Monday, April 27, 2009

The German Ball, Jakarta 2009

We are now officially Ball junkies!

This was the inaugural German Ball in the newly renovated Hotel Kempinski Jakarta.
The ballroom was magnificent, in the collage there is a photo of the huge chandelier which dominated the room.

We were the only non-German speaking table there and I think we were getting a few tiny frowns for whispering through some (long) speeches. We had a wonderful couple at our table who informed us of the term 'ball junkie', (hi V and O, see you at the BWA ball!).

I think that this was one of the best balls we have been to in ages, the band was great and we danced until the wee hours.We ended up at a doof, doof night club in Kemang and managed to just get home before dawn.

The British Women's Association Ball is on next month, it has a lot to live up to!

Although the ball was so much fun, I do think our friends made all the difference. We always have fun with them whether we are at a beach hut with frizzy hair, covered in sand and bug spray or all gussied up at a ball!

Our German friends are definitely getting an Australian accent and outlook!

There was a photographer following us at the club snapping innumerable photos...goodness knows what they will be like, it was after 2am and the ball started at 6pm.......

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sentosa Island, Singpaore

We had a great day at Sentosa Island, Singapore on Good Friday.

This was our first every visit to this popular resort spot, it is a 10 minute taxi ride from the centre of the city.
We decided to take the cable car across to the island, (you can drive, take a monorail, taxi or bus) we loved it, BUT if you are scared of heights don't!!!!!!!!

The kids loved being so high and when they realised that they were actually going through a high rise tower they were gobsmacked lol!

(You can click on the photos for a larger view)
Once we got off the cable car, we took the scenic bush walk down to the beach and strolled along the beach front to Palawan Beach. I had a wonderful cold soda water in a cafe at the waters edge while GJ took the kids swimming. Georgia was bitten by some sea lice and was soon out and took Chelsea with her, Ben likes the water but playing in the sand is much more fun, so GJ ended up having a leisurely swim.

The beach was very crowded and then I saw it.......

Something dark and swimming close towards the shore......

(cue Jaws theme music)

The crowd started tittering and there was a mass exodus to shore as there was a huge (1.5m+) lizard (monitor?) swimming to shore.

It must be pretty common as every one gave it some space and were back in the water with in minutes!

After a snack we caught the free tram and did a quick island tour before ending up at the luge ride. We caught the open air sky ride to the top and then speed down the mountain on these go-kart/toboggans.
If you are scared of heights, this is definitely not for you!

Back at the top we were pleased to find a Subway.....(the chain is not in Indonesia) and oh my, it was good!

The island was crowded when we went, but it was a public holiday for Good Friday. I would be here all the time if I lived in Singapore!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Singapore Science Centre

When we organised our quick trip to Singapore, the first place the kids wanted to go was the Singapore Science Centre (the 2nd was Little India). This was our 3rd visit and we were entranced as usual. There were many new exhibits as well as a few old favourites.

This was an Earth exhibit, the girls wrote postcards which were then displayed up on a huge wall with their photos. Can you tell which postcard GJ wrote (hint, he was channelling his mate Stumpy)?

The kids had hours of fun in the Human Body area.

This was the new Nano Technology exhibit, where the kids created horror movies.

Here are some previous posts on the Science Centre

The only down point of the day was at the end waiting to get a taxi back. Unless you can manage to order a taxi, you need to walk up to the main road and flag one down. There are lots going by, so usually not a problem. There were quite a few groups doing this. Most of us realised who was first there and waited for our turns. Over the course of ten minutes two separate groups came out, looked at the waiting people, and then walked 20 meters up the road and hailed cabs and bypassed the queue. One couple pushed in front of a family group with babies and small kids!
When we became first in the taxi group someone tried to grab the cab I had flagged down.
I was so p'd off by then I calmed walked up, opened the door and got in, climbing almost under their arms (no eye contact of course lol) and took what I believed was rightfully mine.

This is my cultural background, ie one of queuing, wait for your turn, first in first served etc.

But it is not the culture of many Asian countries; especially where we live, Indonesia.

Are you allowed to get upset when things are different, after all I am living in someone else’s country, why should I expect them to do things my way?

On the other hand are some customs, such as queuing, waiting for your turn etc, common courtesy not cultural beliefs?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mortified at the supermarket.

Spring break (I know, we are in the Southern Hemisphere, in a constantly hot, tropical climate yet it is still called Spring Break here!) is over and the kids and I are back at work/school.

I finished work today at noon and headed to the local supermarket to do a huge grocery shop, as did many, many other people, it was packed.

Just as the last few items were being scanned I opened my purse and found it empty of cards*. They were all still in my Singapore purse!

I had a piled high trolley and had to rummage around and return stuff until I got down to the amount of cash I had on me, all while every one else in the queue behind me watched and waited.

Now I just need to go back and get the rest............with a purse full of cash and cards.

* I have a great system of multiple purses: one for each currency I regularly use; $Au , $Sing , Indonesian RP and $US. I always keep enough cash in each one for a drink and a snack at the airport and a taxi fare in that country. All I then need to do is swap over cards and licenses. I even keep the appropriate health cards and loyalty cards in each wallet. This system works very well for us (except when I forget to change over cards and end up short at the supermarket lol).

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

The Easter Bunny managed to find us back in Jakarta after a quick trip to Singapore (more to follow)! I think it was all the beautiful craft the kids made for the lounge room!


Chelsea has recovered well from her stint with Dengue fever. Here she is at an exhibit on diseases in the Singapore Science Centre.
Chelsea is now on first name basis with all the nurses at SOS clinic!
The night before we left for Singapore, she slipped and fell on the wet floor tiles in the garage and I was almost certain she had broken her arm...again.

Luckily I was wrong, it was just a bad sprain.

GJ was stuck in horrific traffic after an afternoon of torrential rain and accompanying floods, so we were car-less. My wonderful neighbour came to the rescue and took us to the emergency room where we got these 'cool' x-rays of Chelsea's arm.

This is when you realise one of the realities of expat life, in emergencies you get yourself to help.
No ambulance, no blood bank etc; these are the things you take for granted in Australia, yet for millions of people in the world they are services that are not available.