South East Asia by Harley

I ran into this Italian guy on the street in Jakarta. He has riden his Harley from Italy down through the Stans, China, Pakistan, India and then itno SEA, through Indonesia to Bali where he sips the bike to Japan and then goes home through China, Russia and Mongolia.

He had some great info on the Chinese / Pakistan border which unfortunately wasn’t promising. But what got me most was his quiet, understated nature. Then I checked out his website and was blown away by his photos, they are beautiful.

You can check out his pictures here – be patient, there are a lot so it takes a while to load.

Happiest when I’m active

Its very easy to sleep during the day in Jakarta. Most people seem to do it, the librarian at the UN section of the National Library who is looking for a journal for me has just now apologised because she hasn’t found the book yet and she is going off to have her after lunch nap!

The last week I have been living almost on a nocturnal basis. Its quite strange, but once in the rythym is kind of addictive somehow. My body clock now operates pretty well on the following hours +/- an hour or so:

0900 hrs – 1100 hrs: Wake up, Mandy, cooked b/fast, Internet / meetings.
1500 hrs – 1700 hrs: Return to Memories Hotel, Mandy, sleep, maybe read.
1900 hrs – 2000 hrs: Wake up, Mandy, cooked dinner, beers.
0200 hrs – 0400 hrs: Farewells, Makanan time with the Memories Hotel ‘family’, Mandy, sleep.


The hard part about this schedule is that a large portion of the waking hours are not standard business hours. In fact for a large portion of the waking hours there is not a lot to do other than sit, talk, drink beer, eat peanuts or maybe go dancing. Networking is not a huge option because lets face it, not many people want to talk about their work at 2am in the morning!

I have found therefore that the time between 1000 hrs and 1500 hrs is critical. I must get something done or else I feel like I’m stagnating. This is a very Bule way of looking at the world it seems, which is a consistent theme for white people no matter where they are in the world. We seem to be always looking for something.

It took me a week to work that out. Therefore I’m happy to report that i’ve had some good meetings this week. Ririn from PwC Jakarta was extremeley helpful and put me onto two organisations that she deals with in her CSR role – Mitra Dhu’afa and the Indonesia Solar Lending Program run by Khaula Foundation.

 Mitra Dhu’afa are a Grameen supported Micro-finance initiative that is assisting poor women in Jakarta. They are working with PwC to develop a PwC Village in Jakarta for the women to build their enterprises and learn about financial literacy and how to be better entreprenuers.

Indonesia Solar Lending Program  is attempting to achieve a very similar outcome as the Mercy Corp, Moris Rasik and Good Returns Energy 4 All Project that I will be working on in Timor Leste. They install small Solar Home Systems into rural villages in Indonesia. They are currently implementing a pilot program in Kalimantan.

Links to all these organisations and more have now been added to the side-bar.

Hmmm, dejavu.

Spent Friday morning running around trying to drum up sufficient USD to pay for my shipping charges. Because my travel money card from CBA is actually denominated in USD I thought I would spend teh extra time looking for a ATM that dispensed USD. This is not uncommon and I actually ended up at a commonwealth bank in the Landmark area (Banking area) because I figured it would be the easiest, cheapest and most convenient – since it is my bank after-all. How silly of me! Turns out that my CBA Travel money card denominated in USD can only be withdrawn in IRP, but I could use my CBA ATM card denominated in AUD to withdraw USD. Anyone think this is a little silly?

I couldn’t even change my money at the CBA because I didn’t have an account with that particular branch! Silly squared anyone?

Due to these delays, I finally got out to DB Schenker at 12, just in time for everyone to knock off for lunch. The receptionist spoke good english and as making goo goo eyes, so I asked her if she had already eaten, she hadn’t so she grabbed her two friends who just happened to be the Cashiers and we went for lunch. Apparently the men were all off praying, which makes sense because Friday is the holy day here.

Once we came back from lunch there was a bit of a que for the Cashiers, so I let them deal with that and i spoke to a few of the poeple waiting. Managed to work out after a while that they didn’t think the charges I was paying were expensive, so just paid them. The only comparison point I had was Australia and they were comparable.

Turns out that if you fold your USD it devalues the money here in Jakarta. I think I’ve heard this before, anyway, the Cashier girls let me off this time 😉 Then came a $5 USD fee for the Delivery order which they let me pay in IRP at a good rate because I had no more USD left. Finaly Mr Dody arrived at about 2pm and the next sticking point was the original sea-way bill. I only had a copy and they were going to charge me $15 USD to re-print. I pointed out that I had never received an original sea-way bill and that it must be there responsibility to provide it, and therefore it was not a re-print because they had not yet provided it. They relented and printed me an original sea-way bill. It was 3pm and I’m starting to get worried that given that its a Friday we are not going to get to customs in time.

Then comes the big one. I ask to be taken to see the bike and a look of amazement spreads on Mr Dody’s face and he tells me that the bike is not available yet, that it has been unloaded but now the cargo needs to be stripped (unpacked). He tells me that the bike will not be available for the customs process for 5 days, not including the weekend! So it will be next Friday before it will be available for inspection and customs processing.

Mr Dody has been very helpful and I put this down to a miscomunication. He never did say that the bike would be ready by Friday but that the Delivery order would be ready on this Friday. At least I have all the necessary papaer work now to proceed through customs when the day comes.

Back to waiting. In the mean-time I seem to have picked up a cold. Had the sore throat, now have a runny nose and head-aches. Hoping I don’t get a temperature any time soon.

Bike update

So, apparently it takes about 2.5 days for a bike to be loaded in Singapore, shipped to Jakarta and unloaded in Jakarta. Then in takes about 2.5 days for the shipping paper work to be arranged here in Jakarta. End of story is that I cannot even commence the customs paper-work until tomorrow, 5 days after the bike was shipped from Singapore.

The Db Schenker contact here in Jakarta, Mr Dody, has been very friendly, but i can’t help but get teh feeling he is deliberately delaying me for some reason, and my sinister mind draws up images of him arranging with his cronies a paperwork maze that will enable them to extract a variewty of bribes from me.

Combine this with the fact i’ve had the first dreams i’ve had for about 2 years, that i’m reading C.G.Jung’s memoirs on the unconscious, that the place i’m staying in is maze for the conscience, that I’ve not had a feeling of being ‘In motion’ (see comments on Buckminster Fuller here) and you might begin to understand that describing my mental state as ‘agitated’ is a bit of an understatement.

Oops, wrong place, again.

Found out on Friday that the bike is not shipping until Sunday, so nothing for it but to spend even more time in the pub. Getting a little sick of Jl Jaksa by that stagfe with exceptions, such as the always fun and honest Memories staff.

Being Friday memories is full and by this time i’m known to many locals by name, which is welcoming in one way but kinda like being bakc in Cobram in another way. I get chatting to Elle, a french girl travelling on her own and Manuel, a spanish guy who has just spend a couple of months in Australia and also travelling on his own. Bopth are slightly moire mature, seasoned travellers and are refreshing to talk to compared to the constant troupe of fresh faced party poms.

Anyway, Elle and Manuel are both keen to get out of Jaksa and see some other spots. So based on a reference by Kris we head to Block M. Its a disaster! We head to “Top Gun” bar, knowing that the name should have been enough to keep us away. Its a pub with a live band. Band on the right, bar on the left, pool table at the back, young and not so young skanky asian girls in the middle, disgusting old white men loitering around the youngest and skankiest girls. I head straight for the pool table and don’t bother to buy a beer. Manuel obviously hasn’t quite picked up on it yet, so he buys a beer for Elle and himself. Elle is second to realise how bad the place is and I help her out with her beer so we can leave, Manuel is a bit slow but gets there when two expats start trying to take over the stage to sing their favourite song. I walk out feeling sick when I see an old white dude dry humping and worse a girl who is extrordinarily pretty and only about 18, if that.

All I can do is apologise for suggesting that we could trust Kris. But, being seasoned travellers we decide to give one other bar a go before making a hasty generalisation and deciding to write off Block M all-together. Its a little better, I can’t remember the name of it but still nothing compared to the Stadium, and the fact that teeh dance floor is faced with mirrors and all the current dancers are dancing to their image in the mirror is a bit disconcerting, so we leave.

The taxi driver talks us into going to Red-Square on the way to Stadium. I have heard its good, so we agree. It looks very flash from the outside and unfortuantely we get knocked back for in-appropriate footwear! (Manuel and my sandals are ok, but Elle’s thongs are not!).

So we finally make it to Stadium where the price has gone up for Friday. Its 70,000 IRP and I get the impression from the other two that I’m blowing their budget tonight! Stadium is a little more crowded but still plenty of room to dance. In fact the crowd jsut helps hide the zombies a little better, making it a bit more enjoyable, not that the Zombies do any harm. I notice this time though that the three of us are creating a small problem on the dance-floor because we are dancing in a circle. Everybody else is dancing in lines facing the stage! Strange.

Yet another good night at Stadium, eventually.

Partying In Jakarta

On Thursday I miss out on a trip to the traditional markets with Yanti and her Family due to a miscommunication but make up for it by heading to the Stadium night-club with some locals from the pub. The ring leader is Maria, who works 2 jobs – Receptionist in a hotel and also in a factory out of town near where she lives. She is in tow with some old friends who have not seen each other for 3 or more years and intend on partying to catch up. They have gone through an elaborate logistics plan to pull the whole night together, and it makes getting to Kings Cross on a Saturday look like a walk in the park. For starters, they live about 1.5hrs out of town, Maria has only just finished work (1am) and her friends arrived un-announced in town (from the Phillipines and Singapore) so had to go buy some party clothes for her!

Stadium is amazing, its like Marble Bar in Sydney but with good dance music and 3 levels of balconies looking onto an open dance floor and a stage about the size of marble bar itself. The difference is probably the ‘spa’ and ‘massage parlour’ on the 4th floor. Its busy but not over-crowded and the corwd consists almost 90% of locals. Plenty of ppl on the dance-floors but plenty of room to move, the music is loud but not to loud you can talk almost normally. Its just how I like my night-clubs.

I’ve been warned to watch my wallet and phone and mind the drug takers. First impression is that there is a lot of zombies on the dance floor and around, I soon find out that these are the druggies. We have been there about 10 minutes before Maria asks if I want some exctasy, I politely decline. She asks if I would be angry if her friends takes it and I reply honestly that it doesn’t bother me. I’m actually curious to see the effect.

So we dance and party the night away and the girls come down off the high after about 2 hrs. In the mean-time the on stage DJ is joined by 6 scantily clad local girls who proceed to become even more scantily clad over the next hour. All up it is a good night but a tad expensive, with entry being 50,000 IRP, which includes a glass a beer and additional drinks costing around 50,000 IRP a glass.

I get home about 5:30am having not trusted the girls to drive me home and am pleased with myself at having successfully negotiated the grey areas and at having picked up the locals sleep patterns – 4am – 9/10am, 1/2pm – 4pm.

Jakarta Bike update

I was so happy when I received the customs confirmation for the temporary import of my motorbike into Indionesia, looks like I was a little hasty in my celebration though because it seems that DB Schenker Jakarta and DB Schenker Singapore just don’t get it.  Its a shame, because they have been wonderful people.

I have copied below the customs confirmation and the email I just receveived from DB Schenker Jakarta that put me in a state of rage. The issue they refer to is what kept the bike in Singapore to start with for nearly 2 weeks. Read the customs confirmation and then read the email from DB Schenker Jakarta and tell me if you think they read the email from customs that I forwarded to them. Emphasis is theirs.

Customs confirmation
From: iwan kurniawan

Date: Tue, May 10, 2011 at 3:19 PM
Subject: Importing Good with ATA Carnet Form

Dear Mr. Damian Fuller,

Regarding with our discussion this morning about the procedure of imported goods using ATA carnet, we can explain that the procedure is very easy :

Owner of imported goods must fill and signed import declaration and attach with Original documents of ATA carnet and copy of passport and the Bill of Lading.Customs officers will conduct physical inspection to imported goods by comparing data on the ATA carnet documents with imported goods to ensure conformity of goods with the documents .

After finished the inspection, customs officer will sign and give its stamp of approval on the sheet at the top left of the original ATA carnet as permit from the harbor to the regions of Indonesia. At the time of exportation from Indonesia to other countries, the owner of the goods to fill the Export Declaration form by attaching a second sheet document under the ATA carnet of original and copy of passport and copy the documents during the previous import documents.

Once again, Customs officers will inspect the physical goods by comparing data on the sheet with the ATA carnet goods to be exported to ensure conformity of goods with the documents.

After finished the inspection, customs officer will sign and give its stamp of approval on the top right sheet original ATA carnet as permit the loading of goods to the ship to be exported.thats all export import procedures using ATA carnet form in Indonesia, hopefully it can help you to do your activities in Indonesia. Good luck and have a nice trip in Indonesia.


Client Coordinator
Customs and Excise Office of Tanjung Priok
Jakarta, Indonesia


Db Schenker Jakarta email

Dear Mr. Damian

Received with thanks your document and email confirmation below.

Pls noted that attached Invoice and P. list was not recommended for our custom purpose, since this personal cargo. As our custom regulation, personal couldn’t import motorbike to Indonesia without under or using Diplomatic Facility (under Embassy’s facility).

Pls kindly check and advise this matter to origin for this issue soon.

Thank you

** Please be informed that our office will be closed on Tue, May 17th, in observance of Vesak Day 2555. We’ll be back to open normally on Wed, May 18th.R> Dody Danar. S. STOcean Customer Service Dept

Schenker Petrolog Utama, PT – (DB) SCHENKERRuko Enggano Megah Unit 7R Tanjung Priok Jakarta Utara14220 – Indonesia


Jakarta Pics updated

Some pics from my stay in Jakarta so far have been updated. They are mostly people as my sight-seeing has been confined to trips to and from various government buildings, and to be honest most of my time here has been spent on the computer or phone so far!


Well, I think my belly has done pretty well. I’m quite proud of it actually and to be honest, I did think those Sate chicken skewers were a bit raw last night.

I think “Belly proud” could be a new term. I know a few people I could name who often seem to convey a sense of pride in their belly by the way they give it a gentle rub or an affectionate pat after dinner or during beers. Hands up belly proud people, its time to stand by your belly and recognise that whilst a larger waistline contributes to your chances of life threatening disease (like diabetes, high cholesterol, heart problems) an unhealthy obsession with belly murder is tantamount to a lifestyle threatening disease. Its all about balance people.