Saturday, October 31, 2009

Zaitzeff on Hallowe'en

I busted my ankle last night, therefore I am not partying this Hallowe'en.

I have been laid up all day. An hour and a half ago I went out for some fresh air and to grab a bite to eat. It's such a utterly miserable night out though.

The burger bar is called Zaitzeff, it's a nice place. I struck up a conversation with a German woman who's lived in Ireland for 10 years. She happened to mention how some Irish people have been asking her about when she'd be leaving Ireland.

A roundabout way of implying that she's not wanted anymore (now that Ireland is in the grips of recession).

How interesting. Those Irish, who hail from one of the world's greatest migrant people are getting hung up on immigrants in Ireland. Hypocrites!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Keris Dreamin' Pt Deux

A friend helped me to finally track down a keris maker in Solo to craft my keris.

Apparently it will 4 months of sweat, blood and sweet tea to make.

Problem is since the process had begun I have come down with a lingering cold / flu.

Is this a portent of things to come?

8 Travel Tips for Indonesia

One of the toughest things for me to figure out in Indonesia has been getting around. I think most foreigners are in the same boat, so here are some tips.

1) You know where you want to go but you don't know how much it's gonna cost, and while you're not tight up you hate being ripped off

Best thing to do is ask some friendly looking person nearby how much a taxi, becak or bajaj is likely to cost - you'll probably not pay the price locals do, but you won't be scalped too much either

2) You're coming out of an airport and you don't want to have to deal with the aggressive taxi middle men

Buy yourself some time by sticking headphones in your ears or putting a phone next to your ear - like all the soccer players do in front of journos

3) BlueBird (careful - many lookalikes in Jakarta!) Silverbird, Express are safe bets when it comes to taxis - but everyone knows that eh?

4) You find arrive in a place like Banda Aceh airport which doesn't have metered taxis, let alone reputable taxi firms like BlueBird or Express

Before you jump into the car, make sure you agree how much you'll pay for the trip

5) Make sure taxi meters are switched on when you jump into the taxi - if there's a meter

6) Don't quibble too much over a couple of bucks, you're a foreigner, you're gonna pay a premium, deal with it

7) Angkots, buses, trains, becaks and bajajs rule! The surprising thing is, that often public transportation in Indonesia ain't half bad, you just need a little local knowledge to figure it out

8) Wherever you are in Indonesia you'll find honest people eager to help, however broken your Indonesian is they'll set you on the right path if you only ask! You'll also find scheisters, but touch wood, I've haven't had a bad experience yet in Indonesia

Anyone have anything else to add?


Want to see where all the space on your hard disk is going?

Check out Filelight!

(One of those invaluable Linux programs that's made its way to OS X)

Warren Buffett Interview

I love this fella! Seems to be a genuinely down to earth bloke.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Gods and Terrorists

Actually I had never wanted to live in New York. I wanted to live in Jakarta.

At one stage I quit my job to go to Indonesia. My boss at the time told me that that was nonsense and that I could always transfer to New York. So I decided to give New York a year.

And here I am, a year on, quite content. Great colleagues and great pals.

The best line I have heard about America in the past year, is that it was built for arriving - not leaving.

Yet there's something about Indonesia that draws me back. Whatever it is, it is terminal.

Unfortunately there are no outward signs of terminal Indonesia-itus. Therefore workmates ask me whether I will be going after the terrorist bombings and friends ask me whether I will still jump on the plane headed for Jakarta tomorrow in the wake of the earthquake in Padang and Pariaman.

I tell them that neither acts of terrorism nor acts of god will stop me from returning to that place.

It's special. I need to figure out how to communicate that to people who know no better.