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)  It may sound a bit lavish and colonial, but I have a maid. All the teachers (all foreigners, in fact, and many Indonesians) have household help of one kind or another: cooks, nannies, gardeners, drivers, whatever.

I pay a salary of 350,000 Rupiah (divide by 9,000 or so to convert to US dollars) each month to the man who cleans, cooks, and does the shopping for me. In return, he eats and sleeps for free.

Most of that $40, he sends home to his family who live in a village outside of Surabaya. This may seem like a crime to pay so little, but it's actually a fairly handsome amount compared to what other maids are paid (or what a bus driver gets paid by the government).

When I go to a mall, CDs are about $7, A&W Root Beer or Wendy's hamburgers are about $1, and an export-quality Gap shirt will run about $4.

 

Erick Richardson,
Director of Activities

North Jakarta International School


"Every price is negotiable..."

 
Yes, there are tons of people in the malls, but few of them are buying anything. Some are escaping the heat, while others stroll around with nothing else to do. The author mentions that the fast food chains are doing "roaring business" but the people who buy things there are usually getting an ice cream, or a drink only. Whole families (mom, dad, 3 kids and two nannies running after the kids) block the ordering counter to order two coffees.

Local people are the only people who ever eat at warungs (road-side food stalls). I have only heard of one foreigner ever eating there, and he got really, really, sick.

These places use CANAL WATER to wash their dishes or to freeze for ice. It is impossible to walk near one of these "canals" without getting the dry heaves. That's how absolutely filthy they are. I would never eat at one of those places. There are decent Indonesian restaurants that are very inexpensive, and there are posh restaurants (usually in Big Name Hotels) where you can drop $100 easily. You just have to know where to go.

Of course the tourist trade has been heavily affected by the economic and political recession. Not a ton of people want to spend their holiday in an economically depressed country where some embassies still have travel warnings issued. 

Go to Bali. That place lives and thrives on tourists. That's all that you see there. It's 50% Australian.

In Yogja, I too went to see Gunung Merapi (mountain of red fire). I sent there at night, though. You can watch lava flow out of the top and listen to it crackle. It was one of the scariest and most riveting experiences of my life to know that a few km away, deadly molten earth was charring everything in its path.

Most things are very cheap here. There is one market in North Jakarta called the snake market (Pasar Ular) which is a km-long covered hallway of clothing stalls. I've been there 5 or 6 times with the school's principal to buy stuff. I've gotten 4 or 5 shirts there sometimes for $3 each.

Oh, one BIG thing that the author forgot to mention it that every price is negotiable. I am always bargaining with people. That's the way they do business here (like when we went to Turkey together). 

Many people don't know this and pay the asking price for whatever they are buying. The vendors expect you to bargain, though. You also must have time. You can't go shopping at the local places quickly. Go to the malls for that. (But even there, sometimes the people move so slowly that it seems an eternity.)

 

 

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