Scotsabroad's Weblog

December 24, 2012

Fish Tale

Filed under: Merchandise — scotsabroad @ 4:11 pm


We cycled to Bintaro Plaza through the Kampung this morning. Thirsty, we tried to buy something to drink in Hero supermarket but the queues were enormous. We succumbed to entering Starbucks. While drinking our overpriced orange juice and designer water we were discussing what we could buy Shona for Christmas.

Lucas points to a mug on the shelf and suggests buying it – because it is Christmas and it has Jesus on it.

Amazing, the Starbuck’s green siren has even more seductive power than I thought.


December 23, 2012

Cafe Culture

Filed under: Jakarta — scotsabroad @ 7:44 pm

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The boys headed to Kota today for lunch at Cafe Batavia. The traffic was beyond belief. We got lost close to Kota, recovered, but then were stopped in our tracks due to a wedding. Eventually we reached Taman Fatahilah , circled a few times and then parked on a bus lane. We crossed to the cafe and entered an oasis. Subdued lighting, comfy sofas, a worn elegance and clean toilets revived our spirits. We sat downstairs in the lounge. The walls of the restaurant, the stair landing (with the threadbare carpet) and washroom are covered in film and music photographs. We are sure we see Springsteen. Bogart is in the downstairs men’s cubicle.

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Refreshed we head to the Jakarta History Museum across the busy square. This is the old town hall of Batavia. Built in 1627 it is not wearing well. Full of visitors, and furtive men through the back courtyard, eyeing the large bronze cannon called, Canon Si Jagur. The suggestive fist at one end of the canon is a sexual gesture in Indonesia. Inside broken furniture and plastic wrapped pieces are placed randomly in the  large rooms with walls peeling and dirty. We view fellow visitors on the floor below through large holes in magnificent floorboards. An amazing backgammon board among the junk. We move upstairs and downstairs and then spill out the front of the museum at record speed. 

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Back in the square we decided to hire bikes and cycle out to Sunda Kelapa. The docks are busy with trucks. We return to the watchtower we visited last year and park at the Bahari Museum. Some old Dutch warehouses have been converted into a maritime history museum.

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We head back to the square and explore the railway station. We then force ourselves back in the car for the slow drive back to Bintaro. We agree to take the train next time.

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December 20, 2012

Screaming is OK

Filed under: Jakarta — scotsabroad @ 3:07 pm

I was bringing stuff from the car up to our apartment last night and almost stepped on a snake. It moved from the path on to the grass and we eyed each other for a while. It was maybe 30cms long and not much thicker than a pencil. It was beautiful. Shades of blue along its striped body and an orange patch just behind the head.  I’ve been trying to identify it today without much luck. But, I did find this rather wonderful paragraph on the Indonesian’s Expat guide website…

There are approximately 450 species of snakes in Indonesia. Of the varieties found around Jakarta, only five or so are dangerously poisonous.        

Indonesians often wrongly identify snakes and identify ALL varieties as poisonous. However, a snake which cannot be positively identified SHOULD be considered dangerous.

If you get bitten by a non-venomous snake, it may hold on for quite a while as it doesn’t know what to do. To get the snake off you, either use a metal spoon to prise open its mouth (I don’t approve of this as you’ll hurt the snake badly by breaking its teeth) or put the part of  you that’s being bitten into a bucket/bath of water — the snake won’t be able to breath and will let go. Alternatively, just sit down on the ground, relax and wait for it to let go. If you make sudden movements and run around, it will hold on tighter. (As snakes can’t hear, it’s quite ok to scream a lot as the bite will most likely hurt a lot.)

So, next time you see me at the bar with a snake attached…don’t ask.


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At the Saigon Zoo recently we were stunned to see live rabbits placed in several of the large snake’s cages. Is it wrong to admit that we spent quite a while staring into the cages, hoping one of the snakes would suddenly feel hungry?

December 18, 2012

Christmas is Coming

Filed under: Jakarta — scotsabroad @ 7:33 pm


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