First New Travels...

Trip Start Aug 20, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Indonesia  , Java,
Monday, September 22, 2008

A nice relaxing weekend was the plan after my second week back into the workforce, and how I needed it. I think parts of my brain have forgotten how to work, and the rest is having to do double time to make sure I get through the day without falling over! Friday was nice and quiet, after a long walk with Jasper and we settled in for the evening with a carry out and a film.

Jasper was back up at day break wanting his walk, so off I went to the park to run the legs off him (or rather get the other dogs to do that for me!) and a relaxing day was followed by the two of us (Sophie and I, not Jasper!) heading to ESS Bar in Subiaco for a lovely meal and bottle of wine (with the help of a voucher from the Entertainment Book!) Sunday was another lazy day, although we managed to enjoy an hour or so at the Birthday party for Paula and Nick's wee girl (friends of Sophie!) in the morning and then off to the Queens in the evening to meet Jason, Dougal and Ally for a drink and a catch up. Then it was time for a bit more work, believe it or not, to

Week three of the new job, and I'm still madly trying to learn enough to be able to speak to customers and more importantly be prepared for the trip on Monday to Indonesia. Presentations to potential customers there as well as meeting our local contacts had me a bit worried that I maybe should have been spending 24 hours a day, rather than just 10 - 12 every day learing what the hell I'm supposed to be doing. Ach, sure it'll be fine - hopfully - maybe...

The flight from Perth to Jakarta was actually really good! I had NO expectations from booking a flight with Garuda, probably coloured by recent and not so recent news reports, bt also that they were a bit of a budget airline... But the flight left pretty much on time, we were extrmely well looked after on board with drinks and good food, and there was even a movie (although it was some kind of 'art house' effort so my book got a good work out instead (and I managed some shut eye having found on take off that I had three seats to myself on the plane - luxury!

I'd of course had to put on the compression stockings with my operation only having been a month ago, but that wasn't too bad in the cool air of the plane, I was just a bit concerned about how it would feel on the other end in Indonesia... Arrival was pretty much on time as well although I then had to spend aver an hour waiting for a 7 day visa and then to progress through immigration before getting my bag.

To top all that off, it turns out Optus hadn't switched my phone on for roaming, so no signal, not texts and no email services to the Blackberry... Typical!

Exiting the terminal was like walking through a rugby scrum, with everyone offering taxis into town. I'll sadly admit that I was 'sharked' and without having any local knowledge, agreed to go with one of these 'taxi drivers.' Aside from the terror ride into town (I will NEVER complain about Australian drivers again!) with hundreds of near misses and literally thousands of mopeds weaving in and out of the traffic with not a care in the world, ended up being charged double what the rate should have been. Still not ridiculously expensive, but a lesson learned for sure.

After light speed accelleration and heart stopping braking we arrived 'safely' at the hotel in South Jakarta where I met our contact and got ready for the business meetings. Early start the next day so I had a few hours sleep before jumping in another taxi (recommended by the hotel!) and was back off in the Jakarta traffic for a Batavia flight to Pekanbaru.

Monday evening Sophie was off to training with Jasper - now we get to find out how well he's getting on after his first 4 weeks with us. Sadly according to the trainer he's a pretty badly behaved wee boy, not good on the lead, not good around other dogs (too submissive) and needs to be controlled more... I must admit that I was quite disappointed about this as I thought he was going really well, but thinking about it she probably is comparing Jasper to the perfect dog as opposed to the rescue dog that he is, with a tough start to life. We know he'll get better with time and a bit of training as we all get to know each other better.

He did get full marks for being behaved when told to sit etc, which is a start, but we obviously have our work cut out for us as we raise the wee man.

Back to me on my trip!

The evening in Pekanbaru saw us heading to a local restaurant to try some of the local specialities. Extremely spicey food with everything either being covered in chillis, or actually just being a whole dish of chillis... To top that, etiquette was to eat with your fingers, so I did my best to forget all the manners my Mum spent years teaching me and dug in. Absolutely fabulous food, although the fish did tend to be very much lacking in the 'flesh' department and watching my colleague it seemed that skin and bones were also a very nutritious part of the diet! I managed to try, and enjoy everything, with the help of plenty fluids and also the finger bowl to occasionally clean my hot fingers.

I'm quickly finding out that apart from sticking out like a sore thumb because of my skin colour and hair (although that's quicly either receeding or going grey!) I'm also one of the tallest people around - quite a nce feeling, although people do tend to stare... Is this how you feel all the time Jason?!? :o)

We then went for a local wander around, taking in some of the shops and also a club called MD's - karaeoke etc - so not for me (at least not sober!) so after enjoying some of the local sights and sounds (as well as being stared at for being the only white man in what seemed like the whole neighbourhood!) it as back to the hotel and time for a bit more work and emails before bed.

More meetings the next day, coupled with a 4 hours drive through the bad lands of Indonesia... Shacks as far as the eye could see (where there wasn't swamp land!) and unsealed roads at times meant our little people mover struggled at the best of times. I prayed (yes prayed Mum!) for us to avoid flat tyres and pretty much every other vehicle on the road who seemed to want to occupy the same little bit of road that we were on! Ah well, all part of life's rich tapestry, eh? :o)

Meetings all went well, and after a couple of days exploring the outer reaches and experiencing the driving 'styles' of Indonesia, I was more than ready to get on a flight back to Jakarta, spenda quiet night in the hotel and then make my way back to Perth on Thursday with the help of Malaysia Airlines!

No photographs of this trip - to be honest it was all a bit overwhelming and I didn't get much of a chance to stop and stare but there'll be many more trips and I'll share some shots of the madness that is this country!

Bring it on!

Back home for a nice relaxing holiday weekend, the AFL Grand final between the Cats (Geelong) and the Hawks (Hawthorne) down with Jenn and Darren in Bridgetown and then who know's what else... At least it'll be in an English speaking country where I'm once again one of the 'little people!'
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