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I started several times since my rushed effort before Christmas, to
write an updated report for this site but each time the situation here
changed, so I decided to wait a while until the future looked a bit more
certain. Now it's April and still nothing has really changed, our future
on this job and in Indonesia is still very uncertain but I feel that
perhaps I should record what's been happening before it is all over - one
way or the other.
First the pleasant parts. Viv and Sam arrived shortly after my last
report. Viv to stay and Sam for a well-earned holiday. We all stayed in
my friend's apartment in Central Jakarta for a few days while he was
overseas and while we looked for a permanent place of our own. The
apartment was a bit small but it was luxurious as was the entire
complex. We were sorry to leave the service (and the free breakfast)
behind but we needed extra space for the rest of our Christmas visitors.

I had looked at a few places before Viv and Sam arrived in order to get
a feel for what was available. There wasn't a lot within a reasonable
driving time (and price) of the office and walking distance from the
shops but I showed the girls what I had found anyway.

After a few tiring days inspecting places of very varying standard, we
had more or less decided on an apartment about a half to one hour away
from the office (depending on the traffic), when they told us they had
another building that was much closer. We looked at it and it was
perfect though a little more expensive than we had budgeted but I would
be able to walk to the office in six and a half minutes (as I later
discovered).

It was a bit of a rush but we managed to get the place set up and pay
enough of the deposit that would permit us to move in on 23 December,
just before the rest of the family and 'friends' arrived on Christmas
Eve

The custom in Indonesia is that the tenant has to pay up to one year's
rent in advance plus a one month's security bond. This is pretty
inconvenient as you can imagine. First you have to have enough funds
then you have to get them transferred to Indonesia quickly. Luckily I
managed to get the advance payment period reduced to six months, then
my company was willing to advance me the bulk of the funds and then the
owners were willing to accept less than the full amount before we
actually moved in provided I completed the payments as soon as I could.
.

Even in the bigger apartment it was still a bit of a squeeze with Viv and
I, Kim, Sam and their boyfriends (especially since both of the boyfriends
take up a lot of space by themselves) but we all had a good time and now
the place seems empty without them. Viv was able to follow them round
on several of their trips visiting the many impressive shopping malls
that Jakarta has to offer but they also made a few trips on their own
including one to Jakarta's only (water) fun park and almost a week over
the New Year period to Bali.
They seemed to have a good time especially since it was the boys first
time overseas. However it was marred a little by the inevitable
stomach upsets and the girls left with rather nasty bugs that they
didn't shake off until they had been back in Australia for a couple of
weeks.

We were a bit surprised that they claimed to have had a good time as
there is not a lot of tourist type attractions in Jakarta and they
didn't visit the famed night club strip at all! For the girls I think it
was the shopping malls and for the boys I think it was just the
novelty of being overseas.

The highlight for Viv and I, apart from having the family all together
in one place again, was having Christmas dinner together in one of the
most luxurious hotels in town where we had the choice of five totally
different buffets and all the booze we could drink for little more than
the cost of a meal at an ordinary restaurant in Australia. Eating out
is one of the better attractions of Jakarta.

Since then we have been slowly fitting in and finding our way round.
Viv knows all the shopping malls within walking distance of our
apartment and her daily routine takes in most of them. She hasn't
managed to find one that is good for everything so she has to visit
several each day for our needs.

I have found a reliable Hash that runs every fortnight on a Saturday.
It is called TGIS H3 (When they started they ran on Fridays and it
was called TGIF H3!) and, for any readers from our Dili days, it was
started by the late, great Browneye!

I would prefer to run every week but the other Hashes either run on
weekdays, when it is impossible to get away from work in time, or they
don't keep their web sites up to date with run information and they
don't send out email notifications regularly. Most of the runs involve
a long drive to the south of Jakarta to spectacular Hash territory.
It's well worth the trip but it makes for a long day.

The Hash recently celebrated its 500th run with a weekend at a place
called Ciater Hot Springs near Bandung. Viv and I went along and were
treated to some good weather on the Sunday when we had a
spectacular view of the tea fields that stretched as far as the eye
could see. The drive to and from in a rickety old bus is best forgotten
but the weekend itself was a pleasant change from our Jakarta routine.

For any visiting Hashers there are usually two runs each week. The
shorter normally takes around one and a half hours but on 'special
occasions' has been known to take over three hours! Whether that is
by design or accident I've yet to determine.
Report 7 - 2 April 2008 - Not all plain sailing
[31 May 2008 - The following report was prepared over the period Jan to April 2008 but I was waiting to know the fate of the project before
publishing it. Now things have finally come to a resolution and our fate is known I can bring you up to date to early April and I will (hopefully) publish
the next episode (expose!) shortly.]