Daily Challenges


Cutting Into Lines

Butting into Lines   /   Queue Jump

 There are many wonderful things about Indonesian culture that we find fascinating. There is, however, one social practice that is very stressful to us, and it is the overwhelming amount of “cutting into lines” that takes place. Many Indonesians have indicated that they don’t like the behavior either.

Lines can become dangerous, and even more so when someone tries butting in and tempers begin to flare. It’s especially dangerous when there is little to no law enforcement to supervise and control such a situation.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that every time we leave our home there will be somebody, somewhere, that will want to cut in on us. Whether it’s on the road, lines at stores, at gas stations, or while paying bills. For us to be able to deal with this situation we have grown to expect it, give way to it, and realize that it isn’t our place to change this behavior. If Indonesians grow tired of this negative social behavior they will have to change it from within.

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Driving Advice

For over a week this lamp had all three lights lit at the same time.

Since Indonesia is the 4th most populated country in the world, and the population lives on densely populated islands, traffic safety is a major concern for foreigners. Dangerous traffic conditions pose a more serious threats than that of terrorists, robbers, or pickpockets, etc.

There are many negative articles online that that can be read about Indonesian traffic, most of which were written by foreigners who have had very bad driving experiences. While it’s true that there are tremendous challenges to driving in Indonesia, foreigners must understand that they are the outsiders, and their complaining won’t change the traffic situations. There are many cultural and social attitudes associated with Indonesian traffic, and if changes are going to be made they must come from within. The same can be said of the negative social behavior of cutting-into-lines in Indonesia. That behavior can be directly associated with driving conditions.

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Explosion / Fire

Our stove after the fire.

On Friday, November 16, 2012, we had a fire in our home. While P. was baking, the seal between the LPG regulator and the tank developed a leak. The heat from the oven ignited the gas, causing the hose and regulator to explode, which was heard by many of the neighbors. The stove then caught fire as gas kept leaking out of the regulator. Thankfully the neighbors heard P.s’ call for help and they ran in and worked to get the fire extinguished before it got out of hand. If the Fire Department would have been called it would have taken them 30-45 minutes to arrive. There’s only one fire station in this city of  ½ million people. Click the following to read our post about Jambi’s Fire Department.

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SMOG (Kabut Asap)

Heavy smog from the burning of jungles.
This view is overlooking the Batanghari River in the City of Jambi. The picture was taken on Wednesday, September 26, 2012.

The dry season (musim kemarau) on Sumatra brings the challenge of having to endure the smoke from the burning of jungles. The first part of October is when the wet season starts.

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Renting Homes in Indonesia

Clay tile roofs are the norm in Indonesia.

Clay tile roofs are the norm in Indonesia.

With this post we’ll attempt to list a few of things that are good to know about home rental in Indonesia. The below information is specifically for rental of typical Indonesian homes, not apartments in the large city skyscrapers. Rental costs of the homes discussed are in the range of $300 – $10,000 per year.)

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Building Trades

Wood used in the support of construction projects.

One challenge Indonesians face is finding skilled labor, like bricklayers, electricians, carpenters, painters, plumbers, etc., etc. Most Indonesians don’t have the opportunity for vocational schools like what are frequently available in some other nations.

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The “bak” in C. & P.s’ home in the City of Jambi

Indonesia, like other developing nations, have significant water problems. There is no location in Indonesia where you can drink tap water.

The picture at the right is that of a “bak” (32″ tall water tank) located in our home. Almost every Indonesian home has one of these. The “baks” are used to store water. The water is then used for laundry, bathing, washing dishes, and cooking. Many homes still do not have plumbing like homes in developed nations.

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