What a morning! So much disruption and noise I needed two Excedrin. It started with a night of almost no sleep but was brought to blaring reality when the workers in the building began drilling holes in the concrete walls. Then the satellite TV guys called for the install, a day late, and speaking Bahasa. Then there were two other calls, one requiring me to run out to the ATM. It is now mid-afternoon and I need a nap, but the construction work is still going on so that will have to wait.
About the TV: I knew when I moved into my studio apartment above a bar in the Nagoya bar district (kampung bule) that I would need something to keep me occupied at night so that I wasn’t constantly being lured downstairs to play pool at one of the three dozen bars on the streets below. My apartment comes equipped with a 32-inch flatscreen TV but there was only snowy local reception, with 2-3 channels in English. I needed cable or satellite TV. The trouble was that no one I talked to knew where I could go to order the service.
Phone books are difficult to find here and there is no online business directory listing cable TV outlets. In addition, the signage on the shophouses can be confusing, and there are few street signs or addresses on buildings. So you really need to physically know where something is to find it. Like I said, I asked around but only one person said he knew where to go but I could never get more than that out of him. One person I asked was my regular taxi guy, Edi, who said he would look out for a place for me.
Yesterday, while coming back from my first job-related appointment (where I learned something about materials distribution for the oil and gas industry), Edi said he had found an Indovision TV outlet not far from where I live. We stopped on the way and Edi came in to help with translation.
I was seeking Indovision’s cable TV service but they told me it was not good in kampung bule and recommended I use satellite instead. I have never used satellite but the Orange TV package comes with all the available extra channels and was only about $300 for a year, pre-paid. You also buy the equipment (satellite dish, called a parabola here, and modem). To make matters even better, they said they could install it that afternoon. I handed over my credit card and anxiously awaited my new TV service.
Of course, this is Indonesia, so the installers never showed up that afternoon. I didn’t really expect them to. But they did call this morning, amid all the noise and confusion that was my apartment building at the time. Three young guys showed up and attached a dish to the roof and within about an hour I had premium service. For $25 a month, not bad. It will save me far more than that each month by keeping me inside most nights.
Like I said, I had my first work appointment yesterday, as well. Interviewed two Americans who have been here for four years, one from Texas and the other from New Mexico. Their company stores and distributes pipe and other materials for the huge Gorgon liquified natural gas project going on in Western Australia. I did make the mistake of showing up with shorts on and was not allowed to walk the yard for safety reasons. Had to take pictures through car window. This was the first of perhaps 10-12 of these client articles this customer wants me to do. Later, as I fruitlessly waited for the TV guys to show, I wrote the first draft of the article, sent out some follow-up questions and processed the photos (pretty boring stuff of some workers and a crane). Finished up the article today and sent it to the client for approval.
Sunday night, I was expecting to have my first experience as the new building manager, as a woman from one of the bars was supposed to look at one of the flats here. She never showed so there goes that possible commission.
The construction workers are busy creating several new apartments here, which is why all the noise. Two new single rooms have already been finished and a one-bedroom unit is also about ready. I think the drilling is for another one-bedroom unit. Meanwhile, the former building manager’s apartment needed cleaning and also should be ready for rental shortly. Now I need to find a way to market all these rooms and apartments.
This coming Sunday, I have been invited to one of the bar’s employee outings. We’re going to the Barelang Bridge and a beach, I’m told. Should be a lot of fun and some good photo ops.