Tag Archive: Bahasa


Ojek for Bules in Jakarta


 
Pickup Truck Fail

Ok, so I think Ive become fairly versed in the Ojek trade so Id like to share (Lida read: show off) what I think I know. No mater what, as a westerner, youll always be charged the Bule tax but there are a few things you can do to make sure you dont get completely ripped off and enjoy the ride.

The Business:

  1. Always have correct change for the agreed upon price, they will never have change and any additional time will result in them asking for more money. Tips arent necessary theyre kinda built-in (see Bule tax above).
  2. When bargaining, much like buying a car the walk-away  method always works but make sure youre ok with walking away. Ojek drivers are notoriously lazy and depending on the day may prefer that you walk away. But dont worry, there are about as many Ojek stands as there are Mosques.
  3. If you are skittish about riding with a helmet make sure you ask as this isnt standard equipment. Of coarse, if you are skittish at all, Ojek may not be the best mode of transportation for you.
     
  4. If you are traveling with a partner and arrange a price, the phrase “untuk ber dua”, for both, will be very useful. Once you get to your destination, regardless of your hand gestures during the bargaining process, they will suddenly speak perfect english and insist that the price was per person.
  5. If you are riding by yourself it will definitely be cheaper than a taxi. With two riders you may be breaking even or perhaps paying a bit more but the real value is time. With traffic in Jakarta you can easily take 1-2 hours to got 2 or 3 kilometers, with the Ojek drivers lack of discipline or care for common street rules he can get you there in 1/10th of the time.
  6. Less populated the area the more friendly they tend to be I think but thats not a rule. Inevitably youll end up with the SE Asian equivalent of Evil Kanevil.  Dont worry youll get there safe and if you dont, it will be over so fast you wont feel a thing.

 

The Ride:

  1. Sunglasses might be a good idea.  Most of the helmets are skullcaps so no visor.
  2. Pants or shorts with buttons on them would be best. Wallets tend to slip. Otherwise but everything in your front pockets.
  3. Some drivers are more patient than others, some want to get the white devil off their ride ASAP. With the latter, common riding rules will help you not soil your paints such as lean away from the turns and dont stare straight ahead, lest you get a bug in a oraphis.
  4. If youre paranoid about the pollution, besides being in the wrong city, you may want to get a mask, you can buy them for 1000 rupiah ($.10) .             
  5. Get fresh with your driver if need be. Grab on to his shoulders or waist, with all the starting and stopping youll be glad for it.  If you prefer your personal space or for the homophobic guys you can grab on to the oh-shit-bar at the back, however some of the newer bikes make this a bit more complicated with extra fat bars.
  6. If starring straight ahead while your driver is going the wrong way down a one way at 50 kph  makes you a bit nervous, try looking to the left or right. After all, when one of the food vendors pushes their cart in front of your driver at the last second, sending you flying into the air in route to striking any number of deadly inanimate objects or under a bus, theres really nothing thats going to help you, just let it go.

Personally I love Ojek. Its fun, fast and helps me practice what little Bahasa I know.

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Beer Me


Beautiful day today. Did a little work on the company profile. Design will be the death of me. Spent two days on the cover slide. Finally asked Lida to help and she created an awesome layout in about an hour while I slept (“yeah that’s right woman, and then iron my cloths”).

Did 5km on the treadmill and a weights routine. Gone almost 3 week without missing a workout (save for a 4 day stretch last weekend). Now I realize why rich people always look cut and are so incredibly stupid. When you have nothing to do but work out and wax intellectual without doing anything tangible your body gets hard and your mind gets soft.

Spent a perfect hour or two with my girl by the pool followed by kabab wraps and Bintang. So much for the work out. Screw it, you can’t buy happiness but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come at a price (read:big fat hairy belly). Lida is taking the lead on learning and teaching me Bahasa. Saya Matt, diri America. Give me a break I’m a slow learner.


When I was living in Buffalo and hanging out with Iwan every time we went to his house, instead of hot chocolate or chicken noodle soup his mother would make us Mie Goreng.  Mie Goreng means “fried noodles” in Bahasa.  Not to be confused with Nasi Goreng (fried rice), which looks and tastes much like if you ate habachi and threw up on a plate. Mie Goreng is basically ramen noodles except they dont suck.  I always thought this was the real Mie Goreng until I came to Indonesia.  But I still love the packaged kind every once in a while. Instead of one crappy packet of powder that smells like fish, Mie Goreng has 5 pouches of yummy nirvana goodness in every package.  While this sets Mie Goreng apart, it also presents a major problem.

The five pouches are contained in (2)segmented packets, one for liquid and one for powder. The 1st pouch in the liquid packet is an oil-base with heavenly spices.  Once youve drained the oil, the spices tend to not want to come out of the packet. The 2nd pouch is basic chili sauce which doesnt present a problem in-and-of-itself, until you add in the 3rd pouch.  This final pouch really throws a wrench into the whole deal. Its Soya Sauce, not to be confused with your traditional Japanese Soy Sauce, Kecap is far more syrupy than its Japanese cousin. While trying to eject this sticky substance, I typically end up with half of all the sauces on my hands, leading me to juggle the noodles and/or putting the plastic packet in the noodles just to transfer as much of the liquid perfection as I can, which, if not painful, looks very strange to any observers.

Fear not though, this morning I solved the conundrum. You will need the following implements:

  1. Large chefs knife
  2. Cutting board with no grooves on the sides

Steps:

  1. Begin boiling noodles.  This should take 2-3 minutes depending on your preference
  2. Place the seasoning-from-the-gods liquid packet on the cutting board
  3. Cut across the top, making an opening for all 3 pouches
  4. Flip the knife over to the dull edge and squeeze all the contents on to the cutting board.
  5. Drain your noodles and place them in a bowl
  6. Using the sharp edge of the knife scrape the contents on the package into the bowl.  The majority of it will be sticking to the knife so just use the edge of the bowl, which now will be hot, to transfer said content from knife to bowl
  7. Mix noodles, add dry seasoning packet
  8. Eat manna noodles from yahweh

Survival Bahasa


I’m trying to learn Bahasa but its going very slowly. So far I’ve got I, Thank You, Here, 1-5 and Good Night but really I’ve decided there really only three words and one phrase that’s necessary to survive in Jakarta.

Bule = whitey or cracker
Satu Lagi = One More
Tolong = Help
Tolol = Stupid

Armed with these simple phases and the international word OK you can survive even the most difficult situations in Jakarta:

If someone asks what time it is you just yell “TOLONG TOLOL!!!” the person will be so confused they’ll walk away.

If you need another beer, “Satu Lagi Bintang”

If someone asks anything you don’t understand, “Tolol Bule”.

Welcome to Jakarta.