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Old Aug 14th 2010, 7:36 pm   #76
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Default Re: 25 years up, and I would do it all again.

An incredible thread and such moving observations.

Thank you for sharing this with us
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Old Aug 15th 2010, 9:44 pm   #77
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Default Re: 25 years up, and I would do it all again.

your not really bryce courtney by any chance?

as usual your way with words has everyone spell bound
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Old Aug 17th 2010, 11:58 pm   #78
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Default Re: 25 years up, and I would do it all again.

Very good post and I would do it all again as when I look back I have had so many opportunities, I was already an expat too when we came here, so no tinted glasses.

Everywhere is different and its the difference that is interesting.

I do think that coming at an age without children helped us settle as we could do or go anywhere without worrying about it or how it would affect the family etc.
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Old Aug 18th 2010, 12:37 pm   #79
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Default Re: 25 years up, and I would do it all again.

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Originally Posted by slapphead_otool View Post
We listened to the news in Iran, as the Shah fell and the revolution occurred. I remember people were worried about its effects. Iran was less than 100 miles away, and there had been several disputes with Dubai and the Trucial States in the past, over Islands and oil. I stood on the beach at Jumeirah and saw the sun go down. About 90 miles away a country was in turmoil. I had never been so close to a critical situation.
Hey Slapphead,

I remember that only too wellwell, I was ten years old and we were caught right in the middle of it and it was terrifying. My Father worked for a petrochemical company and we lived in Banda Mashah, as it was called then, about 100kms south of Abadan. The day it came through to me loud and clear what was going on and what all the hushed conversations and worried looks between all the adults were was the day we were in school and the soldiers from the barracks opposite strafed the school with gunfire, we all crawled out of the back on our bellies, how no one was killed is a miracle.

We had huge marches past the end of the roads with burning flags, all the worst kind of things you see on TV, with us laying on the floor behind closed curtains. We were all surrounded by a mob on the bus one day with them all banging it and rocking it chanting “Americans die!” and threatening to torch it with us on it. My Father (brave as hell in my book) managed to get them to calm down long enough so that he could tell them we were British, and they all just left us along, quite a bizarre experience indeed.

The day my Father found a note pushed under the door telling us the “leave the country or we garrotte you children” was the day we left. Middle of the night to Abadan, then on foot across the border into Iraq. The whole place was a complete mad house. We were two families getting out together with a local girl that her father had asked us to take with us for safety….

Needless to say it took us all a while to get over that. After that, a spell in the Royal Navy, and many years of working abroad myself, I know the nomad life. Like you, I would change nothing though.

Spencer.
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Old Oct 20th 2010, 8:09 pm   #80
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Default Re: 25 years up, and I would do it all again.

Thank you for such great stories and thoughts.

It's really moving to hear a retrospective view as I am early 30s with 2 kids and currently looking at testing Oz as a base for our family.
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Old May 5th 2011, 5:57 am   #81
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Default Re: 25 years up, and I would do it all again.

I saw “The Year of Living Dangerously” many years ago. I took my sister, who wanted to see Mel Gibson, to a cinema in Derby. I don’t remember being impressed, and I knew nothing of the country.

Three years later i landed in Jakarta in the middle of the worst thunderstorm I have ever seen. I was shocked that the pilot tried to land, and amazed that he got away with it. Maybe he had no choice.

The arrangement to pick me up on arrival failed. I assumed it was due to the storm, but later realised that this was Indonesia, and such arrangements seldom worked. No one was waiting with a sign.

Dejected and forgotten, I stood sheltering under an awning, in a very strange country, a long way from home, and watched the massive flashes light up the raid sodden night sky.

I don’t remember being hassled at all, which would be the one and only time I have not been offered a watch, woman, boy or girl at Soekarno airport.

Eventually I caught a taxi, or what laughingly passed as a taxi in Jakarta in those days. The taxi rank looked like someone had emptied a scrapyard of rusting relics and put them in a row outside the arrivals terminal. The driver didn’t speak English, but when I showed him the name of the hotel he nodded and smiled. I think he found it by trial and error.

I spent the next few days in meetings. Or at least waiting for meetings which never eventuated, or were not about the planned topic but about something I had no expertise in. The principle object in any meeting seemed to be to extract bribes.

The nights were amazing. Someone in the hotel bar suggested the Jaya Pub, which still exists, the sole survivor of those heady days. Time has stood still at the Jaya.

From there some guy took me to blok M, starting a sordid love affair with the bars in that boulevard of broken dreams.

Someone in Blok M took me to Tanamur in Tanah Abang. It was the oldest disco in South-East Asia , one of the sleaziest spots on the planet, a great place to pick up women, a great place to pick up men, a multi-ethnic melting pot and was the Queen of Jakarta's discos.

Rome burned whilst we partied inside. It was jam packed every night with every nationality, social level and sexual orientation. It was decadence in an aircraft hanger. The girls wore next to nothing, and would make pole dancers blush. The gays and transvestites wore even less. You would bump into high ranking government ministers, expats, millionaires and your hotel maid, who was earning a few extra Rp selling her ass. Tanamur was a drug, and it held you firm in its grip.

In those days the world was just a bit bigger and more mysterious. All a Jakartan girl knew about Sydney she had learned from a book, or from a guy. Most had no television in those days, there was no internet, and the Lonely Planet brigade hadn’t arrived to teach English.

The only Western men in Jakarta were there for work, they earned good money and spent it having fun. The local girls loved that fun, and I loved the local girls.

Over the years I have maintained my connections with Jakarta. I still have friends from that first trip. I was there when the economy crashed, when Suharto resigned, and when they blew up the embassy.

It has never lost that initial moment of wonder and magic for me. A fierce thunderstorm in a dark and unknown city full of beautiful girls.
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Old May 5th 2011, 9:06 am   #82
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Default Re: 25 years up, and I would do it all again.

30 years for me, I came more for love reasons because of my Aus Wife rather than Australia itself.

Bob Hawke was our Local MP. I reiterate all that you have said. Personally I love the way Australia has changed my mindset and the way I think about others.

Great Post and hopefully people heed the message, Life is too short to be miserable about your surroundings and environment.

I dont know about Lucky Country, but I feel lucky to be here. I cant imagine what or where my life would have been like if I hadn't met her.

One thing though, it doesnt feel like 30 years.





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Old May 5th 2011, 1:29 pm   #83
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Default Re: 25 years up, and I would do it all again.

great thread

the first time i have come across it

any chance of it being moved where more people would view it as it is GREAT reading
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Old May 5th 2011, 2:03 pm   #84
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Default Re: 25 years up, and I would do it all again.

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great thread

the first time i have come across it

any chance of it being moved where more people would view it as it is GREAT reading

Thanks guys.

The Jaya is described far better then I ever could here:

http://www.jakarta24.com/review_bar_032004.php

Vale Felix. You made me dance in dark corners.
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Old May 5th 2011, 2:08 pm   #85
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Default Re: 25 years up, and I would do it all again.

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Originally Posted by slapphead_otool View Post
Thanks guys.

The Jaya is described far better then I ever could here:

http://www.jakarta24.com/review_bar_032004.php

Vale Felix. You made me dance in dark corners.


"long live the legend" as quoted on that site, sounds like a grand place
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Old May 11th 2011, 1:30 am   #86
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Default Re: 25 years up, and I would do it all again.

Thanks for this thread. I return to it when I need to be cheered up a little. I'm still in Jakarta and moving to Oz next year. Haven't been to the Jaya Pub for years, like wise blok M's darker side, I did hear 'TopGun' is still going strong. Cheers, H.
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Old May 11th 2011, 2:13 am   #87
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Default Re: 25 years up, and I would do it all again.

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Thanks for this thread. I return to it when I need to be cheered up a little. I'm still in Jakarta and moving to Oz next year. Haven't been to the Jaya Pub for years, like wise blok M's darker side, I did hear 'TopGun' is still going strong. Cheers, H.
Jeez mate, dont read my drivel to be cheered up! Read a good book.

Here is one for you:

I was in the office of a large telco in Jakarta, looking out over Merdekas Square with its Monas tower, the infamous “Soekarno's last erection”.

Below the sun cut through the smog and pollution of a Jakarta day, making the place seem almost liveable. The world of Indonesian banking lay across my view, tower blocks of glass where men and women sat at computers. Billions traded in air conditioned comfort.

Below on Jalan Medan Mercedes and BMWs crawled around the huge traffic island. To the right I could see the Bank of Indonesia, secure in a shining tower.

My mobile rang. I looked at the number, muted it and carried on with my meeting. It was a close friend. Her call could wait. She made attempts to call me though the afternoon.

I ignored them. She could wait.

That evening I called Shesca back. She told me it was no longer important.

Over dinner I asked her why she was so intent on talking to me. She said she had needed 500 US dollars urgently, but it no longer mattered. I smiled and carried on eating. She had probably seen a handbag in a sale.

Then I noticed the tears.

He best friend had given birth, there were complications. The baby had needed medical care. Shesca had been trying to raise the money. She had failed.

Life is cheap in some countries. When I paid for the meal I checked my wallet. Cash is king in a city where credit card fraud is endemic.

It contained $550.
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Old May 11th 2011, 2:52 am   #88
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Default Re: 25 years up, and I would do it all again.

Understand that situation. Where I work we have several projects which support locals in the community around us. Many of us have a hand in schemes from health care, education, employment opportunities and sport.

Had the credit card thing some years ago, but still need them.

I'm keen to be living in Oz and the thread feels upbeat regarding your Australian experience .. hence cheering.

Had a short stay in Lane Cove in the 80's, loved every minute .. except for the fact that the Ozzie were taking the cricket boys apart that Summer, experience copious banter with the local chaps. Cheers H.
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