(mostly) daily photoblog

Archive for July, 2012

Tired. MustpostbeforeIfallasleeeee…


I’m at a payphone…

…trying to call home.  (If you’re singing the Maroon 5 song right now…sorry)

Firstly, I have no idea why there are payphones here in Jakarta, as it seems that everyone has a “hand phone”.

Secondly, if payphone booths looked like this in North America they probably wouldn’t be disappearing as quickly as they are.

Thirdly, what is that above the phones?  The demon of telecommunications, from what I can tell.  Haven’t you thought, once in a while, that your phone experiences have been hellish, from billing to service to dropped calls.

Any guesses why there’s a demon’s head staring out from the payphone?


The paradox…

…of Jakarta is that there is incredible wealth and abject poverty.  There are designer clothing stores and a community of people who live in the garbage dump (one of many, I’m sure).  The difference, as I have been noting many differences between life here and “home” in North America, is that there is no way to escape the paradox of this city.

I was having this discussion with some of my colleagues (Chris, Glenn, Trent – I’m talking about you) and we talked about how easy it is, in the “developed world” to see poverty and those living in it, and then escape back to the suburb or neighborhood or gated community of your choice and forget what was just seen.  Here, in Jakarta, there is no escape.  The wealth lives next to the poverty.  The highly fortunate live behind a wall that is built against the open lot in which people barely subsist.  The Rolls Royce (and yes, there was one that passed me on my walk home from work last Thursday) drives right past the flower sellers and “Ayam Bakar” merchants.  They all live in the same place.

Purposeful ignorance is the only way to avoid seeing those who, by chance, were born into a life of poverty.  That’s the paradox of the city in which I live.

Pondok Indah Mall


Yup, another mall.  After the interesting notes I got about the last one, I figured I might as well shoot some photos of the next big mall I went to.  This is Pondok Indah Mall.  I think I may have seen about half of the mall…maybe a third.  This place is huge.  Jakarta knows how to build big when they build malls.

The road home

I rarely walk down this path because it is busier than the road I use, but this is one of the ways to my house.  If you’re wondering where the sidewalks are…they’re in the same place as the crosswalks…some other plane of existence.  As in, non-existent.

It’s official. I’m obsessed with traffic.

I don’t want to alarm any family members back home in Canada, but this is the road that my family and I walk across every day.  Twice.

If it’s any consolation, it only looks like this in the afternoon.

Oh, and if you’re going to ask, “Where’s the crosswalk?” my answer is…”Hahahahahahahaaaaa…crosswalk?  Hahahahahahaaaa…”

So many stairs

Before I left my former school in Canada, I moved from the third floor to the first floor.  I did this for two reasons:  1.  All of my student leadership activities were on the first floor, and; 2.  I hated running up and down flights of stairs just to get from my classroom to the office to the gym and back again.

Then I moved to Jakarta.  My school is in a high-rise building.  There are something like seven floors of parking before you even get to my school.  Once inside, my school has LG (lower ground), G (ground), and UG (upper ground) floors.  Then, floors one through eight.  Here’s a little math for you:  take 400 students; divide by two elevators; multiply by eleven floors…and you get a great number of stairs that must be negotiated every day.  It’s easier, and harder, to run the stairs than it is to wait for an elevator.  Plus, it’s a good workout.  I guess I can eat a little more at dinner tomorrow.

The photo, above, was taken on the sixth floor looking down to the Ground Floor.  I guess that makes it nine floors down that you’re seeing.  Weirdly abstract.

The reader.


On my way home from a haircut (“Saya potong rambut” in Bahasa Indonesian), I snapped this photo of a flower seller reading a book.  He seemed deeply engrossed in the book, as there was total chaos going on around him.  Bajai and Ojek drivers moving past, cars going by, some white guy snapping photos…and he stayed focused on his book.  Here’s hoping that, as we start the school year tomorrow, my students are as dedicated to their reading as this man is.

Late Night Flowers

I went out for a walk tonight to see where Nikki’s Salon is, as I’m getting my hair cut tomorrow.  I brought “the beast” (my Pentax K20D) with me and snapped off photos all around the area where I live.  This was my first time out walking around after sunset (*the sun sets around 6:30 p.m. here every day – we’re pretty nearly on the equator) and the world doesn’t look too much different from day to night.

There are two very well stocked flower shops on my street – Kemang Selatan I – and both of them are right near my apartment.  My wife jokes that I can’t buy her flowers because we don’t have a vase in the house yet.  I think it best that I pick up one soon.


To the Mall!

One thing I’m learning is that Jakarta really rocks at creating impressive malls.  We went to Pejaten Village Mall today to find shoes for the kids.  This is the view from the fourth floor, which is really the fifth or sixth floor, because there’s always a couple of floors below the ground level in every high-rise in Jakarta (at least the ones I’ve been in).

By the way, if you want to see the whole photo in one shot, click on the image and it’ll open in a window with the entire image in one view.


Traffic in Jakarta


This is what traffic often looks like in Jakarta. It has been equal parts horror and awe – those are the only feelings I have while sitting in the front seat of a taxi car or van. There are no traffic lights, or at the least none that anyone follows. The streets are narrow. The scooters are omnipresent. The drivers? Omnipatient. They wait, kindly, as someone else takes a corner in front of them. They don’t lose their tempers. They smile, wave, and smile more. They are infinitely more considerate and civilized than any driver I’ve ever encountered in more than twenty years of driving in British Columbia. Totally amazing.

Go here if stressed

After a fun day at Indonesian Imigrasi and in meetings and planning and…and…you know, it was a pretty good day.  Still, coming home and climbing into the pool in our housing complex was pretty good too.

This is the pool we visit.  Our complex has two pools, but this is closest and, in my humble opinion, the nicest.  I’ve been swimming more often in this pool in the week I’ve lived here in Jakarta than I swam in any pool in the past ten years.  It’s pretty amazing how all my stress from a day drifts off while I’m swimming.


There’s no place like home…

That’s my home.  Not the whole thing, but the apartment at the bottom.  From the bottom left window across to the right edge of the building.  It’s 2000 square feet, with three bedrooms and maid’s quarters.

Yeah, I thought the same thing.  We’ve not hired a pembantu (assistant – what we commonly think of as maids) yet.  Honestly, I’m having a lot of trouble with the whole idea.  The argument for hiring one is that the money they earn helps a (probably) large family and the convenience for us is that we have someone living with us who cooks and cleans for us.  The argument against, in my mind, is that I believe in fair and equal treatment for everyone.  Getting paid very little and living in a space that is an oversized storage closet is not fair and equal.  Not fair, at the least.

We’re loving most aspects of life here, but there are many aspects with which I’ve not yet come to grips.  And I’ve only been here a week.  Let’s see what the next one hundred and three weeks have in store.

Welcome to my (new) neighbourhood.

I’ve moved to Jakarta.  Maybe that should read, “I MOVED TO JAKARTA!”

It’s been an amazing week and the Family B is tired, wired and really looking forward to getting our year underway.  I will post again soon, but I wanted to let everyone know what’s been happening.

This was shot out my apartment hallway window.  Our apartment backs onto a somewhat western grocery store called Hero.  The scooter is the national animal here.  This is a much more common scene than I would have imagined.


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