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
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From: iwan kurniawan

Date: Tue, May 10, 2011 at 3:19 PM
Subject: Importing Good with ATA Carnet Form
To: damianfuller@gmail.com

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.

Regards,

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

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Db Schenker Jakarta email
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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

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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!

Oh-O

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.

Jakarta: Mulsim yet sinful and decadent yet poor yet friendly

This place is in-sane. The people are mostly Muslim, but you can hardly tell. There is a Mosque about every 250m but I barely hear the call to prayer and certainly the locals only pay it a little more attention than the Bule (white foreigners). To be honest, I have been struggling with a few inner battles the last few days. The turmoil of being surrounded by prostitutes, pimps, poor people, paedophiles (In my book any 50+ old man that is paying for sex with a 20 YO is just as morally reprehensible as a paedophile, so may well be called one, although technically doesn’t fit the description. If he gets it for free with no impost on the free will of the girl/boy that is a different story) and drug dealers. I strictly do not participate in any of these activities. I’ve never done recreational drugs other than alochol, I don’t intend to ever do drugs and I intend never to pay for sex. Thats my position and it is strictly personal and pretty inflexible and its grounded into my identity and my ego identity – what I want to be. I refrain from applying it to any others although I have been known from time to time to question friends on their motive and thought process.
Biggest Mosque in South East Asia – Jakarta.
 Picture courtesty of: www.residentialimage.blogspot.com
The problem here in Indonesia is that there is a lot more grey area. In Australia, if you want a prostitute you would go to a brothel (I’m assuming your not stupid enough to use a street prostitute since its illegal and health risks would be appalling). Point is, your prepared for it. Your first impression of the persion is as a prostitute and chances are your in-bred bias and the fact you know they are doing what they are doing for money, not because they like you is going to mean your probably not going to develop that much of an attachment to them. Here, your tour guide, or your favourite bar tender or a girl you meet in a bar may provide ‘special’ services.
For example, I made friends with 2 locals, Kris and Julia after they were introduced to me by a Kiwi – Daren. He had nothing but praise for them and he came across as being pretty consistent with me in character and in what he was looking for from a holiday. Both Kris and Julia have been a bunch of fun to hang around with and have been very helpful, even though I explained that I was here really for work rather than sight-seeing. We will often play pool together for hours or sit and drink. Kris is always up and down talking to people trying to find clients and I provide him a legitimate reason to be in the pub and also a reference I guess. First greay area – is Kris a friend or a tout? My response now, both.
At first I thought Julia and Kris were together, they work together, rent a room in the same hostel as me together (this is common though to save on accommodation costs, especially since most of the locals only sleep about 3 or 4 hrs at a time max). When I questioned them on this they had a good laugh and said they were just friends. We have had a couple of late nights all together now and while I tend to pay for more than my fare share both Kris and Julia are always offer and never take advantage, whilst on occasion a few others have tagged along and to put it politely, they only joined us once. To put it in perspective, to shout Julia and Kris dinner and a beer each costs me about $5 AUD, in return I get help with catching buses, taxis, navigation, where to eat, where not to eat, who to talk to and who not to talk to and someone to eat dinner with!
Golden Crown Discotheque (and ‘massage parlour’)
Picture courtesy of http://www.jakarta100bars.com/

Kris recently headed off on a tour job for a few days and I noticed that Julia started hanging out with a few of the more obvious unsavoury types and her behaviour changed subtly to match. Although no open proposition was ever made, it did get me thinking that it was on the table if I asked, whether paid or unpaid I don’t know but it was enough to alter my perception of the existing relationship for the worse unfortunately, to the extent now that we hardly hang out. I find that sad and wish I was capable of dealing with this in a way that enabled me not to bias my thinking based on the environment and the surroundings, a way to prevent that thought of “I wonder if this person is genuine” popping into my head.

Bike update

My poor Kowi finally has an end destination – Jakarta. Ship leaves Singapore on this Sunday 16th May. Although the Pelni information man indicated, twice (the second time with the lovely Yanti acting as translator) that there was only one boat to Kupang and it was going into dru dock service after the run leaving Tanjung Priok on the 15th May I’m confident that there must be other Pelni boats leaving from other ports.

So, it looks like I will be riding through Indonesia to at least Bali, if not even back to my old haunt the Alor islands. An alternative is putting the bike on the train through Java. Strangely, although I don’t believe in fate I do feel a special affinity for Indonesia and I’m really not that fussed that I have to spend a bit of time riding through it.

Carl G Jung and the unconcious in Jakarta.

Found a book on Carl G Jung today – “Memories, Dreams, Reflections”. It is a combination biography / autobiography. Decided that reading it would be a good way to bring my entertainment budget back under control! Plus, had a quick flick through and noticed a few sections on the unconscious and the ego, a few pet topics of mine.

Reading through some of it has made me realise that these guys were really going out on a limb with some of this stuff. They were pioneers in an academic (and also practical) sense sometimes. I haven’t come across any reference to crazy wacky experiments in this book so far, but from what I know of elctro-shock therapy the basis for that treatment (which I heard is being revived in a modified and more humane sense in teating depression) was some pretty far-out experiments.

From what I’ve read so far, some of Jung;’s early work on the unconscious was based on his own dreams. The thing that got me most was that these guys were developing real theories that are still in play today, and they were doing it from scratch, not off the back of a ‘How to’ book but a synthesis of a massive amount of wide and diverse information.

In the current age we are so gifted with easily accessible information and yet it seems we do not use it often enough. How many of us have considered the works of Jung, Freud or Neitzche and wondered what lessons lie in modern psychology that might help us with our day to day problems, or more importantly – in making our lives better and happier? Not many, because instead we go to a self help book on positive psychology. How much of the original work has been lost in translation? I don’t know, but I’ve read a few positive psychology books and nothing as poignant as the following statement of Jungs has jumped out at me before:

“ I realised that the Unconscious is a process, and the psyche is transformed or developed by the relationship of the ego to the contents of the unconscious” Carl Jung.

This understanding apparently helped Jung arrive at the central concept of his psychology: the ‘process of individuation’. More on that later – once I’ve read about it! What it helped me understand was that these days when we talk about disaffected and disadvantaged youths we often refer to the ‘environment’ that they are raised in and we accord it a portion of blame for the way a person acts. We often refer to characteristics of this ‘environment’ such as the socio-economic back ground or living standard of a persons child-hood, or the education level they receive or the social intelligence of our parents. Whereas now it seems to me that it is those experiences derived from the environmental characteristics which are captured in the process of the unconscious and how the ego influences those experiences that really determines how we think and ultimately how we act.
 
Environmental characteristics are obviously very front of mind over here in Jakarta. The poverty and class divide is pretty obvious, not to mention the much more frequent interaction here with ‘underworld’ figures such as touts, drug dealers and prostitutes that rarely happens (to me anyway) in Australia. The relationship with these underworld figures here is also much trickier – because pretty much everyone here is an entreprenuer of some sense, a drug dealer will be just as happy to sell you a tour (or pick up a commission selling you a tour) as they will be fixing you up with a ‘nice girl’ or selling you drugs. Being as objective as I can, it seems to me that these underworld figures are much more acceptable to me here in Jakarta then they would be at home. This may be because they also seem much more humane and more like ‘real people’ rather than ‘underworld’ figures in a sense. I put that down to the way the environmental characteristics have impacted them as they grew up and how it is affecting my unconcious now that I’m here in the middle of it.
 
So, must admit I’m having trouble keeping the emotions in check some-times, but hey, thats what feeling alive is all about, right? I Hope I’m not scaring anyone off from visiting Jakarta, one thing I haven’t felt at any stage is physical threat. I’m pretty sure even if you got mugged here they would do it with a smile, a “Mr” and probably even offer you a ride home in their Rojak.

Jakarta – Customs

I take back all the bad things I said or insinuated about the Indonesian customs. It seems a lot has changed in 8 years.

I visited the Australian embassy and Aus-Trade on Monday to try to get some information and tips for the meeting with the Director General of Customs and Excise. They were worse than useless and could provide no relevant information. In fact I provided them with a lot of information and they did a lot to try to disuade me from even bothering to try to get the bike into Indonesia.

Today, I trotted off to the DG of customs and excise nice and early. Taxis are cheap, mostly in very good condition and well air-conditioned. Plus the drivers are good fun to talk to in the traffic and have been a significant contributor to improvements in my Bahasa Indonesia.

Arrived about 9:30am and was directed upstairs to the DG office without a problem. Offices are organised similar to my image of Australian political offices, with specific staff for each ‘Director’ sitting in one large open plan office off a main corridor directly outside the directors office – which is only accessible through the staff office.

The staff listened to me, asked politely if I would wait 1 minute (not a minute, always 1 minute) conferred and quickly (about 1 minute) came to the conclusion that this was actually the responsibility of the Director of Customs and Excise Facilities. Thought it was too good to be true. They walked me down to Facilities office which was very similar and introduced me to a chap their. He was very friendly, also listened carefully, had a closer look at my documents, particularly the carnet and said it should not be a problem, but that we had to check with the Technical department. Stating to get worried by this point. The Technical department seemed much more like the engine room. He took me straight to the man in charge which was nice and he promptly pointed out that they had actually walked me into the staff only area, so I was ushered outside to the waiting room and I was asked to wait 1 minute. All very friendly and the Facilities guy actually waited around and asked me the usual questions (How long you been in Jakarta? Where from in Australia? How old you? You single? Why you single?) until the Technic boss showed up about 3 minutes later. The Technic bosses biggest problem was trying to understand why Singapore wouldn’t send the cargo. He new what the Carnet was, said it should be all good as long as you have Carnet. Thank you very much. I asked for a letter to send to Singapore customs and he said he would need to put me in touch with a Customer Co-ordinator in Tanjung Priok, and that I would need to speak to one anyway for when the bike arrived. Starting to think this might be where the sting came in later, but was happy just to be told it was all ok. He rang his friend and confirmed that it was all good but I would need to see him in order to get the letter. Whole thing took about as long as it has taken me to write this blog post! About an Hour. Amazing!

I grabbed breakfast at the street warung outside customs and kept the locals entertained with my terrible bahasa Indonesian (at least I have the menus pretty much memorised!) Then jumped in a cab over to Tanjubng Priok. The Customer Co-ordinator centre is very much like an RTA with ticketing system, but my man back at Customs h/o had written down his ‘friends’ name and that meant I got to jump the que. Sweet, waited aboiut 5 minutes for him to finish dealing with his current customer then I was in – he looked over the documents, asked a few questions and again couldn’t understand what was wrong with the Singaporeans. He gave someone else a call about the letter and explained that nothing formal could be provided because it would be like a law (think of a personal tax judgement) so it would be easiest if he just email me the standard process and confirmed in an email that it was ok and I could pass that onto the Singaporeans. So that was what we did. My ‘Work’ with Customs was all wrapped up, including breakfast by 11am. Amazing.

No taxis in port, so I braved the motorbike ride back to the hotel. The guy didn’t know where he was going, so we drove around the national monument about 5 times, went past some big flash building which I assumed was the US embassy since the big placards being waved had a picture of Obama on them and the words ‘Antic American’. My security measures consisted of looking the other way so they couldn’t see I was a Bule. There was only about 50 of them anyway and they had that – its too hot to bother look. The Police were there but were looking pretty disinterested as well.