What A Wonderful World

What a Wonderful World. What a wonderful song and what a wonderful message!

This may be a tad morbid, but I’ve chosen this as my funeral song and I want one and all to know it. This song so beautifully represents my approach to life, how I feel about the world and how I want to be remembered.

Tropical Jakarta

I remember my friend telling me years back that she and her sister had chosen their funeral songs and I thought that was sick. But now I understand. Why shouldn’t you choose a song for your friends and family that will make them remember you in the best way possible. This totally should be your decision and it’s nice for your loved ones to know this in advance.

The lyrics go:

Oooooooooooooooooh
Oooooooooooooooooh
Oooooooooooooooooh
oooooooooh oooooooh
Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
And the dreams that you dream of once in a lullaby

Somewhere over the rainbow 
Bluebirds fly
And the dreams that you dream of
Dreams really do come true

Someday I wish upon a star
Wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where trouble melts like lemondrops
High above the chimney top
That’s where you’ll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly
And the dreams that you dare to
Oh why oh why can’t I

Well I see trees of green and red roses too
I’ll watch them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself 
What a wonderful world

Well I see skies of blue and
I see clouds of white
And the brightness of day
I like the dark
And I think to myself what a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow
So pretty in the sky
and also on the faces of people passing by
I see friends shaking hands saying
How do you do
They’re really saying I, I love you

I hear babies cry and I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more then we’ll know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
world…

Someday I wish upon a star
Wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where trouble melts like lemondrops 
High above the chimney top
That’s where you’ll find me

Oh somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
And the dreams that you dare to
Why oh why can’t I…

Ooooooooooooooooooh
Ooooooooooooooooooh
Oooooooh Oooooooooh

SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW/WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

Singer: Thomas Newman

Oaxaca, MEXICO

I first discovered this song in one of my favourite movies, 50 First Dates with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. The film had such beautiful sentiments and the song was so upbeat and I feel you can’t help but smile when you hear it.

This song also takes me away to far away place. An easy going, free spirited and happy island Oasis. Chilling with friends and smiling about the best things in life. I’m instantly transported back to many of my travel destinations as well as I have it on my Ipod and I have so often listened to it whilst walking around a new city or along the beach.

I hope people will smile when they think of it and remember me and my attitude to life.


Interview with an Indonesian Local -Dani in Jakarta

Dani Yahya is my delightful friend living in Jakarta, Indonesia. Dani was a great host over my two day stay and so I decided to interview him to learn why he loves living in Jakarta.

Great tips and advice from Dani the best of JAKARTA!

Name: Dani Yahya

Occupation: Business Development Manager for Combi Logistics Indonesia, Freight Forwarder

Location: JAKARTA, Indonesia

(At time of interview- Dani was in traffic.)

Email: dani@combilogistics.co.id

  1. 1. Why did you choose to base yourself in Jakarta?

It’s a good lifestyle. I grew up in Jakarta and my family is based here. Our family business also operates out of Jakarta so it makes it easier to be close to it. I could’ve actually based myself elsewhere such as Singapore or  UK, but I like being in Jakarta because I can have a maid, and driver and it makes life just that bit easier. Also my friends are here and there are so many great malls and eateries to hang out in, we never get bored.

  1. 2. What makes Jakarta typical of Indonesia?

It’s the capital so there are loads of people from all over Indonesia here trying their luck in the big city. This creates a melting pot of cultures from the different regions of Indonesia which adds diversity and flavour to the city. It’s not actually typical. You find that Bali and Jakarta are very different. So Jakarta is typical in the sense that there are many different Indonesian province cultures in the city but the modern development and construction is far ahead of all other parts of Indonesia which makes it unique.

  1. 3. What makes day to day living great in Jakarta?

Having a maid. I must confess it does make a huge difference to my standard of living. After living in the UK for 3 years in dorms by myself, coming back to those creature comforts and being pampered just made Jakarta great. Great people to spend time with. It’s a good place to make money, earn a decent wage and then enjoy that income in the malls and restaurants with your friends. I have a good lifestyle here that I perhaps couldn’t have elsewhere.

Also, you can go as expensive as you like and you can go as cheap as you like. No matter what your budget you will be able to enjoy yourself and find somewhere nice to spend your time and enjoy the city.

  1. 4. What makes life tough in Jakarta?

TRAFFIC! Traffic and Traffic! It’s a nightmare and it can really hinder your view of Jakarta. I hope that when tourists come it doesn’t taint the view of the rest of the city but it can get in the way so just plan ahead. There is also no decent public transportation apart from Taxi’s. They have brought in the TransJakarta bus way but this is new and still they are sorting out the planning and running of this system. This is buses with their own laneway but at the moment it is adding to the traffic and it’s not as efficient as say a sky train or and MRT.

There is also a large wealth gap between the rich and the poor. I am lucky to come from a well off family and cannot really speak on behalf of the lower socio economic division of Jakarta, however I do see that it would be very diffucult. Wages are low and living costs are high. Average wage would be $200 USD a month for someone in a medium sized firm as a fresh graduate. This would not get you very far with city rent prices, petrol for the cars and day to day living costs. Life could be tough in this situation.

  1. 5. Do people of Indonesia get support from the Indonesian Government?

No. I do not feel the benefit directly so it’s difficult for me to answer that. The health system is good but not wonderful. If you have money, it’s not a problem, but for those struggling it can be hard. I think this is the case in most developing countries. There aren’t really established systems for government grants for new business or education or it’s jus not commonly known how to access this.

  1. 6. What would make Jakarta better?

Less Traffic. Life is easier with less traffic. Much more enjoyable and stress free. This is never going to happen though if the sales of Toyota and Honda continue to increase as they are. A better transport system as well because it would stop so much car use.

  1. 7. Was Jakarta hit hard by the Global Financial Crisis?

Yes and no. Yes if you were doing business internationally. No because there is a very strong domestic market.

  1. 8. Is Jakarta now recovering?

Recovering. Of course, as the world is recovering, Jakarta recovers.  It will take a while however for us to get back on our feet and start building those international trade again.

  1. 9. How can Tourists experience the real Jakarta?

Contact me. Haha just kidding. But really, my email is at the top so feel free to contact me if you are visiting Jakarta. If people don’t know anyone in Jakarta they can still experience the real side. The best way to explore the city is through the locals eyes. Try and get to know some local people and ask lots of questions. The old city of Jakarta shows more of the true side and also the miniature Indonesia park, Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, is a great sample of Indonesian culture. www.tamanmini.com/?language=en

10. What are the top 3 things to see in  Jakarta?

-Shopping malls shopping malls and shopping malls

-Ancol – A stunning seaside area with resorts, swimming pool and water park, theme park, indoor movie theatre, fantastic seafood restaurants and boat rides. There is even a golf course. You can stay here in the Mercure Hotel or in the bungalow styled rooms of the Butri Duyung. There is also the art village with local handicrafts and typical Indonesian designs. A great place to buy souvenirs

– Batavia, Old city. Museums, Café’s and art in this area

11. Why should people choose Jakarta as a holiday destination?

It’s cheaper! You are a millionaire here. $110 USD is approximately 1 million. It’s awesome, how often do you get to say “I’m a millionaire”. There are so many different things in one place as it’s an all in city. The mountains are only two hours drive and only two hours away there is another beachside resort. Jakarta itself has the sea and resort style as well as the modern city with sky scrapers, museums and so many activities.

12. What is the best way to win the heart of the Indonesian people?

‘Indonesian people are easy to please. They are interested by new people. They like the Europeans because they are different and just by saying hello and smiling back you can warm their heart. They love to have a chat and talk to you about their country so listen to what they have to say and you can learn a lot. They will also be very willing to help you and teach you about their country.

13. What is the typical food of Jakarta and where is the best place to get it?

Gado gado- a vegetable dish is typical of Indonesia and easy to find here. The Satay house has great gado gado and famous satay.http://www.igougo.com/dining-reviews-b114327-Jakarta-Satay_House_Senayan.html) Chicken, beef and mutton sampler is a good choice. Of course you must also have Nasi Goreng. This is good anywhere and always a safe choice.

14. If people have time, where else should they visit in Indonesia?

Other than Bali, Yogyakarta. You can see the Boro Budur Temple which is a Buddhist temple. It’s 50 minute flight from Jakarta or 8 hour drive. It’s a more cultural place and  you can more easily experience the real Indonesia.

15. Advice for travelers?

Beware of the Traffic in Jakarta. It will always be there so just be prepared for a lot of waiting (i.e. bring a good book, psp or ipod to keep you entertained). Bring lots of money and make sure you have a large credit limit on your credit card. There is such good shopping that you will want to cash in on it, So save up before you come and spend big when you’re here and enjoy your holiday. Oh and don’t be on a diet. There are too many good restaurants and great foods to try to have to say no. Especially the Gelato, it’s definitely my favourite.

Big thank you to Dani and his lovely family for my wonderful trip to Jakarta. I hope you get the chance to experience the great city of Jakarta and the hospitality of Indonesia just as I have done.

FISH SPA

When you travel it is always good to have new experiences and try new things. When I read the sign for a “fish spa”, of course I enquired right away as to what this was . To my surprise and not to my delight, it is exactly as the name implies, a spa with fish. Don’t be alarmed, it is just for your feet.

At this point in time having realized what was in store for me, I would have quite happily declined but my Indonesian friend Dani said “Great! I always wanted to try that.” As he was paying and we had at least an hour to kill before dinner, I jumped right in. To the water that is! Feet first as one might say!

A fish spa is a small shallow pool filled with cool water and believe it or not, fish. Small, scaley, black, squirming fish. The fish swim around your feet until they spot a nice juicy looking bit of dead skin hanging off your heel and they begin to nibble. They enjoy the taste and apparently it’s extremely good for your feet as it is removing the dead skin and revealing the fresh layers underneath. Charming isn’t it! Nature’s own little beauty therapists.

How does one find themselves taking a fish spa?

The procedure is:

  1. Agree to the looming torture
  2. Have your feet sprayed with antibacterial spray and wiped down as you relax in a leather recliner.
  3. Place your feet in the shallow pool and await your fate
  4. Scream, shout and giggle uncontrollably as the hungry fish munch away on your dead skin
  5. Try to compose yourself and smile awkwardly at the now offended owners of the shop
  6. Realise, once you stop squirming about, that it actually feels quite good. Tingling and little nips here and there but strangely tranquil and calming. The little monsters are doing a fine job
  7. Half an hour goes by and it’s time to step out
  8. Have your feet dried rubbed down and moisturized
  9. Pay and apologise for your antics.
  10. Admit to the one that talked you into the treatment that the whole ordeal was actually quite a pleasant experience after all.

By far the strangest beauty treatment I’ve ever had however, I do believe I will do it again. You’re killing two birds with one stone really. Your feeding the fish and rejuvenating the feet. I give the Fish spa an 8/10 for it’s uniqueness, hilarity and effectiveness in foot cleansing.

NB: Do not place feet in your fishtank at home. The fish are actually a particular species, doctor fish, who do like the skin of human feet, your fish will probably just cower in the corner or have a heart attack. Not advised.

For more information visit:

http://www.china.org.cn/english/health/220710.htm

Or

If in Jakarta anytime soon, go to the good people at:

Talisa Family Massage and Reflexi

FX Plaza Life Style X’Entre

F3 JI. Jendral Sudirman Pintu

Senayan

Phone: 021-2555 4136

CLOSE UP PHOTO:159321-eaten-alive-by-fish—fish-spa-singapore-not-my-foot-btw-singapore-singapore.jpg

Garuda Anxiety

I’m thrilled to be leaving this Sunday for a week away in the tropical Bali. However, the journey from conception of idea to arrival in my destination is proving to be quite the challenge.

This trip has been in the making since August 2008 when I purchased a charity ticket from the lovely team at Garuda Cardo through an Auction. $300 return to Jakarta! Not bad! This actually came at the perfect time as my friend was going to Indonesia in September and needed a friend to go on the trip. Sign me up!

Then fate happened to step in and decided I needed to slow right down. A 2m jump on a snowboard, 1 week of hospital and many x-rays later and I was in a back brace for the next 8 weeks. So, no Bali for me.

I recovered, I’m well and I have a deadline. February 21st 2010. The ticket must be used or it expires. Well I am certainly not one to waste especially in these crucial financial times. So I decided I must go it alone.

My friend believed she could save me from yet another solo trip by accompanying me. A girly holiday in the lap of luxury, relaxing on beaches and enjoying a good rest. Sounded perfect.

Again, fate steps in. My friend decides that really she can’t afford the trip after I spent 3 hours looking for flights for her and she would have to decline the offer to join me on this trip. A mere 4 weeks from the departue date and I was now friendless. Excellent.

EmoGirl_17_SadAndAlone-1.jpg image by aug292009

So it appeared that I may not ever get to Bali. But no. I stood my ground. I would not yield. “I will go to Bali alone and I will have a good time.”

Hotel booked just 3 days before I went, thanks to my amazing friend working at NRMA Travel, and it seems like all is well.

http://www.anekahotels.com/

Welcome to Aneka Hotel Kuta

Final but very vital hurdle which must be faced before I am relaxing and having fun in the sun.

GARUDA!

Now I’m not sure about all of you but I have heard that Garuda can be somewhat….. touch and go. Majority of the time all is well, but on the odd and very public occasion, they send the aviation industry into a frenzy.

I am hoping that after the hoopla I have been through to actually get this trip going, all will be safe, secure and things will run like clockwork. So slight anxiety which is odd for me as usually when flying I’m as calm as a Buddhist monk in the hills of Tibet. But I know that all fingers will be crossed and seat-belts will be fastened and eyes will be firmly shut!

Next stop…. BALI!