Sunday, July 30, 2006

Lazy weekend

Another of those lazy weekends where you wake up, stretch and hear the kids stirring and soon there is a soft rapping on the door and the a little head pokes her head around “can I come in?’ followed by a running leap into our bed to snuggle up for a few precious moments of giggles and drowsy talk. Soon another voice is heard calling out and one of us clambers out to open his door (solid teak, it’s a heavy bugger, good tho as no midnight walks can be had by the little one). Soon another body joins us and after awhile we all get up to face the day. Breakfast is quick, rice bubbles and milk for the kids, strong espresso for me from our brilliant Krups machine (thanks M & P!!) and toast for C.

Patsy comes down not long after and is soon washing last nights dishes and talking to Lil D who is now full of questions and a strong yearning to make himself understood. Lil C wanders about, not a morning person we have discovered, but is soon sent up stairs to get changed from her pj’s. We step outside the front and are met with a beautiful morning, just starting to warm up but cool and sunny. Sit on the front porch and read my book, taking my time to get going. Soon its time for C‘s yoga lesson so we all pile into the car as I have started to go to the gym (no more Saturday mornings lazing about the house while C and the kids are at the club!). I hit the gym, C heads for her yoga class and the kids go to the playroom with Patsy.

Once all done, massage, Jacuzzi, a swim, relax by the pool then back home for lunch. I went to the supermall in the afternoon, wanted to get some films and software I had promised some friends but found all the shops were cleaned out. The word is that yet another raid had occurred, and the shops were playing it safe by selling boxed legal vcd’s and dvd’s. sigh. One fellow tells me they’ll all be back in business again by the 10th. Not sure how he knows but the word is out, it’ll be very busy at the mall on that day….so, just have to wait. Got a haircut which is an experience in itself. Went to my favourite salon, hair washed thoroughly, followed by a good haircut, then another wash, topped off by a head massage. All for 25,000 rps, about AU$4.00. Picked up some freshly fried spring rolls at another fav food stall and hop into the car for home.

The Aus vs NZ rugby game is on late afternoon and a group of expats are congregating at the T-bar ( a bar at a local golf club) to watch but C and I find ourselves too comfortable at home and opt for a night in. One day down.

Sunday. Same as Saturday morning. Patsy went out the night before as it was her day off so we find ourselves pottering about. C takes the kids for a walk/bike ride around the complex and after finishing my second coffee I hop on my bike to join them. Its another beautiful day and we feel lazy, to the point that I almost had another kip on the couch afterwards, but lil C wanted to go for a swim at the club with her friends so C and lil D stayed at home (soon would be time for his nap) and lil C and I head out to the club. Once we get there we are greeted by a cacophony of sound and look down into the pool area to see it swarming with people. Turns out a local bank had hired the place for its staff family day so the place was packed. Usually on a Sunday we are the only ones there till the afternoon when it starts to fill up with families. Lil C finds her friend and her friends father decides to take his kids and Lil C back to his place as the club was too noisy. I do the gym thing, then wander off to pickup lil C. Spend time over there chatting before heading home, to find C and lil D at the complex pool enjoying an afternoon swim.

Its now early evening and the kids are having dinner, C is organizing them tonight so I sit down to the email and check out if anyone out there has sent anything. Nothing today except the obligatory junk mail. Did hear from Z who is now on his way home from what sounds like a tremendous world tour. Visiting his father in Jakarta but texted me to say he can’t make it over here. Pity, would have liked to have heard his stories so hoping he will update his blog soon with the latest (hint hint Z!).

Another good weekend.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

As usual, I have left this a bit longer than I would have liked to. June 10th school finished and I headed off to Australia to visit family and friends after a long but good year. Its been a good one in Surabaya, I’ve enjoyed my time here so far, much more than in Jakarta in terms of ease of life style, no traffic jams and a much better school.

Headed to Perth first to check on the house and see what’s doing. The flights from Bali are weird, could only et in either at 1.30am or 3.30 am. No morning flights, no afternoon flights. This was with Garuda, my preferred carrier, dislike Qantas whose service is always abysmal. So, sucked it up and arrived in Perth on a very cold morning and then had to wait till 5.30 am before the airport bus arrived to take myself and a couple of other lost souls into the city to find our respective hotels. Rolled up to Kings which I had booked and paid for over the net only to be told quite frostily that check in was 12 pm. I had emailed them that I was arriving early and they had emailed back saying should be okay but this wasn’t the case when I got there. When asked if I could just get into my room, the hotel, mostly empty I later found out, declined and the fellow pointed to a couch in the foyer and said I “could wait there until it was time to check in if I wanted”. I’d been up since the morning before and was thinking of two courses of action. Hit him on the head with my trusty book (fantasy thus quite a heavy weight) or go find another hotel. In the end I couldn’t be bothered and paid a full days cost for the privilege of checking into my room 6 hours early. Ah well, live and learn. If you are ever in Perth, avoid Kings hotel like the plague. Basic rooms done up in seventies brown, no breakfast included and no house cleaning (I stayed there 4 nights and finally on the third day I asked reception if my room could be cleaned. They asked me if the towels had been replaced. Yes. Was the bed made. Yes. Then what more do you want? Um, carpet vacuumed, sheets changed, floors in bathroom mopped, tables and benches dusted..you know, the usual. Disdainful sniff from manager).

Caught up with J, lil C’s godfather and good friend. Was shown around Midland which is going through a boom, then again, what suburb isn’t in Perth, also caught up with L & S, had dinner in the city and really enjoyed catching up with them. Saw brother A who was in great form. He showed me around Rockingham and I was amazed at the rise in house prices in just a couple of years, the numbers were quite staggering. Realised that any thought of buying a second house as an investment was just out of my price range, so gave up on the idea of doing the rounds and instead spent the time with A eating fish and chips on the grass by the sea and drinking ice coffees just up the road at a café overlooking the ..yep, you guessed it, sea. Stayed up till the early hours on my last Friday night with him sitting on his back patio feeding his Mexican fireplace with wood and drinking a bit too much red. Sometime in the early hours we hit the Jacuzzi (seemed like a good idea at the time) which was steaming nicely in the zero degree air..great but by god it was cold when we clambered out.

Onto Sydney next which was delightful. Caught up with both sister and brother and they both made me very welcome. Had a great time wandering around the city on foot, to the extent that I was quite foot sore by the time I got into Brisbane, my next port of call, but it was worth it. There is so much to see when you go by foot, did all corners of the city and then some. Even went to the Bourbon and Beefsteak, a bar in kings cross of which I had fond memories of sitting outside watching the passing traffic with friends. Now renovated to within an inch of its life it is now a lifeless cold place done up in the chrome and wood, minimalist style. A shame. The old one was much better. Sydney is a fascinating place, the back streets full of old town houses . Many still unrenovated and looking a bit forlorn but full of old character. The city itself was bustling, had to get into the mind set of crossing the road with a crowd, and one time when I tried to angle across the crowd to get further down the street was all but blocked due to the sheer press of bodies. Its also a bit of a grey city in the heart, tall buildings blocking out the sun light, a thing Perth has thankfully escaped. Wander around the city of Perth and the buildings are set back from the road, giving you ample light to see where you are going. Not so in Sydney. Yet once out of the heart of the city the place opens up and is full of interesting little places to wander into. And interesting people to watch. At one set of lights waiting to cross the street a fellow dressed neatly in casual clothes started to dance around beside me, bopping to some music only he could hear, then hopped across the road calling out to what I guessed were people only he could see. Sydnysiders just walked by him, averting their gaze. Contemplated catching up with him and buying him a coffee, but thought better of it. When in Rome… Met another fellow from England spruiking for donations on the street for the doctors with out borders group, a worthy cause. Had a long chat to him, good bloke, told me he had a daughter lil C’s age and moved to aussie for the good life , after working for the same charity in England for four years. Passionate about his cause, well informed and very articulate. Gave me a lot to think about.

M and M and their respective families were just brilliantly hospitable. Had great dinners, plenty of wine and caught up on all the goss. Brother M took me to a great bar (rag’n’muffin?) not far from his work which was just buzzing at 6pm, on a Wednesday night! Full of business types all having a good time. Bit weird at first, been a long time since I’d been in an aussie bar. Or been surrounded by so many aussie drinking. Or facing such a good choice of ales at the bar. Or..well, the list goes on. Enjoyed the Kilkenny !

Left Sydney after what can only be considered to be an excellent time and headed to Brisbane to catch up with two sisters and mother. Again, made very welcome and had a good time. Stayed at mums place, a seriously scenic place in the foothills outside of Brisbane, a place called Boonah. Beautiful in the winter, it was cold but glorious weather. Mum made me comfortable and I just enjoyed the peace and quiet, time to rest, recharge and relax. Her house has this certain vibe about it, as soon as you step inside you feel it, welcoming and serene. I didn’t want to do much, just wander about and chat with mum. Had a great time catching up with her and hearing her stories of her childhood which for some reason I hadn’t really asked about before. Mum gave me some folders she had put together on her father, mother and sister plus the book her sister had published of her fathers diary when he was young and soon to be married to my grandmother. Amazing stuff, he was a true romantic, pining for his ‘girl’ while working long hours on the farm.

The family put the funds together for a camera for mum and so went out one day with K my younger sister to get it for her. Had a great time with mum teaching her how to use it. She is a fast learner and for years to come we will be getting pictures of those moments she enjoys. I took some pictures of dawn breaking outside her house , and the camera performed admirably. Mum took a close up of a flower and it came out beautifully, even to the point of a small bee sitting on one petal. A good camera, Canon A540 for those who are curious.

Finally headed to Bali for three days before going home to Surabaya. Stayed in Kuta for the first time and decide it wasn’t m cup of tea, much prefer Sanur which is much more laid back and less people. Did the big walks again and saw a lot of the surrounding areas. Enjoyed the food, watched the Italy vs aussie soccer match with a hundred other aussies in the stadium bar, wailed with the rest of them at the last decision, and all in all had a fairly good time. Next time, back to Sanur.

29th saw me arrive back in Surabaya and head to our new home. Great to see the family again, I had missed them.


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