Teaching Jobs Overseas International Employment for Teacher

Teaching Jobs Overseas
International Employment for Teachers

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Teaching Jobs Overseas: International Employment for Teachers

THE MANY FACES OF JAKARTA

by Erik Richardson
North Jakarta International School

btn_red.gif (50 bytes) Arrival

Whenever people arrive at the airport, everyone must go to the baggage claim area, pick up the bags, and place them on a film-safe scanner. At the other end of this scanner are about 8 porter boys in light blue shirts all awaiting a bag to pick up. 

They will then lug the bag to your taxi or car and, of course, ask for money. If you're not fast enough (or persistent enough) these guys will get your bags every time. I just have someone else put my bags on the conveyor belt and await my bags myself at the other side.

After retrieving the bags, a whole horde of other "taxi" drivers are screaming out (in a bad Indonesian accent) "Taxi, Mister". Usually, I go straight out to the street and get into the Blue Bird or Silver Bird Taxi lines. These are the most reputable taxi services.

But once, just to try it, I sort of said OK to a guy who offered me a taxi. Well, he grabbed my bag and started walking to the parking lot. We were going to be riding in his personal car. We then spent the entire time trying to figure out the price.

 

Erick Richardson,
Director of Activities


 "Surprisingly, ... somehow there is a method to the madness"

Since I had taken a taxi one week before from school to the airport, I knew how much to pay him. He, of course, made it sound like I was insulting him with my offer. But, when I finally got to school, I gave him Rp. 40,000 (around $5), the price I had paid 7 days earlier, and started to walk off. I suppose if he was really insulted with this fee he would have come after me.

btn_red.gif (50 bytes) Traffic

God, where do I begin. I guess the hardest thing to get used to is that a car whose hood sticks out farther than mine has the right-away, regardless of either of our speeds. That means, I can be doing 80 km per hour and a car doing a u-turn can get his headlights in front of my path. I have to slow down and let this person in.

It is so maddening because your "flow" in continuously being interrupted. Well, there really is no flow. Never have I driven anywhere when I can keep a constant speed. I'm always stopping for something.

Soon, though, you learns that this is just the way you must drive if you want to get anywhere. Small mini-vans called "bee moes" (bimos) stop in the middle lane of traffic to let people out or on the bus.

Larger buses belch filth and have breakdowns in the middle lane on the toll road (like a highway). People are always honking their horns, too. These guys on the mopeds are always lurking to your sides. They weave in and out of traffic (especially when it's stopped at a red light) and get very close to you.

It would seem dangerous, crazy, chaotic, and life-threatening to a Westerner. Surprisingly, though, people DO get where they need to go and somehow there is a method to the madness.

Police routinely signal "bad" drivers (whatever that means here) to pull over and pay a bribe. It will take forever to eradicate this element of the police department because they've been doing it for so long and everyone grows up knowing that bribes are a part of life.

btn_red.gif (50 bytes)  In Indonesia, I'm always shelling out money to someone for something: Every time I park, I pay 10 cents to some random guy with a whistle who signals me out of my parking space (but who wasn't even there when I parked),

Every time I get to a red light there are boys playing one-stringed guitars, beggars of a variety of ages and deformities, transvestites, and people brushing off your clean car with a duster.

Every time someone does anything for you- 500 Rupiah. It is such a miniscule amount of money, but to always be dishing out cash gets a little ridiculous.

Here's an interesting tidbit: It's so humid here that after playing one half of soccer (45 minutes), my hands look like they've been in a bathtub for a whole day. They are all pruned, like a raison.

There is so much moisture floating around in the air. If you combine that with someone who sweats a lot (like I do), that equals frog-like fingers and palms! Yuck. I still keep on playing, though

 

 

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