Kopi!

“Is it too much to find a place with decent coffee?”  a friend asked on many occasions early on in our posting.

Catch ups would be scheduled at new cafes each month or so and secretly we would both hope that this cafe would be the one!  We were desperately seeking a place to call our “regular”, you know the one place we would always frequent for these much needed catch up sessions.  This went on for a good 18 months.  Where is all the good kopi?!

Over the past 12 months a few new cafes  have opened across the city here and there, and some even close to work and home.    Here are a few recommendations for sourcing a “secangkir kopi yang baik” in South Jakarta that are not Starbucks.

Blumchen Cafe, SCBD. 

A cafe situated close to Gran Lucky supermarket and to Pacif Placa Mall which is handy if you need to pick up a few groceries or treat yourself to some new threads.  The staff are friendly and the cafe offers muffins or a spot of lunch if you’re keen for food too.

Crematology, Kunungan. 

Agro Plaza is my pick as it is a lot quieter than the sister cafe in Senopati and offers more parking.  You may purchase something sweet to accompany your cuppa as well as indulge in a savoury dish for lunch. 

St Ali, Setiabudi. 

An Australian styled cafe that offers coffee to an Australian standard (very good) and a tasty breakfast and lunch menu.  Close to a small IGA type supermarket also. 

Anomali, Setiabudi.

Plenty of comfy chairs and lounges to sit on while enjoying a coffee in the place.  The staff are friendly and the cafe offers a small range of tasty treats to sample along with your order.  Close to a small IGA type supermarket. 

D’Journal, Grand Indonesia Mall. 

A busy cafe with a range of beverages including a delicious nutella shake.  The coffee is good as are the sweet offerings available to complement your coffee.  Friendly staff and a great people watching spot if you can secure a table out the front. 

There are so many cafes about the place, however these suggestions should be enough to get your started 🙂

@aubergine_jelly

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Jam karet (rubber time)

In many ways the Indonesian perspective of jam karet is a small reminder that we a living in a country with many different customs, habits, norms and values than those of home. It sho20161020_101341.jpguld be noted that there is no real normal when discussing Indonesian culture due to the vast number of cultures within Indonesian society itself!

Time is flexible in Indonesia This cultural norm of life and time being flexible has been something I have grappled with during our time in Indonesia.  In the western world, being late to appointments or even simple catch ups with friends or family is considered tardy or rude – not so here.  Many times, people are late for appointments or do not show up at all (other times they may show up early) and the reasons given can be quite amusing – tired, hungry, traffic, rain, flat tyre, whatever.  These excuses are deemed acceptable and it is rude to take issue with the person who is ‘late’ which is difficult for expats to deal with.

To cope, we have taken the approach that we wait for an hour or so for repairmen or deliveries and if we need to head out, we do.  Arrangements will be made for besok (tomorrow or thereafter) and the job will get done – eventually.  Fortunately employing a pembantu helps greatly, as she can liaise with these people should they show up in our absence.  No stress, no problem (tidak apa apa).

Jam karet is also about building and maintaining relationships.  Life’s hiccups allow people to stop and connect with others.  If it’s raining why not stop and share a story over coffee with a stranger?  Most homes and shopfronts have chairs out front where people sit and chat to pass the time. Time and patience are a way of life and there’s a beauty to the mindset that we are all connected.  Not such a familiar concept in the West these days.

The idea of time being elastic brings with it a lovely approach in many ways to dealing with life in general.  Why not just go with the flow and make life easy?  Let it go and let it be.  Whilst I will continue to be punctual, my take away from this experience is to not sweat the small stuff and that has to be a valuable life lesson.

@aubergine_jelly

Useful apps for Expats in Jakarta

Below are just a few apps that have been useful for us during our time in Jakarta.  You’ll find many more of your own.

WhatsApp – used by most expats

XE Currency Converter – easy to use & no explanation required

Go-Jek – for all manner of deliveries, cleaning and beauty services

HappyFresh – online groceries and delivery

Uber – similar to taxi service

Eztable – online restaurant and cafe reservations

Google Maps/Waze – handy for travel times and online directions

TripAdvisior – helps to plan things to see and do, recommendations for hotels, restaurants etc

Facebook – connect with other expats and community groups

Wet season has started – November 2014

My first experience of minor flooding here in Jakarta. This was after less than 20 minutes of heavy rain and the impact on traffic is utterly ridiculous and incredibly frustrating.
The first two photos were taken on Jalan Sudirman, Setiabudi which is a block or two from our apartment. The last few were taken around the back streets near our apartment.
As you can see, the water is well above street level. What you can’t see is the rubbish and God knows what else that is swirling around in the water. The smell isn’t too pretty either.
Must be time to invest in some Princess gumboots!

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thesmult- life is what you decide
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The Glamorous Lifestyle of the Expat Wife

13310497_10154151836188433_3125960751107131055_n.jpgRecently, I read a Facebook post from Expat Housewife of Jakarta, a fellow trailing/expat spouse, who posted a photo showing her enjoying a visit to a hair salon.  The salon was located within her apartment complex, which is not uncommon, and in the photo was the stylist and a therapist doing a pedicure.  To misguided outsiders this image encapsulates the wonderful lifestyle of the trailing spouse.  Spa days, boozy lunches, more pampering, maids, drivers etc.

Delve deeper. Firstly, remember that Facebook profiles show only the highlight reel of all users.  Rarely do we catch a glimpse beyond the shiny, happy facade. The woman (most supporting spouses are) continued that while she enjoyed these pampering sessions they actually fill a void.  It was here that things become very familiar to expat spouses.  She states “..the reality is, I’m lonely and I need to do these kind of things to get through the loneliness.” And there it is, the true expat spouse experience.  Many of our partners travel away a lot for work and must also fulfil week night work commitments – all of which takes them away from the family.

On top of this, in places like Jakarta, the notorious traffic makes spontaneous catch ups with friends virtually impossible; this limits your ability to socialise and impacts your mental health.  And this leads us to the topic of taxis..

Expat Housewife continued that even the myriad of entertainment options on offer in this vibrant city, she felt trapped as she hadn’t asked her driver to work late that night and she didn’t want to take a taxi alone at night.   Another very familiar situation for expat wives. Female expats, including myself, have experienced uncomfortable and down right unsafe taxi rides when traveling alone and so I refuse to go anywhere alone in a cab especially at night.  Another inhibitor of spontaneity.

Don’t go feeling too sorry for us, just keep in mind that all is not as it seems on social media pages.  Delve a bit deeper..