Adventures living as expats.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Anyer Embassy Cottage

Jeff had a 4 day weekend last week so of course we made a break for it and escaped Jakarta.  We went with a group out to Anyer, which is a small beach town that's not too far.  We've met a lively group of Aussie's in the last few months and were lucky enough to got a prestigious invite to join the fun times at the Aussie Embassy Cottage.  The accents and Aussie sayings kept us thoroughly entertained, just to mention a few:

  • chokkie bikkie - chocolate cookie (my personal favorite)
  • ranggie - redhead (short for orangutang)
  • togs/bathers -swim suit
  • mossie - mosquito
  • loo paper - tp

We spent the weekend relaxing in the pool and drinking coconuts.

Jeff got to spread his love for beersby with our Aussie pals and work on his game - look out Tav!

We did a lot of relaxing on the deck.  Here's the view from my lounge chair.

We also spoiled ourselves with massages, seafood barbecue, exploring along the beach, and good Australian wine.

With Thanksgiving and Holiday season here, it's getting a little tough being away from family.  Really small, insignificant things are wearing on me - like why is it normal to add water to soap dispensers instead of soap?    Why is there always water sprayed everywhere in the bathrooms?  Why does it take days to get my phone fixed when it is just a billing issue?  Why isn't there pre-made pie dough in Indonesia?  Yep I think I officially have one of those culture shock stages I read about.  We miss everyone and Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sunda Kelapa and House Guests!

We had our first house guests last weekend!  We met Monette and Raphael on our Flores trip and invited them to see the beautiful Jakarta.  Jeff did a great job selling the city - hyping up the cheap massage, street food, and luxurious Pakubuwono pool.

First on our list was getting our apartment guest ready.  The owners have refused to move out any of their crappy furniture.  Not wanting to look like hoarders, Jeff had to strategically hide extra mattresses, couches, and broken entertainment stands throughout the apartment.  In the end it worked out great though.

On Saturday we laid low at the pool and took M & R to Bersih Sehat (our favorite cheap massage locale).  We also went out to dinner at Koi and shared the Krakatau, a flaming mountain of meringue, for dessert.

On Sunday we headed out early for North Jakarta where we visited Sunda Kelapa, a historical port of Jakarta where you can see traditional wooden sailboats.  We also stopped by a fishing dock, but were politely asked to leave by a task force of polisi, but we couldn't figure out why.

Next we headed to Kota or Old Town Jakarta where we enjoyed some refreshments at Cafe Batavia.  We walked around a bit in the central square.  You can rent colorful bikes there that all come with matching hats.

On their last night in town, Leslie joined us for wine and homecooked Indonesian food including the Gado-Gado and Ayam Rendang I learned in Indonesian cooking class.  It was so much fun having guests and Monette and Raphael said they would give Hotel Gagatko 5 stars.  We've got the room ready so who's next?  Homecooking included. :-)

Marine Ball

It's been quite some time since an update; I just couldn't top that red curry.  Two weekends ago, Jeff and I headed to our first ball - The Marine Ball.  I didn't realize how much fun it is to get dressed up.  Jeff had a suit made and he looked so handsome!

As expected in Jakarta, the traffic nearly stopped moving about a half mile away from the venue.  So we dashed through the streets in our heels and suits and luckily made it with time to spare.  The food at the ball was delicious, there was free flow drinks, and we had a table full of friends that were a blast.  We didn't stay seated long though since we danced the night away, including Gangnam Style (not just once, but yes twice and full of enthusiasm).

General G
I can't wait for the next ball!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Gaeng Ped Gai - Red Chicken Curry

The finale of the Thai cooking class was red chicken curry and it turned out to be my favorite dish.  When I made it last night, Jeff heartily agreed.  I thought that we would have a ton left over, but it was so good we couldn't help going back for seconds and thirds.  I made the curry paste in the morning and left in the fridge until I was ready to cook.

  • 600 gram chicken - cut into slices
  • 3 small eggplant or 1 big eggplant - cut into bite size pieces and soaked in salted water for 30 mins.
  • 2 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 T fish sauce
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t sugar
  • 3 mild red chillies - sliced diagonally
  • 1 cup basil
Curry Paste Ingredients:
  • 10 mild red chilies - seeded and roughly chopped
  • 3 shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1" galangal - chopped
  • 1" ginger - chopped
  • 2 stalks lemon grass - chopped
  • 2 cilantro roots - chopped
  • 1/2 t ground pepper
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t fish paste
  • 1/2 t turmeric powder
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 2 T oil
  1. Combine all the curry paste ingredients (except oil) in food processor or blender and process into a paste.
  2. Heat oil in wok and stir fry curry paste for 4 minutes.  Add chicken and stir fry 3 minutes.  
  3. Add eggplant, coconut milk, fish sauce, salt, and sugar and simmer until chicken is cooked and eggplant is tender ~ 10 mins.
  4. Add chili slices and basil and stir for another minute.  Serve with rice.
Here's the version we made in class

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Labuan Bajo, Flores - Dirty 30 Part 2

For the second portion of our trip we returned by slow boat to Lebuan Bajo.  Although the secluded island was fantastic, we were ready for some lunch choices other than Nasi Goreng (fried rice) or Mie Goreng (fried noodles).  First up on the list was hitting up a spa for a 1.5 hour massage for Rp. 140K (around $15).  When I make a top 10 list for living in Indonesia, cheap massages will be one of the top contenders.  

Later on we had drinks and enjoyed the sunset at Paradise Bar, which came highly recommended by some friends.  Unfortunately there was no wine to be had, so I tried some sweetened Arak that the water claimed I would like.  It didn't quite satisfy the craving and even Jeff couldn't even drink it, but the view was amazing.  There were several photographers taking pictures with their fancy DSLR cameras that made me really miss our S100, but Jeff's ole faithful Canon did the trick pretty well.   

For dinner we headed to a great Mediterranean restaurant where we stuffed ourselves full of carpaccio, sesame crusted king fish, homemade pasta with pumpkin filling, and tiramisu.  After dinner we strapped on our helmets and hopped on our rented motorbike.  As we were making the turn to head uphill to our hotel, we were cut off by a car that then immediately slowed almost to a stop.  To get going again on the steep incline, Jeff downshifted but somehow put it in neutral instead of first.  Before I knew it we were rolling quickly backwards down the hill headed for a ditch on one side and a car on the other.  I bailed off the side, keeping all limbs intact, while Jeff managed to get the bike stopped before colliding with anything.  Lesson learned: While traveling in Asia look out for the bules (westerners) on motorbikes.

The next day we had a packed itinerary with a visit first to Mirror Cave where we saw stalactites and stalagmites, fossilized coral, flying fox bats, and some crab spiders (eeek).

Next we hiked to Ruteng Waterfall and swam in the cool water below.  We weren't expecting a rigorous hike so both of us wore flip flops, but it was absolutely worth the effort to get there.

On our last evening we went to a romantic dinner and tried out an ojek (motorbike taxi).  All in all it was the best birthday trip I could have hoped for and we were sad to leave beautiful Flores.