Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Kayla Gets a Surprise From Mei Mei

I was finally able to get to the embassy to pick up my mail (and renew my passport at the same time). There were a couple of packages for Kayla, and a package for me for my was like a mini Christmas. Kayla loved her new bracelet, her new books, her new music CD's, and her favorite was the cheapest of all...the valentine's day card where she can cut out dresses for a little paper doll. Why do we adults go to all the expenses of getting nice things when what they really want and like the most are paper cards??

Monday, February 26, 2007

Tika Says Good-Bye to Reny

Reny and her finance came over today for lunch. Reny is moving to Sweden with her fiance for the next 6 months. Hopefully, she will return from time to time for a visit. Reny is Tika's best friend, and there were lots of tears when she was ready to get into the taxi to the airport.....sad day, but we wish Reny the best in Sweden.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Foundation Continues

Checked on the house today, and it was a muddy mess, but there were lots of guys digging holes and building what will soon become the foundation. Hopefully, the photos will become a little more interesting later....

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Weekend is Here

It has been a short week, but it seemed so long. I still don't have my computer back, and I got a scare last night when checking on it. He said that one of my hard drives was broken, but didn't know which one. I went through the entire night praying that it was not the one with 200 gigs of photos. Today, he called and told me that at the shop, my hard drive got switched with another one, so all is ok. I still have to wait, without my computer is not fun.

Tika and I are going to check the house in a few minutes. Supposedly, they have been working on the foundation all week...I will grab some photos.

Golf tomorrow at one of my favorite courses. I haven't played in a couple of weeks, so I will probably have a good game...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Two More Shots from Cambodia

I couldn't resist putting this photo into the blog....Tom Bartlett sits on a headless statue to boast his lower body....

The Jamie Trip Guys...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Last Day in Cambodia

The weekend went by really quickly. The photos above are actually from yesterday. We spent almost the entire day today traveling back to Jakarta. We had a 4-hour layover in KL that turned into a 5-hour layover with the delay, so we didn't get to Jakarta until about 9:00 at night. Tika and Kayla come back tomorrow, so I was at home alone. Back to school tomorrow.

My computer is still not fixed, and I am doing my blog updates at school. I hope that will change soon.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Angkor Wat

What a great day!! We all got up at 4:45 in the morning to watch the sun rise behind the main temple, Angkor Wat. We couldn't believe the people there...there must have been at least 300 people all crazy enough (like us) to get up at 4:30 in the morning to watch a sunrise. It was not at all spectacular though, but it was nice and cool and we were able to walk around the temple with a relatively small amount of people. We finished at around 8:30, went back to the hotel for breakfast, took a nap, and then headed back to the temples for the afternoon. Our favorite temple was Ta Phrom. It is the bottom photo above. They left the temple as it was when discovered with the trees and jungle taking over...amazing!! Huge trees and roots covered all the walls....very cool.

Siem Reap has changed since I was last there about 5 years ago. Tourism has really taken off. Last time I was there, I walked around Ta Phrom by myself....not another soul around. This time, I had to time my shots between groups of Japanese posing for shots at the popular spots. The town itself is really nice now. The roads are all paved, and there is one street that is blocked off to traffic that is filled with outdoor cafes and restaurants....very nice.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Day One in Siem Reap

We arrived in Siem Reap too late to really see any of Angkor Wat, so we took a bus to the floating village which is an entire village of mostly Vietnamese that live in house boats (more like shacks on boats). It is very poor, and the water very muddy and smelly. It was an interesting cultural experience though. Jurrien and Rob had brought some children's toys and clothes, and after we visited the village, we stopped along the road to pass out our goodies. A mob of kids and parents formed around Jurrien as he passed out things...we wondered why with all the tourists coming out to see the village why it is still so poor...each one of us paid $15.oo for a boat ticket, and there were hundreds of tourists out on boats cruising around. With all that money coming in every day you would think the people would be rich, but obviously the money never makes it to the people who need it most....ah, corruption.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Arrival in Cambodia

Yes, today was my birthday, and what a way to celebrate. Last night Tika gave me my birthday EPSON P-5000 which is a small 80gig hard drive which I can plug my CF card into and download also can store videos and music, has a 4-inch screen for is the perfect little device to travel with... I will never run out of space on my CF card now.

We had a PD day at school today. It was actually a pretty productive day. I was asked by our tech department to give an hour presentation on Photoshop which I did...from the emails I received, I guess it went pretty well. The rest of the work day was spent in a seminar about differentiated learning...not too exciting.

After school, the seven of us "Jamie Trip" guys took off to the airport for our long awaited trip to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. We will spend the night in KL, and take off for Cambodia tomorrow. Tika is off to the Kampung to see her Mom and sister with Kayla.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Bantuan Banjir (Flood Help)

Here are a couple of other photos from yesterday. The thing that always amazes me about the Indonesian people is their resilience when natural disasters strike. When I went to Aceh after the tsunami, I was amazed at all the smiles, hellos, kids playing, and people with positive attitudes. The same thing happened yesterday when we went to several small kampungs in North Jakarta hit hardest with the floods. These people lost everything they owned, live in a world of mud, trash, and spoiled, polluted water....YET, all were smiling, kids were playing and laughing, and all were positive. All were thankful for what we brought them, and were very welcoming. The entire, women, grand parents, and kids of all ages were all working together as a community to help re-build, and clean. I don't think I would have been able to say the same after a disaster in the States.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Who Is Helping Who??

Tika and I went yesterday to help with the distribution of water, clothes, food, and other needed items to the people who suffered most from the floods last week. It was a great experience until we were ready to leave one kampung (village). There was no place to turn around, so I was told to go to the end of the street and I could turn around there. Well, the road was completly surrounded with water, and it was very difficult to see where the water was shallow or deep. I made my turn, and then the entire front of the car dropped into deep water. Oh, man.....what a mess. There was no way to move backwards, and if I moved forward, the car would have sunk into deep mud, and I would probably have lost the car.

Indonesians to the rescue. Within minutes, the entire kampung came out to help. They tied ropes to the back of the car and attached them to another car....and then several guys lifted the front of the car out of the water, and we were able (after several tries) to get the car out.

So, here we are in a Kampung that needs our help, and it ended with the Kampung helping the helper....ironic, heh?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Foundation Work Starts

We had another big rain yesterday, so softball practice was cancelled. That gave Tika and I the opportunity to go out to the house and see what progress has been made. When we arrived, there were about 15 guys hanging around....they had done alot of work. Trees were removed, and big holes dug up for the foundation.

Last night, I turned on my computer, and power. I think the power module blew yesterday morning when we had the big thunderstorm. I had unplugged the computer early in the morning, but I think I was too late. I will take the computer into the shop today to see what the damage is.....arrrrgh, no computer for the weekend.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Happy Birthday Kathleen

It is Kathleen's birthday today!! It is always a stark reminder that mine is just around the corner, and that is not always a good thing....just means another year older.

Anyway, Happy Birthday Kath!!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Something Different

There was something strange when you looked up today....there was a sky!! A BLUE sky!! I haven't seen something like that in a LONG time. The day started with pounding rain, and I had the feeling that the floods would start all over again, school would be canceled, and it would be another dreary day of rain, rain, rain. But, at around 11:00, all cleared, and at softball practice today, there was a gorgeous blue nice, I had to take a photo...which I did...above.

So, it appears that maybe things are back to normal. I will need to make another trip out to the building site to see what has been going on the last few days. My feeling is that not much has been done since I last visited due to the rains...

Monday, February 05, 2007

Jakarta Floods

This is our street.
Our living room with all of our stuff from storage and the pool table room piled up to keep dry.
That is water on the floor...I drew a line where the water had risen to...very close to coming into our living room.

After I wrote my blog last Thursday, I went to bed with the rain still coming down hard. Well, at about 11:30 at night or so, Tika and I heard a loud bang outside our bedroom. I went out to investigate. I didn't see anything at first, and then turned the corner to look at the pool table room area, and I saw all of our statues floating. The water got so high on our street, it came in through our garage, and into our house. The water got to almost knee high. Then we realized, that if the water was in the pool table room, it must be in the kitchen and other rooms on the lower level. Yep. It had got into our storage room as well. We woke everyone up in the house except Kayla, and started to frantically move all the books and other things in the storage room out of the water, and into our living room which is two steps higher than the three lower rooms. We managed to get everything out of the storage room and kitchen, but lost some books and framed photos that I had on the floor. The rain kept coming down for another 3 about 2:00 in the morning, the water was inches from the top step. If it had risen just a few more inches, water would have been all over the house ruining almost everything we own. Luckily, the rain stopped, and the water never made it higher than the top step.

Tika and I had to go out and move the cars as the water had climbed close to door level. We moved both cars to the top of the street where the water was shallower. We then drove around to try to find some sand bags to put on our steps in case the water kept climbing. You wouldn't believe the traffic at 2:00 in the morning. I guess others had the same idea. In the meantime, Tika's niece was stranded at the restaurant she works at as Kemang was flooded with nearly 6 feet of water. She was able to walk through chest high water to the main street where we were able to pick her up. She said that she saw three snakes swimming in the water when she was walking. One of the snakes was a huge python as big as my leg that several indonesian guys were wrestling to capture....can you imagine?

We got Sri safely back home, and then just prayed the rain would stop, and would not climb any higher. Eventually, the rain slowed, and the water level dropped. We all went to bed at around 3:30 in the morning.

At 7:15, I overslept for school. I panicked to get my clothes on, when the phone rang. A message from school saying that school was cancelled for the day due to the flooding in Jakarta. Ah, that was nice to hear. I looked into the pool room, and all the water had drained out, but there was alot of mud, and stuff was scattered everywhere. Our driver showed up at about 9:00 in the morning, and he went out and found a truck of sand, and he and a couple of other guys filled bags of sand that we piled into various places around the house including in front of our gate. We got another big down pour at around 10:00, and water came into the house again, but not as bad as the night before.

Finally, with the tremendous effort of our household staff, everything has been cleaned, rugs are drying, and all is back to normal. We have had no cell phone service or internet for the past four days, and school was cancelled today because the school's water system was not working. The only good thing about that was we were able to watch the Super Bowl live at 6:30 in the morning.

Today, it was pretty dry...some rain, but nothing like before. I think we will all be back to school tomorrow. Whew.....what an experience. Our prayers go out for all the people in Jakarta who were not so fortunate. The flooding was really bad in some areas of the city where thousands of people have lost everything they own, and are still underwater.

Anyway, we are all fine, and sorry I wasn't able to get in contact until now.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Building Begins

As I sit here writing this blog entry, it is raining buckets outside. When it rains in Indonesia, it REALLY rains.

Lucky for us, it wasn't raining when we visited the building site at around 4:00 today. It rained most of the morning, so the workers didn't get too much done. They did manage to mark with strings and sticks the layout of the house, and started taking down trees and removing stones, etc. from where the foundation will go down. We were sad to find out that a couple of large trees will have to come down including my favorite mango tree at the front of the property...but unless we were to make a drastic design change, the trees have to go. At least in this country trees grow incredibly fast, and they are very cheap to buy. Tika promises me that she will design a garden that will knock my socks off....I trust her.

My guess is that it will take some time to clear the land to make it ready for the actual construction. They were using machetes to cut down trees, and moving large rocks and branches by hand...amazing. In the States, a couple of hours with a bulldozer would do the trick....not here.

So, we have started. The reason for starting the blog originally was to record the day-to-day progress on the house...that was back in May, I think. Ok, a little late, but now I have a real purpose with the blog...but I won't bore you with photos of the house EVERY day.....maybe just updates on major happenings.