Sunday, July 27, 2008

Chocolate martinis

I tried something new the other weekend, a chocolate martini.

It tasted just like cough syrup with some sprinkles on it.

I won't be having another.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

More of the wonderful Sambolo beach

We have had another wonderful few days on the west coast of Java at Sambolo beach resort. Sambolo is about 11km north of Carita beach.

This is the kids swimming around the corals and rocks at the beach. The water was lovely and clear, unfortunately with all the fires burning in Asia at the moment you could not see the horizon let alone the magnificent Anak Krakatoa volcano.
This rock formation was exposed at low tide and GJ found a little hole that formed a blow hole. The kids thought that it was AMAZING!!!!!
When the wave went out it was about knee deep down to the sandy sea bed.
When the wave came in, WHOOSKA!

I have mentioned that we have a strong family sun protection policy ( remember the stupid man and his rickets comment LOL) and everybody has to be out of the sun between 11am and 2.30pm. We keep thinking up new craft activities to keep 6 kids amused. This time we added play dough and jelly making to our usual painting, drawing, clay and dvd's. It was a big success and was devoured in 90 seconds flat.

We did our usual trip to the local fish market and this time took the all kids. All were entertained except poor Georgia who was very underwhelmed by the sights and smells.
Once everyone got over the shock of a car driven by two blondes with 6 blonde kids in the back they were all keen to advise us on the best fish and seafood for our BBQ. It was all divine......Red snapper, prawns, octopus, baby lobsters.
The only downside was I was unable to wind down the window to tip the road boy, while changing gears and listening to dancing frog at a million decibels (not by choice, mind you!) and glide out smoothly before being hit by a speeding truck....yes I did car bunny hops to dancing frogs in a black kijang...and missed all trucks and pedestrians.

I love these it is summer holidays (local schools as well as expats) the beach was deserted. We had our usual bungalow and were gob smacked when a bus arrived and set up outside the only inhabited section of the bay...right outside our bungalow. All was fine until until the motor boat arrived to cash in on all the new potential clients. This is a motor-sports free beach and my feisty friend was quick to remind them of this. Once the boat was gone the kids were able to safely get back into the water and make new friends.

More stories to follow....if I get the internet back on......

Monday, July 21, 2008

Alive and kicking (and screaming) in Jakarta

We haven't fallen off the side of the earth, I just have no internet at home and my laptop's battery has died so I can't even go searching for some wireless!

Since the start of June we have had major problems with connectivity.....last week the internet provider actually told me to sign up with a competitor while I wait for them to fix their problem.

With FastNet there are no boundaries to the amount of data you wish to upload and download. FastNet subscribers have continuous internet connection with no interruptions 24-hours a day, 7 days a week and 4 weeks a month beginning from the minute your connection is activated, without having to dial-up each time you wish to connect.


I am nearly at the stage of needing to medicate myself to stop myself from screaming like a banshee and having a major tantrum........mmmm I think I am developing a pattern .

The idiots at the First Media tell me everyday to refresh my modem and restart the computer....hello this doesn't work....there is a problem......Of course I am still paying for the privilege of speaking to the customer service team twice a day and not having internet access...

My next scheduled rant will be about my 20 month old laptop and its completely dead battery...that is unavailable to purchase in Indonesia as it is too old...................annother WTF moment.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Bandung has turned us......

My friend and I pride ourselves on not being your typical expat wives.

We both work, shop, care for our kids and don't do the whole "gym-lunch-shop" thing day in and day out. Not that there is any thing wrong with that...LOL

My friend in particular hates to shop......I must admit I do like wandering around a mall now and again as well as a market or two, but do not have nearly enough time to do so.

I have managed to turn her.......this week we did retail therapy to get over my Australia stress.
Luckily it is sale time.......Pondok Indah mall got a work out.

The turning point was Bandung.

Bandung is a city about 2 hours from Jakarta and is famous for its factory outlets.

We did two separate days of shopping in one week...we even encouraged each other to purchase...wait for it....handbags.

I have mentioned before that I missed out on the handbag gene at birth. One purse and one handbag will last me a couple of years, same goes for my friend.

I felt just like Mary Tyler Moore tossing her hat in Minneapolis when I was surrounded by all these branded factory outlets LOL (NB I am definitely not old enough to have lived through watching the MTM show.....but I do remember my mum watching the re-runs when I was a VERY small child). We had so much fun rushing to one outlet to the next.

The kids got some great stuff and I think I have finished my sisters Christmas shopping. I only bought one thing for my self and nothing for poor old time.

Oh yes.... this is how far we have turned...we are already planning a next time. Even the 3 hour journey home through horrific Friday night traffic didn't turn us off.

We are going to catch the train up with the kids and make a weekend of it. Pool and cinema for the for the parents.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sex and the City movie

OMG I loved it.

Tan and I went to see this movie and we laughed, cried and snorted all through it.

We then went straight out and purchased you do!

I can not wait to get to the DVD shop this week and buy a copy so I can watch it again and again and again.......

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Harbour View Hotel

We had the most wonderful lunch at the Harbour View Hotel in the Rocks area of Sydney.

This place is amazing, it is under the Harbour bridge and the view is amazing.

The food and service was MAGNIFICENT!!!!!

I loved all the vintage bone china!

The management is thinking of starting up high tea on weekends.

That will be a must for us on our next visit!

I did suggest that the mounted deer over the fireplace would need a lovely floral straw hat to create high tea ambiance lol.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Bachelor of Education, Primary

I got into University!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I found an Australian uni that does an external degree in primary education and I start in August!

I hope to finish the degree with in three years; it is normally a 4 year full time degree.

I owe a big thank you to Dominic at Aussie in Indonesia for all his help and advise

Monday, July 07, 2008

We sacked our driver...

In March 2007, on Janny's and Tan Tans first visit to Jakarta I took them to Bogor to see the Botanical Gardens ( ok I made them do a quick walk through but it really was for them to buy some handbags LOL).

On the toll way up to Bogor our driver fell the over 100km/hour...with my mother, sister and my babies in the car.
Since this moment, I have not been relaxed in the car unless GJ or I am driving.
I always sit in the seat behind the driver and constantly watch his shoulders and face in the mirror for signs of tiredness.

Fast forward to 2008, the driver falls asleep at traffic lights, constantly.

The big clincher came when he fell asleep on the toll way to Sambolo doing 120km/hr again with the family inside.

In Australia you can't just sack someone. You have to follow a process of verbal warnings, written warnings and mediation.

I applied this practice here, the companies HR manager held meetings and explained the ramifications of what would happen if he fell asleep at the wheel again.

Well it happened again....on the way home from the airport. The fourth time.

He has been fired. Instant dismissal.

I didn't realise how worrying it was until now after he has gone.
18 months of stress.

I really don't care whether or not expats are good employers or bad ones. I know we personally treat people with respect and pay well. The bottom line is that my family's lives were placed at risk. That is not going to happen again.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The journey home

I had one of those trips home, the days that make you want to scream like a banshee and drop to the floor and have a full blown tantrum.
I probably would have but it was Jakarta International airport and dropping to the floor could of meant instant death from the pox......

I love books...I really LOVE books and always stock up on trips abroad. Bookshops are not that plentiful or well stocked in Jakarta and are very expensive.
Books are heavy, especially if you have over 10 big ones hidden in a back pack. I was trying to stand up straight so no one would notice and ask to weigh my bag, but this was getting very hard after 75 minutes in a queue to check in at Sydney airport. I can not imagine how much excess baggage fee I would of been charged for my stash!

After putting away half a bookstore and relieving my back of burning agony I was less than thrilled to be on an older plane filled to capacity, stuck behind an arsehole for 8 hours. The type of arsehole that reclines his seat before the plane even takes off. I think his seat might of gone back slightly more but only if both my knees were removed....The seat was so close to my face that I could not even see the TV screen, luckily I had quite a few books to keep me amused and non violent.
After my wine was spilled over me the second time I was incensed enough reach forward, tug his arm and loudly (but still politely and completely lady like) ask him to keep his seat upright until my lunch tray was removed. I then spent the rest of the flight wondering how much trouble I would get into tipping ice and drinks over his head as well as how much it would cost to bribe the hostesses to do the same......

After a pleasant 1 hour in Singapore airport (oh how I love thee Singapore...) it was time to face the madness of the flight to Jakarta. Luckily this was not so bad, but the airport was horrific.
I had my 16 kg backpack strapped on my back and made the frenzied dash to immigration and got through in great time to then have to wait for 1 hour for my luggage.
Of course there was no trolleys.....
After being knocked down, run over and shoved about a hundred million times I started to get a bit snarky.......when men pushed in front of me I would shove them back and tell them to apologize to me in my limited Bahasa Indonesian. The expression on their faces was very comical....

It is very hard to get use to a culture of no is survival of the pushiest!

The kids and GJ were waiting just behind the door, in the heat and crowds for 1.5 hours nearly asleep on their feet.

I made last!
It is good to be home.

Home in Jakarta

I have made it home after a very long trip and I am presently hibernating....

The Sydney trip went well, I accomplished everything I set out to.

Tan and I have found a wonderful apartment for mum in a great village; she will be moving in a few weeks.

We got mum in to see a physcogereatician....(I know what a mouthful--this is a specialist doctor that deals in older people with mental health issues) and she is now on the new medicine for Alzheimer patients that is supposed to be great.

I of course managed a little shopping at some wonderful shopping malls.

The weather was and crisp. It did take a week for the cold to penetrate my overheated bones though. I thought I would never be able to get rid of the accumulated Indonesian heat LOL.

I don't think I will be able to get out/tell all that happened on this was such a strange mixture of highs and lows.

I have come back to Jakarta and found some more highs and lows as well...more to follow.