Sunday was also Indonesia Independence Day, which meant that getting anyone on the phone regarding available rentals was nearly impossible. Should have thought of it – a double whammy of Sunday and a holiday – but I was too focused on the task at hand – and I did have an appointment to see a house. The appointment wasn’t until 3 p.m., so I had to wait from when I woke about 4 a.m.
It did occur to me, however, after my difficulty the previous day with communication over the phone, that I would need a translator. Tried the now for-sure ex-girlfriend but she was busy with her daughter. Tried Sarijan from Smiling Hill but it was his birthday. Tried another woman I know. All with no luck. Then someone suggested Sylvia, who lives with Ian right next door to where I’m staying. She was more than happy to help (she will be paid for her time) and as our day wore on she seemed to become personally motivated to help me find a place to live.
I called a taxi driver I’ve used many times and he sent another cabbie who fills in for him. The fill-in doesn’t speak English, so Sylvia’s presence was even important in giving instructions on where to go. The first stop was the appointment at the Lucky Gardens area. This turned out to be a community up a steep hill that was really too far from the center of town and would have required regular transport. I need someplace I can walk to find most everything I need. Maybe one day I’ll rent a scooter monthly but I really have no desire to get on these roads with the crazies out there driving around.
Unfortunately, when we arrived at the house for rent, which was large and looked clean from the outside, there was a family living inside. The owner arrived and said they were staying for month until their own place was repaired, or something like that. I didn’t hear it all because I was immediately angry, disappointed and depressed. “his is going to take longer than I thought,” I muttered to Sylvia as we left and drove down the hill.
Now the plan was to drive around different neighborhoods looking for rental signs, sort of like I did the day before but this time on wheels and at a cost. This is how you do it here. The local newspaper doesn’t have classifieds and there is nothing on Craigslist. People just put a sign out front saying whether it is for rent or sale, with usually two phone numbers. The signs can be as large as three feet wide and deep.
I had heard of an area around the City Walk shopping center, so we headed there. What we found was a large area of mostly one-story houses, situated on narrow streets, often with dead-ends. This is good because it keeps the traffic down.
Unlike my previous day’s foray in the Happy Valley and Green Valley areas, there were quite a few houses for rent. Of course, they all had gates so you couldn’t get close to see in the windows, but what you do is call the number and the landlord will come meet you right then. We had very little success in getting anyone to answer the phone (remember it’s a holiday AND Sunday). We finally realized this.
We did talk to one person about a small house with two bedrooms, although I think he said the bathroom was outside. He wanted Rp 25 million for a one-year lease upfront. For that, he would also install air conditioning. That amount equates to about $200 a month but I would be stuck there for a year. We will see that one today hopefully.
What that information tells me, however, is what the going rates are likely to be for the houses in this neighborhood, which was quiet, middle-class looking and inhabited mostly by Indonesians. We saw several more houses for rent but our calls went unanswered. Finally, we decided to go back this (Monday) morning (I’m writing this at 6 a.m., woke up at 3:30 and couldn’t sleep). The same driver, since he knows where we were, will pick Sylvia and I up and this time the phone calls should be answered. I have a good feeling about possible success today. I hope I’m right because I need to get this chapter taken care of so I can take the next steps of equipping my new home and getting TV and Internet service. I fear I may have to “go dark” for awhile, although there are Internet cafes around.
I was somewhat unsure of where we were in Nagoya because the houses were so close I couldn’t see any landmarks, but as we drove out it was clear it was in a good area for stores, food courts and near the Nagoya Hill mall. If I want to visit Smiling Hill or Goodies, an ojek (motorcycle taxi) or regular taxi will be needed, however.
Once back at Smiling, I took a quick swim, dozed off for two hours and found myself locked inside the apartment. Neal and Imelda had gone to Goodies for dinner and didn’t know I was in my room sleeping. A call to Goodies, however, brought someone with a key to liberate me.
When I arrived, Sarijan and his family and friends were already celebrating his birthday. Doug, Wayne and I sat down with them, the cake was brought in, the band sang Happy Birthday, and I took pictures as if I was still working at Smiling Hill. Then there was another party, this one for Chef Marco. It was his last day at Goodies, as he and his family are going to Italy to visit with Marco’s family and maybe work there. His wife is from Jakarta, however, so they are likely to end up back in Indonesia, and like me, possibly back in Batam.
Marco’s party was a dinner for a select few people, and I was invited. He made a seafood rice dish and steamed crayfish that Wayne had found at the fish market. He also made a tasty yellow sangria. Wine was ordered and we sat there eating and drinking until almost midnight. Photos below.
So a day that started with disappoint turned out pretty special.