A Travellerspoint blog

Jakarta and about 1000 islands in between...

...or 130 to be more specific

rain 27 °C

So just putting it out there – totally met K.Rudd today. We got told we were going to leave Bahasa class early because of something to do with Kevin Rudd and sandwiches. We were initially just excited by the fact that we got a free lunch AND it was sandwiches. Perhaps they were Kevin Rudd’s sandwiches? But no, he was actually there, and came to the university to see us and give a bit of a speech. He’s a smart cookie – gave a very good and relevant speech that it seemed like he had just prepared off the top of his head. And he made a point of going around and introducing himself to everyone in the room. We were told not to ask him any questions about ‘prickly domestic issues’, so I asked him how he thought the Lions were going to do this year – he said he wasn’t sure…

Anyway, that was some unscheduled excitement for the day. I have just got home from playing futsal with everyone after school – it’s a pity I didn’t really play team sports growing up and it’s heaps of fun besides the fact that I suck and everyone else is professh, even the girls! But oh well at least it’s some exercise…I haven’t really done some since dancing on the tables at Ankgor What?! And of course Friday dance parties at school…

So I am well and truly settling into life in Jakarta…well at least life as it is for the next two weeks whilst we have class – just as we get fully into the routine, it’s all going to change when we start work next week! But the day starts at 8.30 every morning with Bahasa Indonesia class for four hours – luckily we get ‘istirihat’ in this time (break time – my favourite word!) and they weren’t just priming us with coffee and food on our first day – it’s the same every day! But Indonesian is pretty funny…people have come out of their shells a bit and everyone has a good laugh. For example, did you know that the Indonesian word for vomit is ‘muntu-muntu’? Classic!

Then in the afternoon we have had lectures on Indonesia, stuff like economics, politics, religion, and so on… Except last week one morning we were thrown out of whack when we had an ‘opening ceremony’ for the program and then a trip to the Australian Embassy. I guess I didn’t realize how much of a big deal this program seems to be for our host university, Atma Jaya. They full on gave all these speeches about how important it is for Australia and Indonesia to be friends (and they’re right) and how good it is that we came on the program seeing that over 16,000 Indonesian students go to study in Australia every year, but we make up a quarter of the Australian students who come to study in Indonesia. Plus they had a gong…you know something’s a big deal when there’s a gong…

The trip to the Embassy was cool, namely because that was by far the best catered food we’ve been given so far…and that was only for morning tea! But the actual building that the Australian Embassy was in was amazing. Of course it is well famed for being bombed back in 2004 I think it was, so it is a labyrinth of security checks to get in (although they didn’t take my Swiss army knife USB off me I might add…tut tut) but the grounds were all beautifully landscaped and the building was modern…there was even someone doing bombs (or in cannonballs the more PC term?) into a pool! It’s claim to fame is that it’s the biggest Australian Embassy in the world, but really, it could be just a super nice kos… Anyway, they just gave us speeches and stuff…starting off with the security talk to scare the life out of us, but then finishing off with stuff like AusAID, so we left feeling warm and fuzzy and not so concerned about living in Jakarta! (Seriously Mum, don’t stress, it’s fine!)

It was rather unfortunate that the day before we were due to go to the Embassy, my one pair of ‘nice’ shoes broke, so all I had to wear was runners or thongs…I felt that they would just think I was being patriotic and be more likely to let me in in thongs (which by the way aren’t classified as shoes here, so were not meant to wear them to class, let alone the Embassy!) Anyway, no one important really said anything, but the next day we went across the road for lunch, and then there was this massive downpour right as we needed to get back to class, and the LOs were like “don’t go out in this storm” (which we didn’t initially, so we were late and we still got in trouble despite adhering to the safety and security lecture!) but then in the end we did and one of my thongs got swept away down the drain. So we turned up to class drenched, late, and I was carrying one thong – apparently that was at the height of disrespect…they’re not even proper shoes and I only had one of them!

So this weekend just gone was the first of the weekend trips, which was the topic of much discussion, such as who’s going to go where and with who…so high school, yet so hilarious. Anyway, we started our night with karaoke on the Friday (I have never been to so much karaoke in my life until this trip!) and then on Saturday morning headed out to one of the falsely names 1000 Islands (there are actually only 130 or something…) That boat ride was officially the worst travel experience of my life! And for two of the people who were on our trip it was their first time on a boat…talk about baptism by fire! (They are both 19 – we referred to them as ‘the kids’ the entire weekend.) It was two-and-a-half hours of practically hitting your head on the roof of the boat as it crashed so hard over the waves it sounded like the hull was breaking, getting drenched through the leaking roof, and listening to babies crying and people throwing up all around you – luckily most of us took travel pills so only one of us was sick. The trip was only meant to be an hour and a half, but the swell was so bad that it took longer…the boat driver just kept on powering through! Amy, if you’re reading this I would have taken those trips between the Thai islands 10 times before doing this trip once! Although luckily we were on the ‘expensive’ boat – another girl’s boat who was going out to a different island got turned around, and another boat with a whole group of ACICIS people on it was a fishing boat, where they all had to sit on the floor, 80% of the people on the boat were sick, and there was a wailing family mourning a death on board, complete with the body!

Luckily, the island was worth the trip! Beautiful clear, turquoise water, non-Jakarta fresh air…it’s wasn’t exactly beachy weather (it is the wet season here after all…) but just as well, as some people still managed to get sunburnt! (Not me with my ‘tan’ South-East Asian skin!) The island we went to was called Pulau Putri, and there were eight of us who went, so we aptly named ourselves the PPP – or the Pulau Putri Posse. We spent our time snorkeling (well not me, but I did swim in the sea so be proud!), ‘tanning’, at the tunnel aquarium, in the pool, and just generally chilling with a casual beverage or two…oh and planning our debut album (see Facebook for the photos, then you’ll understand… ) It was very relaxing, besides the thought of the dreaded boat ride back! But luckily the trip back was positively smooth in comparison, with no ‘muntu-muntu’ from any of us!

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Anyway, that’s about all my news thus far. Got to go and get my study on…but as promised I have learnt how to say bye in Bahasa Indonesia – da-dah! I knew they said it was an easy language to learn for a reason…

Posted by ljmac2 05:16 Archived in Indonesia Tagged boats beach jakarta indonesia kos classes ankgor_what?! atma_jaya lectures pulau_putri 1000_islands kevin_rudd

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