was jamm packed, the music was so loud and the only place to dance was on the bar...no, I did not get up LOL.
As it was after midnight, I officially went to my first club on our one year anniversary in Jakarta..
wait for the next few posts...it is only Wednesday and I have already been to two other clubs bars........Don't fall of your chair or spit your coffee on the screen...it is true!
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
We decided to enter the game console market this Christmas and after much MUCH discussion we decided on a Nintendo Wii and then let Santa know.
The reason we went with the Wii is that the operator has to move, there is not much sitting down and vegging in front of the screen. There is a sensor that picks up movement that sits on or below the TV screen. The kids play golf, boxing, bowling dancing and many other games and they are moving at all times!
We started to investigate units here in Jakarta and found 2 types, the Japaneses model was cheaper but set up was all in Japaneses, although games played in English. There was an US console which was far more expensive and requires a power thingy as the power was different to Indonesia. With all these products I would have no idea whether or not I was buying an original licensed product, that worked and had a warranty.....
Then there was the good old Target Australia Christmas special games bundle. We went with it, Dear in-laws family A purchased it for Santa and Robbie delivered it to us, sans any clothes because there was no room left in his luggage after loading up 3 large boxes......
The kids were delighted!!!!!!!!!! they had a game console...Santa was VERY clever.
We soon ventured out to get some more games, the unit only came with 2. We stocked up and found out that no games in Indonesia play on our unit.....real or copies.
It has something to do with Pal/Nstc regions........or gobbledygook. My options were to give my unit over to one of the shops and leave it with them for a few days to "modify"it and then hope that the games would work.
Based on previous experiences in Ratu Plaza I was not overly fond of that option, who knew what I would get back!
Plus there was no guaranty that any games would work.
I checked up on the trusty Australian Target web site and found games retailed between $50 and $100+ EACH. Even the original, authentic games in Indonesia cost much less than that.
To buy 4-5 games in Australia would be the same as buying a new unit.
So we have been sitting on this information for 2 weeks now not knowing what to do.
We finally made a decision yesterday on what to do...
This is the bit where you can't tell SHHHHH
My in-laws gave up a Sunday morning to face a CROWDED Westfield Mall 2 weeks before Christmas to purchase the unit.
Robbie gave up clothes in his luggage to deliver unit.....
I went out and bought a whole new American unit yesterday, and games and dance mats and power converters...we now have a Wii that plays games and that the kids are ecstatic with and a forlorn Wii that will sit in a box in my cupboard until I can work out what to do with it.
I feel cranky and sick about the wasted time, money and effort and I want to blame in on someone or have a hissy fit. But who?
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
It was how ever full of dogs. Unfortunately animals (CRITTERS) love me, so all the mangy, smelly mutts came and sat next to me, for the whole visit.
There was not as many hawkers as at Kuta, but they were just as persistent.
This beach has a lot of villas and restaurants on the edge of the dunes and would be a wonderful place to sip a cocktail and watch the sunset...next time for us.
I keep hearing the classic Led Zeppelin song, Stair Way to Heaven when I look at this.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
This was Kuta beach, looks great but there was an awful lot of rubbish in the water and the sand was full of stuff. We grew up on Australian beaches, they are pretty hard to beat!
I have just picked up a lot of these photos from the Kodak shop as enlargements, oh my they are wonderful.
It makes the risk of taking a good camera to the beach worthwhile.
There is one that I won't put on the blog that is just so glorious, it is like the essence of childhood. Three happy faces frolicking in the surf.
This place has the most wonderful infinity edge pool on a cliff overlooking the ocean.
Beside the pool is a stunning glass chapel for weddings. It would be the most glorious place to get married, especially at sunset. (yes, I have already sent all the photos to 2 people as a hint LOL)
Breakfast was very nice (except the cold, bitter coffee) but at 500 000 for a few eggs it was a tad expensive.
We had another lovely brunch about a week ago and guess what, the Ritz Carlton likes me too!
I met some lovely managers and received a lovely bottle of French champagne to have with Brunch.
We had a quick visit to the largest Hindu temple of Bali, Pura Besakih.
This temple is located high on the slopes of Gunung Agung (Mount Holy) in the north east region of Bali. From the top of the temple you can see the ocean in the distance.
It was only after we had been that we started to hear all the scam stories.
The villas driver likened the guides to local mafia and suggested that allot of tour companies had stopped going there due to the scams.
I was a bit disappointed in the temple, the structure its self was magnificent as was the view but the grounds were un-kept and there was an prevailing smell of dog poo. It was especially noticeable since it was only three weeks since I had visited Borobudur monument in Jogjakarta and it is well maintained.
Our driver couldn't accompany us into the temple so we walked into the courtyard and were assigned our guide and wrapped in a loan sarong (even though our pants were long enough). The tour was great, the young man was very knowledgeable and I really enjoyed hearing his take on comparative religion.
I was advised to offer around 25 000RP ($3.00) for a tip but gave 50 000RP as I thought the guide was really interesting but was shocked when I was then hit up for more...I was told it is customary to give double, half for the temple and half to be shared by all guides. Bollocks, but what do you do in a private section of a temple with kids? I paid and then had to hand over more money for renting the sarong.
It was spectacular and blessedly cool.
We drove to the top and were surrounded by very persistent hawkers and had a very dismal, overpriced buffet lunch. The kids thought the top crater looked very much like a throne .
We drove down to the lake to look up at the crater walls.
Inside the crater there was a large area given over to farming (this is where GJ got his great chiili shots) and some locals walking by with the fish they caught.
Ben really wanted to go into the volcano, I think he thought that it would be very interesting!
I am just loving my new Nikon.
Even GJ is getting into it.
I was always the one who took all the photos, now I have to ask for the camera while we are touring.
I would really recommend this camera. I do want the 18-200 mm lens though, it would be so much more versatile (I don't like changing lens while out, I am paranoid about dirt and damage).
Maybe for next Christmas.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Ubud monkey forest.
We have hired a car and driver for 2 days in Bali and one of the great places we went to was the Monkey Forest at Ubud.
I have a very sound philosophy on animals; there are humans, dogs and horses everything else is a critter and I don’t deal with critters.
I can admire some critters, look at them fondly, but have no desire to touch them.
Do a quick check of my archives to see how snakes, sheep, HUGE spiders, rats, mice etc like to come INTO my home.
The kids do not always share my beliefs…….hence a great visit to the Ubud Monkey Forest.
The monkeys are slightly evil…..they picked on Ben cause he was little.
Nasty little faces hissing and spitting with teeth bared. Whoops my bias is coming out LOL.
The grounds were wonderful, serene tranquil and oh so green.
There are few temples throughout the well maintained gardens.
The kids were spooked by a few big males and started to use their purchased bananas as missiles to scare away any monkey that came too close.
More adventures to come…….
We both grew up on the beach; me on Sydney’s Northern beaches and GJ on Queensland’s Bribie Island in a house 50 m from the surf. Going to the beach and surfing or watching friends surf was a way of life.
The girls childhood has been quiet beach-less.
Brisbane is on a river and a the closest surf beach is over an hours drive away.
Jakarta has surf beaches within a three to four hours drive….little bit too far for a quick surf.
We found a brochure for surf school on arrival at the airport, the girls were cautiously excited, GJ was filled with enthusiasm.
After leaving me with a tired, screaming, tantrum throwing, disappointed boy they set off in the surf school bus. Ben swimming is not up to Kuta beach and surfing this year, he was not impressed!
The instructor, Ketut was excellent; happy, friendly, calm and patient. Georgia was a little hesitant but soon forgot her fears and took to it like a pro. GJ went in too and helped one while the instructor was with the other girl.
I couldn’t watch……I prefer to have my kids in full life vests surrounded by a team of life guards in water no deeper than knee high. So watching them surf at Kuta beach was not so good for my sanity.
GJ was very impressed with the surf school, we would definitely use them again as well as recommend them. The girls now insist that we cancel all activities for the rest of our visit to Bali and just surf…….
The school also has a photographer and sells CD’s of images at the end. CD was 200 000RP ($25) for approx 90+images.
I will update the photos when home, I need my colour balanced lcd screen to edit...... these look so light on my laptop.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
We arrived in Bali at lunch and went straight to our villas (wonderful).
We all noticed straight away the lovely blue sky. In Jakarta the sky is perpetually filled with a brown haze of pollution.
The next thing I noticed was the amount of skin showing on passerby’s……I did not realize how accustom I had become to the modest Muslim dress codes. It was like walking down Surfers Paradise…..people in the skimpiest clothing all tanned to deep brown.
Our Villa is lovely, a private 2 bedroom house with a pool and cabana. The privacy is wonderful, we can lock the entrance gate and no one can come in or see us. I didn’t realise how much I missed true privacy.
It was wonderful to swim and lounge on the deck chairs reading magazines with out being watched.
We are staying on the “eat street” of Seminyak, the whole street is filled with wonderful restaurants.
Our first dinner was at Ultimo Italian Restaurant, DELICIOUS! The food was great and very reasonable. We definitely want to go back there.
We had a small shopping marathon with Tan, Rob, GJ and myself just before Christmas. We split up; Tan and I one way and the men the other.
As Robs ankle was still very tender we thought that the boys would be finished way before us (we actually thought we could do Seneyan City as well).
After about 1.5 hours Tan and I were laden down with just a few bags…LOL….we met up with the boys and gave them our shopping bags as they were taking the car and going home. After another hour we ran in to the guys (they were still drooling over the mens shoes…any one that knows these two would understand how out of character it is for them to be shopping let alone drooling over shoes!
We all had lunch and went home to view our great sale purchases. I had a few pairs of SENSIBLE shoes ( I love Rockport!) and Tan with half of this years collection of ladies Polo shirts….or so she thought!
Tan had finally managed to find the ultimate blue pin strip ladies business shirt in her size (we had searched most of Jogjakarta and Jakarta for said garment).
When we arrived home we found a bag missing, the bag that contained the ultimate Ralph Lauren shirt….
The guys shrugged and denied all responsibility…..but we knew, girls do not loose shopping bags of on sale merchandise.
Two days later we head back to Pasaraya Grande to repurchase the ultimate blue pin striped ladies business shirt and on a off chance check with the section to see if it had been handed in. It hadn’t but they referred us to customer enquires who didn’t have it either but referred us to customer service who DID have it!
There was much hand shaking and thanks going on in this room (we did stop off on our way home from a champagne brunch at the Ritz Carlton).
It was so nice to have our faith in honesty reaffirmed.
I mentioned before that I wasn’t feeling too good after Christmas, I was worried that Typhoid had returned. But luckily it hadn’t!
I was a tiny bit taken aback when the Dr chuckled and started to joke about how many different types of bacteria I was playing host to. So yet another course of antibiotics were needed, this time I have found some pro-biotics and multi vitamins to assist in my recovery.
I can’t not remember ever being as sick and in pain as often as I have since Sept 1st (broken ankle day).
It is lucky we love living in Indonesia and can easily forgive all the health atrocities it has inflicted.
So New Years Eve…….I missed out on a ring side seat to a magnificent fireworks display, great company, nice food and quite a few bottles of Moet champagne………
I stayed at home…with four kids (GJ had a great time at the party next door but forgot that 4 kids can’t look after themselves). Don’t worry, he is not in trouble for wrongly assuming that those 4 kids (age 4 to 9) would just go to bed unassisted like he told them to do at 10pm………Ben finally agreed to get into bed with me at 11.30 so I could sleep (no idea what those 3 girls did…LOL).
So 2008 started with a fizzle for me , LOL. But I have high expectations for the rest of 2008.
I am looking forward to Bali in mid January, Sydney and Brisbane in March, and one other exotic new adventure in the summer holidays.
I have reduced my working to two days a week this year and hope to pick up a few courses at JICC just for me. Cooking, painting, languages, things that are creative and fun.
I am still contemplating going back to uni and completing a teaching degree ( I am a work place trainer ie adult educator, plus I have speech therapy background which I use at the kids school in return for fee relief). None of my diplomas are recognized as credit points for teaching so it would mean 4 years full time long distance education, which I don’t know that I want to commit to. This might be a 2009 project.
So 2008.…..bring it on!
I can’t wait to learn more of the language of Indonesia ands explore some of the other islands.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
I am not much of a shopper here in
I don't venture much past Pondok Indah mall or Pasaraya Grande. I rarely venture into the city malls (they are truly spectacular) or to other ends of Jakarta.
When Tan and Jan are here I try to take them to all the hot shopping spots.
Tan has a passion for shoes and bags as well as anything by Polo (Ralph Lauren).
Polo brand is VERY expensive in Australia and much cheaper here.
Tan lucks out with the shoes....size 41 is not common here, but scores with everything else. Polo only goes up to about a size 34-36 so Jan just squeezes in but not poor old me.....
Places we go:-
- Cilandak town square. Wednesday is ladies day and it has market stalls set up with fairly good fake handbags and curios.
- Bogor. Bogor is a satellite city about an hours drive south of Jakarta. It is famous for its elevation, botanical gardens and being a handbag lovers paradise LOL. You can see our pictures and post of Bogor here. Handbags are sold here in huge warehouses filled to the brim with just handbags!
- Pasarya Grande. 7 floors of interesting goodies. Until this shop I had NEVER ever seen so many shoes for sale in one shop (you can usually find up to size 39 here easily). The range of mens shoes and clothes is equally enormous!
- Mangga Dua. Read all about it here.
- Tamman Anggrek, Read about it here .
- Pondok Indah Malls. My favourite, has everything.
- Ratu Plaza. Tan has a years supply of DVD's. Seasons and seasons of favourites as well as a few or quite a few movies. But do remember the important warning about this mall
I have a wonderful story about Pasaraya for the blog soon as well as the scoop on Pak Anis's wonderful treasures.......
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
We had a great night out at Anatolia Turkish restaurant last Friday night. It was the first time we had been on a weekend night and we caught the belly dancing show (8.30 & 9.30pm). The food here is divine, no wonder it wins so many awards!
It is not cheap at all..very similar in prices to top Sydney restaurants BUT oh so wonderful food and decor!
Mom had a ball, she got up and danced with the beautiful belly dancer (Tan and T were both too shy!) The dancer was gorgeous, a really pretty sweet face and she danced wonderfully. The music was unusual; more Bollywood than Turkish.
Santa was very generous to all!
This is Janny's antique silver horse, Ben's connector thingy set and the girls Wii.
Lunch was a lovely selection of cold meat and seafood, and a little Moet!
There was the new Christmas tradition......table top dancing
The evening wound to a close with family reading. We all received a plethora of fantastic books
And then off to bed for a good nights sleep after a wonderful family day.