Routine in Batam


Not much happening here. Except I’ve been working most of the time. Doug went to

The Goodies restaurant deck is being expanded and I caught this worker in the midday sun, trying to stay cool with shade from his cardboard hat.

Australia on Friday, March 2, to visit with his mother, who was turning 90. It’s a short trip of only a few days. He asked if I could watch over things unofficially, as there are no other bules on staff. So, I’ve been walking around asking how things are going and everyone kind of looks at me weird, like “Who does this guy think he is.” The staff seems to have everything under control – except the restaurant TVs, which I’m supposed to take care of. Except there are two TVs, with four feeds and who knows how many stations, and the TVs can be assigned different stations. I had a quick once-over drill before Doug left, but there were holes in the lesson – like how do you program the TVs separately, and where the heck is the volume. Luckily, the girls know some of it. Doug comes back Wednesday.

Meanwhile, I’ve tried to fill in when guests arrive and answer whatever questions I can. The office staff showed their dedication tonight. At almost 8 p.m., Mawar and Sida were still at work, trying to get the feed from the restaurant to the office to work. Nice dedication. Most people would have left at quitting time and figured it out the next day. Not these two.

We’ve apparantly entered a rainy season, as there have been showers and storms daily. One last Thursday hit us with lightning, knocking out our Internet, phone and network hub, and one computer motherboard. Mr. Lo has spent a couple of days repairing and replacing. I’m just kind of a bystander.

I’ve been fighting a bug now for two weeks or more. It managed to get into my lungs, which were damaged a few years ago when I had pneumonia, and I can’t get rid of it in my chest. Guess if I changed my lifestyle for a few days it would get better, but … it’ll get better anyway.

I may be picking up some freelance work from one of the Aussies here who has  started his own company. Gave him a long-delayed proposal today. I’ve been delaying because I don’t have a lot of time to do freelance (working 5 1/2 days a week already) and the money is not really needed. But the wife of a current tenant is visiting and she has extensive advertising design and marketing and Web design experience. She’s English and her husband is Scottish. We’ve worked up a hand-shake partnership where I will funnel work to her and we will share responsibilities and fees. I expect this work will mushroom in the future, as there are a lot of companies here who need Western-style help with their marketing, and there are very few people here who can help them.

My bahasa Indonesian is getting better, as I’m able to try new words and phrases on the Goodies girls every day. They just giggle at my attempts, but a couple are very earnest in making me say the words correctly. So now I’m trying to say “apa kabar” (how are you) as a greeting, or “baik” (fine) in response. Or “pagi” instead of “morning.” This morning I tried out “pagi, wanita” and the girls laughed. That’s “morning ladies” (or women). “Good morning” is “selamat pagi” but that seems too long, so I just go with the pagi. Pretty lame, huh? (My Atlanta friend Mark is rolling on the floor laughing right now.)

I have two or three of the local girls reading this blog, by the way. Hi Risma. And Anna. And probably Della. Since they’re reading, maybe I should call them women instead of girls. Sorry about that, ladies.

I haven’t been out and about in more than a week, so there are no new photos, nor any exploring reports. But I have included a couple of shots. Others coming soon.

Ken gets a new chair

I’ve been having a problem with my spine and right shoulder due to my office chair being

This photo serves two purposes. One, that’s Sarijan on the motorbike (and mentioned at left). Two, he’s sitting on one of our Hot To Go food delivery vehicles.

too low vis a vis my desk, forcing me to reach up to use the mouse. We finally got around to getting me a replacement today.

Doug is in Australia, so Sarijan and I drove into Nagoya to the place where he and Doug previously bought half a dozen tables for the restaurant. We used basically the same tactic as before – Sarijan went ahead to find a suitable chair and negotiate the price – Indonesian to Indonesian. If I had tried to purchase the chair, the price would have been at least twice as high as for an Indonesian.

What I don’t understand this time was that we were going to the same wholesale used furniture outlet we bought from before, and Sarijan was our Trojan horse then, also. I would think the people at the store would have caught on, but we used the same tactic anyway. I was to wait in the car until he secured a favorable rate, and then I could approve the sale. Except after a few minutes, Sarijan came back and said the deal was done and we could pick up the chair.

They wanted 500,000 for the high-back office chair, wrapped in plastic so you really couldn’t see all that you were buying. Sarijan told them 300,000 or he would buy one elsewhere. Once again, the “walk away” strategy worked. That’s about $33 for an upgrade. Guess Sarijan is learning.

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About 2bagsandapack

Lifetime journalist, author, magazine editor and publisher, now semi-retired and traveling the world. My plan, after living in Costa Rica for 14 months, was to visit a new country in southern Europe every three months to experience the culture and the challenge of adapting to a new environment, while on a fixed income. That plan was sidetracked when I was offered a job in Indonesia, providing an opportunity to explore Asia. I'm also using this time to write, having now authored nine e-books, including photo-essays of my experiences in Costa Rica, Croatia, Sicily, Indonesia, Bali and Malaysia.
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2 Responses to Routine in Batam

  1. 2bagsandapack says:

    All gone. Took about 3 weeks to get rid of it. Bad stuff. Boss had it too. He finally got some medicine.

  2. askewebb says:

    I hope your chest cold is getting better, Ken. Get some X-rays if it persists!

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