Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Adapting to Jakarta's climate.

I am sure I have mentioned quite a few times that Jakarta is hot, stinkin' hot actually!

And it is usually stinkin' hot 365 days a year.

Jakarta is VERY close to the equator.

We have two seasons here, hot and wet and hot and dry.

We are presently in the very, very, VERY wet part.

It is particularly wet at the moment and something strange has happened, it is not stinkin hot, just hot and I am getting cold...........I know, me cold, in the tropics!

I had not noticed it as much until Jakartass (famous Jakarta blogger) mentioned how cold he was.

It was only about 27 degrees Celsius yesterday (80.6F). That is cold when Jakarta is, 99.9% of the time, over 32C during the day (90F).

I have had the A/C off for the last week, well except at night.

I like to keep my bedroom at a Canadian winter temperature.

I have been wearing a jacket to work and to the supermarket to keep the chill out of my bones.

All the kids at school are turning blue and shivering after their swimming lessons.

The smog and haze seem to cut out a lot of the suns warming rays on pools here, I was so surprised to see how much cooler the water is here compared to Queensland.

Next time I complain about being stinkin' hot perpetually please remind me that it is possible to feel cold in Jakarta.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Jakarta Java Kini club launch, aka a BiiiiiiiiiG weekend in Jakarta

We had another wonderful social weekend in Jakarta.

Friday night was the annual school parents BBQ, which was great fun. After it ended we (some of the teachers and partners) moved on to a local club/pub place called the Star Deli.
The music was too loud and the wine horrible but we still had a great time.
I vaguely remember sending a text message stating that I need white, patent leather knee high boots to really fit in!

It was really hard to wake up early for our massage...yes you heard right, we had a masseuse come to the house for one hour body massages !

We tried something new on Saturday night. We live in an exciting place, we have the opportunity to try new things, so we are exploring new places hence Saturday nights outing.

I subscribe to a great magazine called Jakarta Java Kini.

It is a life style magazine written in English published monthly. You can buy it at the shops or subscribe and have it delivered (I did mention to the owner how difficult it is to subscribe and he is so aware of this and is working on making it easier). They also publish Hello Bali which I want to subscribe to as well.

Jakarta Java Kini is starting up a club for Jakartan residents. ( I will explain more later about why I have no details......LOL).
There was a day of fun at Club Azur

One of the main reasons we went was out of curiosity for seeing the inside of Club Azur. I drive past it at least 3 times a day and had no idea what was inside. I have since found out it is a private club for paying members and their guests.

We also thought we would mingle and meet some new people. We all have such a great time with our circle of friends that we never get around to chatting to others.
Unfortunately Sat night was no exception, J had spent a very interesting week in China, T was excited about her new job and I always have lots to talk about as does GJ.

We arrived at 6.30 for some pre-dinner wine tasting. The wines were very nice, served in large glasses which were constantly refreshed.......
The staff from the magazine had been at the club all day for the variety of tastings, demonstrations and talks. Some had helped the long day pass by tasting some of the wines and were hilariously hammered.

We met Alister the Owner and editor in chief, although I doubt he will remember us.
We listened to a wonderful recital from classical guitarist , John Paul.
We drooled over Melanie Wood's posture, she would put a yoga master to shame!
We marveled over Andrew Whitmarsh's bravery, he just wrote a great story on free train travel...on the roof of the carriages (this means your head is REALLY close to power cables which kill instantly on contact). We also quizzed him on his private life and asked for some kid orientated travel/adventure features.
John Aglionby gave a great talk, he talked about measuring the 14m snake in this link. I would love to hear more of his stories....
A gentleman in a black shirt with a nice wife gave a great tipsy talk on
Feng Shui , it was hysterically funny. I might add that every one was tipsy by this time too.

We literally stumbled out of the club at I have no idea of the time. I deliberately did not wear my watch so I would not notice my usual 8pm bedtime come and go. Truly.....I go to bed early...
I left behind my information pack with all the details on the new sorry no details.

GJ and I managed to sleep in to 7am (a huge feat in our house) poor old T and J were up at 5.45am for a family mini marathon.....and yes they all finished!

We started the next round of fun at midday on Sunday, yes a great lunch with a group of friends. An old bloggy friend (although un-met in the flesh) couldn't make it; an always starving Ace took this lunch home in a bag.
We met C's
fiancée, an American doing aid work in Ache and washed away tiredness with a glass of bubbles or two. GJ was in heaven as B was a scotch lover and he even opened his best bottle of scotchy goodness for a quick tipple.

I think it would be obvious that we did not make our Sunday night dancing lesson............

Bedtime success

Our kids have always been big sleepers, but over the last 18 months ALWAYS want to sleep with each other.
Now Ben too always wants to join in.
The new rule this year was each in their own bed for school nights.
On Friday and Saturday nights the kids can sleep in a huge puppy pile in any bed EXCEPT mine!

The main thing that has made this much easier has been the colourful mosquito nets we got in Bali.

The girls feel so secure and snug inside their princess enclaves.

For some silly reason I didn't buy Ben one......HUGE mistake that will be rectified (he has chosen Orange for his). He is now buried under a pile of soft toys and cuddlies to make him feel snug and secure every night.

These cost 200 000rp each, about AU$28. I am sure they could be bought for alot less if you knew how to bargain lol.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Polarizing filter for Nikon (Nikkor) 18-200 lens.

GJ had some fun with the new lens on Sunday.
We added a polarizing filter as well as our standard UV filter and this is some of the results.

This is a little tin wall hanging near the pool, I just love the blue.

Ben actually looking at the camera!

A collage of blue.

A warm collage
The whole reason that GJ picked up the camera was that there was blue sky visible. This is VERY, VERY unusual.
We are in the midst of the wet season, and it is really wet too. The rain and wind managed to clear away some of the perpetual smog. Jakarta ( can't find a reliable source for fact linking, but try this) is commonly listed as one of the top ten/twenty polluted cities in the world. We don't see sky during the day and/or stars at night.
This is our home with blue sky above.

The colour and light of this are just perfect to my eye, BUT I am still not happy with the focus.
I might just try to read the instruction manual.

While searching for facts and links I found this on Wikipedia, it is VERY interesting.

I did a speed test on our internet as we have been having a VERY slow and intermittent time lately. This is the best speed so far, I have been averaging about 79kb/s. We use fiber optic cables to receive signal and pay for "up to" 512kb/s.........very different to what we actually receive.

A few friends have recently switched over to the new service from First Media and are all very happy with the speed. I can have "up to" 1500 kb/s for the same price.

I dream of wonderful, super fast internet connections........
I have given up on phone lines here, especially in the rainy season.

One day.........

Here is the link if you want to do your own speed test.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lack of posting

My sister and I have had a change in status...we have stopped being the children and have become the parent.

We are dealing with Alzheimer's, and unfortunately we are dealing with Alzheimer's in the denial stage. We have the support of a variety of health professionals.

Two of my mothers friends are also in denial which is making our role reversal a little more difficult.

I rang my moms best friend who I grew up with and made her cry.
This wonderful lady, who I still have to stop my self from calling "Aunty" S, is a housebound paraplegic.
As my mothers illness progresses it will mean the end of contact with her very best friend.

This is where being a expat is tough.

Since the tough years (#25), my family has shrunk to three...Mom, Tan and my self.
My sister is in Australia shouldering most of the responsibility of care.

I will be back in Australia soon and hope fully can sort out some arrangements to make it easier for all of us.

It makes it hard to enjoy and write all about the wonderful things in our daily life when I have all this in the background.

Booked, Bali villa

I am so excited...look what has been booked! (internet photos so only small size).

Six adults and eight kids will have 8 nights in this magnificent place later on in the year.
All three families now have something very exciting to look forward to!

If you get a big enough group renting a villa in Bali is surprisingly affordable.

Ibu Sabine

I was introduced to a lovely elderly German lady last year, Ibu Sabine.
Sabine and her husband moved to Indonesia in 1962 and have the most amazing collection of Indonesian art and furniture. Sabine's dream was to retire with a business restoring and selling furniture and objet d'art.
Unfortunately her husbands failing health has made this impossible. Sabine is selling off her collection to finance a move back to Germany to get the appropriate health care for her husband.

Most of the building materials:- original carved doors, stained glass, teak windows etc have been sold. There are still many chairs tables etc. Every time I visit there is something new to look at.
As it is still the rainy season most of the art is still in storage. Come March Sabine is going to get out the art and batik for viewing.
Sabine has had a man working for her since she arrived many years ago and she has trained him in restoration. Once you decide on purchasing something Pak Atmore will schedule the work and call when finished.

Before shots
After shots

Ibu Sabine is relying on word of mouth to get customers and lives in South Jakarta, in the vicinity of the zoo. If you, or someone you know is interested in being introduced to Sabine please email me and I will pass on the contact details. Sabine, naturally, is fluent in Bahasa Indonesian, German and English.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Blog posts I am too busy to write...

Another great night at Amigos (note the gorgeous Miss K asleep where she landed on edge of the dance floor)

Another WONDERFUL brunch at the Ritz (well except for this horrific moment)
The FREE kids club is a huge hit with all the kids!
I met another nice manager on this visit, I love how everyone remembers us and looks after us. Pak Irwan (our favourite waiter) makes a beeline for Ben as soon as we arrive and looks after him. I have a favourite table soon as I book and say it is Mrs Jenny (our surname, whilst simple, is not phonetic and is hard to spell) the lovely ladies ask if I want my usual table!

Our car is the DVD car, it is the most popular. So I was lucky enough to be the adult supervisor on the way home from the Ritz and got to watch (for the 1000th time) the highly unsuitable and stupid Avatar show.

The girls were promised a Princess package during the Christmas holidays...we finally got a round to taking them. A princess package is a manicure and pedicure with x2 nail art for little girls.... oh my goodness they were in heaven!

Nikon (Nikkor )18-200mm AF-s DX VR lens

I received a combined Valentines and early birthday present!!!!!! (March the 5th...)

I got i!!!!!!!!!!!! I got it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and it was a surprise!!!!!!

GJ bought me my dream lens, the 18-200mm.

This means no more changing lens, this lens does it all!

I have had only had about 5 minutes to play with this lens so far...these are the results.
I did take photos of the kids, all with their eyes closed or closing and a very sharp emphasis on runny noses....I will try again later.

First opinion......

  • A heavier lens than I expected, the weight was the first thing I felt; however this is a very big lens and is to be expected. This is considered to be one of the lightest lens around.
  • Focusing: slightly different to what I am use to, when I viewed these results the focusing point was different to what I was aiming for. This will only take a short while for me to get use to.

Once again the best deal was from JPCKemang

British International School, Jakarta

We went to a great function last night at the British International School here in Jakarta.
This would be the school I would send the kids to if we had an unlimited schooling is magnificent. (it is also more than double the cost per year than our current school +/- $us50K pa).

We attended the Chinese New Year celebration picnic.
There was a Chinese dinner buffet, with dragon dancing, tai chi and a fantastic fireworks display all on a large grassy area. The weather was particularly good, it was a balmy, rainless evening.
The kids had a ball, we hardly saw them all night. The just ran all night with their friends. We sat in a large group and chatted (and drank a little wine...).

I forgot the no pictures :-(

Here is the link to see the school
The facilities and resources are excellent, as is the academic reputation.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

GJ did it

GJ managed to get all the pictures up, they look wonderful.
I couldn't get the angle right with the camera to show a true perspective, front on they do all look level and uniform.

At our home in Australia we were anal about arranging our collage of photos. The top edge of all frames , irrespective of size. were all exactly level as were the bottom row. Here we decided to be a little more relaxed.
We just picked a frame from the pile and hung it.
This was quiet a big job as all the walls in our Jakarta home are solid brick. GJ has to screw through the masonry and then insert a plug and a screw.

This room is the kids play room and is at the end of the lounge room downstairs.
I can sit on my lounge view my beautiful Indonesian batiks and through the door way see my wonderful photos.

There is honestly no more wall space to decorate downstairs.

It is like living in my own personal art gallery.

There is a much nicer view that shows it all, I just have to take the photo.
I will and I will post it!

Playground duty at school

I do not think that there is worse job at school.

Tuesday 10 to 10.30am is my slot.
I was lucky(not!) enough to get the top playground as my hot spot.

This is the danger zone, it is hell on earth.

  • The upper year boys playing soccer with a killer intensity.
  • The year 1 and 2 kids running around with gay abandon.
  • The older girls skipping and playing basketball.
  • Little kids climbing the adventure playground like little daredevils.
  • Occasionally the preschoolers will come out to the sandpit to watch (2-3.5yr olds).
  • To stop the kids from running up the slipper slides; the school has two levels and to join them there is a big concrete staircase and some built in concrete slides. The kids think they are FANTASTIC, I think they are lethal.

It is the person on duty's job to keep all these groups under
control and to stop the zones from colliding.

I need danger money.

It is like trying to herd a pack of starving wolves.

But this week I was flabbergasted by a new danger.

Above the slides, above the chairs outside year one classroom, where lots of cute LITTLE kids congregate, there is an over hanging roof, with no gutter.

On Tuesday a work man was walking on this wet roof barefoot!
He was replacing roof tiles, which he was holding and stacking on this wet tiled roof........
directly above the heads of all these cute (well loud, raucous and energetic) kids.

He looked at me as if I was a crazy bule (westerner) for yelling at him to get away.

So playground duty is for making sure that all kids survive and return to class when the bell rings as well as scheduling repair work for the most suitable time.

In comparison, the lower level duty is wonderful.

The area is the tables and chairs around the pool with lovely big shady trees. This duty involves slowly walking through the tables chatting with nice kids (well except for the year 2 boys LOL), opening tight lunch box lids and chip packets, getting a cool water from the cooler and having a coffee passed out the staff room window.

I will have to do some serious crawling to get this spot for next term!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The most disgusting thing I have ever eaten

I feel sick even just thinking and typing about this..........

We had another wonderful brunch with friends this weekend ( I can't put my favourite place in all of Jakarta's name in the same post of this vomit inducing stuff).

Since I am on my herbal supplement program/detox thing I tried to steer clear of all meat, dairy and wheat products. This was easy to do with the variety of things available.

I saw a pot of bok choy and the dreaded sea cucumber that looked delicious. For some very foolish reason I thought that this was just a type of tofu........

Five minutes later a huge mouthful entered my mouth. It is a credit to my mother for instilling decorous manners that I did not projectile vomit it all over the table and our friends. I managed to keep it down and hide my heaving.

You know that smell of a dirty fish tank?

You know the slimy, rubbery feeling of a jelly fish?

Combine these two things and you get a sea cucumber.

Summary: Sea cucumbers are bottom feeding slugs not tofu.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Chinese New Year in Jakarta

We had our second Chinese New Year in Jakarta. One of GJ's biggest customers had their annual company celebration which we could attend as it was a public holiday here. The kids were very excited to receive red envelopes with money inside. Ben couldn't care less about the cash, he loved the red printed envelopes.

There was a dragon, drums and some DELICIOUS Indonesian food.

GJ has a few things to do this weekend.......

GJ is going to be a bit busy this weekend.....
I collected all the photos I have taken over the last few months and had them framed.
The frames aren't too bad considering I went into the framers and asked for the cheapest molding they had.
Framing is definitely much cheaper here than in Australia.
There will be absolutely no wall space left downstairs after all these are up......

Monday, February 04, 2008

Ben is pregnant......

There is about 6 staff at school at the moment that are pregnant.

Two of the three teachers in Ben's class have been/are pregnant (one has just had a beautiful baby girl).

Over the weekend Ben kept saying that his babies were hungry.
I just assumed he was talking about his treasured stuffed toy puppies.

He soon dissuaded me of this notion, he pulled up his t-shirt, rubbed his tummy and showed me his babies, plural!

He needs to eat "lots and lots" because his tummy/babies are hungry.

He has girl babies and boy babies in his tummy........

Friday, February 01, 2008

Kid swapping…….

Quick edit:-
My friend Lori just noticed that it sounds
like the kids are going for a whole month!
They're not, don't worry,
it is just one Saturday night a month.

We are just about to start a new monthly activity…monthly sleepovers. One month we will have the R’s kids and the next they will have ours. The kids think that this is VERY exciting……..the adults are quite impressed too.

This weekend will be the first swap. Once the kids are use to the idea we might be able to do a kid free weekend away!!!!!!

GJ has wanted to do a weekend in Bandung, or even further a field if he is on a business trip, but there is no way I would leave my kids in a foreign country with staff. In Australia there would be no problem, Indonesia is a whole different option.

All six kids play so well together and hopefully be very well behaved and VERY sleepy LOL.

We haven’t been able to come up with any ideas of what we want to do this weekend though…I can see a early dinner and then home to a empty house being the number one option!

Jakarta rains......

The big wet has started again..........

It has not stopped raining since yesterday.
Already the roads are chaotic.
School has been let out early.
The pool is overflowing and the river near us will soon break its banks.

I have more than enough food and water and have just got 2 new gas bottles.
If the power goes out we will have no tap water (need power to operate well pump) or air conditioning....

We live on the top of a hill so we will be dry, unlike many other residents of Jakarta.

hopefully the rains will stop soon................