This year has been momentous. I have watched as my family and I have adapted to our move from Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, to Jakarta, Indonesia. I moved from teaching in a public school to an international, private school. I moved from one of the most beautiful places in the world (nah…it is the most beautiful) to a place I haven’t figured out yet. I moved from mountains and rivers to busy streets and overpopulation. I moved from ease and comfort (with a bit of financial challenge) to a place of challenge.
2012…the year of the move.
We’ve been in Bali for a week now, and it’s been a beautiful Christmas holiday. We stayed in a number of places, but our friend who did much of our bookings knew we wanted to stay in places that captured what Bali used to be like. We’ve stayed in two different Taman Sari villas, one near to Ubud called Puri Taman Sari, and another along the north coast called Taman Sari Bali. The owner of these resorts has worked hard, and succeeded, at making them resemble a Bali that doesn’t really exist anymore. He is working at recreating the Bali village community. Check them out, if you’re in Bali.
This flower was growing in the water at Puri Taman Sari. Does anyone know what kind it is?
Actually, I was told by one of the surfers/workers on the beach that this beach, Seminyak Beach, is a great place for beginners. It is not, however, where they like to surf. They like bigger waves. They all thought that this would be a good place for me to start surfing…if only I would pay them to teach me.
Still, the waves were pretty impressive.
This is where we stayed for our first two nights in Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia during our Christmas holidays. There are villas listed from A through O, and each one has its own pool, separate bedrooms, and living space. It’s beautiful. I don’t know how we ended up in this spot, but I’m pretty amazed.
It’s been a pretty nice way to start Christmas holidays in Bali.
The hardest part of enjoying time on the beach is entertaining the many sellers that walk up and down trying to sell their stuff to the tourists. Well, actually, the hardest part is saying, “No,” to most every one of them. They like to look at me like they don’t understand English, as if waiting in front of me will make me say, “Yes.” I don’t, but I just love feeling awkward…that was sarcasm.
I am impressed by their ability to balance their wares on their heads, though. Seriously. That’s amazing.
I saw these two on the beach and they were so cute together. He would clumsily go out into the water with his surf board and do amazingly awkward things, and she would stand on the beach taking pictures.
Later, when I was eating lunch, they were sitting and chatting, so I snapped this photo. I wish them a great future together.
We spent the day at Seminyak Beach. It was a beautiful day, and we all got burnt. We’ve been living in Jakarta for the last six months and, although it’s always warm, we’ve never been in direct sunlight for much time. At the beach in Bali, we all spent so much time out in the sun and everybody in the family went to bed with a little extra redness.
I will admit that in spite of the sunburns, I loved being in the salty ocean air. The water of the Indian Ocean is so warm, far warmer than any ocean water I’ve ever been in, but the sky was blue and the air was fresh…ish. Wonderful day.
I don’t know which Hindu god this is, but he might be battling a dragon for better deals for Christmas Eve shopping.
This is one of many gods we saw on our way into the city of Kuta, Bali. The fact that the “late night shopping” sign is in the background just adds a post-modern materialistic context to a very old religion. Hmm…I wonder what the rest of our trip will be like?
I love when I’m shooting and I find that, to my surprise, my candid photo has turned into a posed photo.
We were sitting in the Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Jakarta, waiting to leave on our Christmas trip to Bali and I was taking some photos. I thought I had Ben without his knowing it, and then he turned to look right up my lens as I shot this. Ha! My son cracks me up.
We’re going to Bali tomorrow, and I’ve got a big, whanging headache. I’ll try to write something more poignant and witty tomorrow. We’ll see.
I am somewhere around 188cm tall, and just over 100kg. This makes me huge by Indonesian standards. Everyone is so much smaller than me. I particularly enjoy my experiences shopping here. I’ve asked the salespeople if they have shirts for guys my size, or pants for my size, and I get total honesty. No run-around at all.
“Do you have a shirt my size?”
No checking in the back. No asking around. No looking on other racks. They know that I am an anomaly.
So when I bought my motorcycle and the salesman delivered it with a helmet, I was cautious in my optimism. It turned out that the biggest helmet they had sits quite a way above my head, not so much on it. I had to do some hunting, but the helmet that you see above not only fits, it fits well. It was more expensive than some, less expensive than many. I tried on twenty helmets, and this one did not leave me gasping for air, claustrophobic, or feeling like I was going to tear my own ears off trying to remove it.
The Kemang area of South Jakarta (Jakarta Selatan) is home to many interesting inhabitants of varying importance. This is the home of a German diplomat. I don’t know who lives here, but there’s more security cameras on this residence than most around here, and a conspicuous absence of security guards.
Often, people around here will make jokes about how, if you wanted to, you could not get the attention of the police if you really needed them. Maybe this is why the expectations of Jakartans are not that high.
…in someone else’s shoes. In this case, the shoes belong to a man who scavenges for a living. I pass men, women, and children who scavenge to live every morning as I head to school. They work their way through the trash of Kemang residences, looking for things that will bring them income.
Walk a mile in this pair of shoes. I doubt I would make it through a day.
This photo was taken at Simon Fraser University. I’ve had little time to take many photos lately, and I found this and felt a little pang of homesickness. I’m not homesick; I’m really happy here, but this photo is one of my all-time favorites. Those vine maples are so pretty.
More Jakarta tomorrow, okay?
I get why Monet was inspired by these.
Pretty flower. Delicate flower.
I took this photo while shooting on the fly. I was walking to work and a couple of students got our of their car ahead of me. As we walked up to the school, the brother placed his hand on his sister’s backpack and guided her to where she needed to be on the path. It was a small, kind gesture…a brotherly gesture. I got this shot off just before he removed his hand.
As soon as I aimed the camera at it, this cat was giving me the eye. I felt like he was thinking, “What are you lookin’ at?” He watched me take his photo and then stalked me down the alley-way afterwards. It was a bit weird.
By the way, cats in Jakarta are ubiquitous, and not treated very well. It’s sad, really. Oh, and most of them are missing some, most, or all of their tails. I haven’t figured out why this is, but they are all maimed in some way. I’m not a cat person, but I feel sadness when I see them.
Or is it “peek-a-Benz”?
The problem with doorways is that you may never know what’s on the other side until you go through them. These beautiful, carved wooden doors could hold a gigantic mansion with servants and drivers and nannies. These beautiful, carved wooden doors could hold an abandoned, run-down, shack with squatters. You’ll never know until you step through the door. Oh…you can guess at it, try to look over the wall, but at some point, in order to really understand, you need to go through the door. Or, you can settle with never knowing.
Possibilities are like that. You never know exactly what you get until you walk through the door.
It’s how I ended up in Jakarta, taking photos of beautiful, carved wooden doors. I stepped through.
I made dinner tonight. Instead of making sure that everything was well-balanced and healthy, I chose to make crepes. Crepes are, in our house, a system of delivery for the many toppings around our house. Everything comes out of the cupboard and fridge. Peanut butter, chocolate-hazelnut spread, blackberry and strawberry jam, syrup, chocolate syrup, butter, sugar, pears and apples, anything that might be delicious. Good times.
In the background is a crepe in the frying pan. Delicious, it was, but healthy it was not.
I live in Jakarta. I live in South Jakarta. I live in the Kemang Area of South Jakarta. I live in an apartment in the Kemang area of South Jakarta. I live in a second-floor apartment in the Kemang area of South Jakarta.
Today’s lesson in specificity has been brought to you by…
There are two seasons in Jakarta, maybe in all of Indonesia: hot and sunny(ish – it’s not always easy to tell with the smog), and hot and rainy. The rainy season is a bit of a debate – most people have their own definition of the rainy season: oh, it’s from November to January…no, it’s from October to December…no, wait, it’s from December to March. Then, wait, it’s from March to April. No one seems to know. The consensus right now is that we’re in the rainy season. This is what the sky looks like after it rains.
Yes,it’s full colour. Yes, it looks like it’s been shoved through a filter. Not, it hasn’t been.