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A neighbour's one-legged, tail-feather-less, off-key, ex-fighting cock, or maybe the musical sound of the precision-Indoneer neighbour fine-tuning his Honda Astrea with a two pound hammer, woke me this morning.

I arose to go and find where Mas SATPAM, a true doyen of his calling, was sleeping to awaken him so he could makan and mandi in time to go and sleep away his day job in preparedness for tonight's stressfull repeat performance of protecting my house and family while at the same time sleeping so as to be ready for his day job.

Then I had to unhook Oupa Bodoh from the top of the gate, where he'd again got stuck on a spear point through the shoulder strap of the woman's one-piece bathing suit he insists on wearing - backwards (and sometimes inside out, too). As usual, he got stuck when he was climbing over to pick up a bit of silver foil the overnight breeze blew in. He must've fallen into a kali yesterday, as his usual pong rating was way down. (When the cock he habitually carries under one arm manages to get away he can free himself.)

The tukang sampah called for his kids' monthly one and a half litre bottle of Coke (non-delivery of which means I get to keep my sampah), and at the same time Mas PLN came to read the meter, already grumbling about the heat and saying how the kind Ibu usually gives him a glass of tea and a smoke to fortify him for the next 20 metres of his arduous trek. Mas PAM was next, complaining that he can't read the meter, which therefore needed a FAT (fag and tea)-rewarded cleaning job. (It didn't. He needs specs.)

The driver had meantime woken up, scoffed his nasi, and was busy inflating the tires he'd half let down overnight so he could make a show of exhausting himself pumping them up manually this morning. Another FAT project. He conveniently "forgets" that there's a perfectly serviceable electric pump in the garage.

Mister No-"Sugar"-No-Surat Surat, the Postie, was next, quickly followed by the day pembantu, who's employed to look after 2 kids, but who seems to also look after 8 or so tiny extras, whose mums scoff kilos of cake and litres of cold drinks when they drop them off, and do the same later when they collect the little ******s at about 5 PM. (Memo to self: Who ARE these kids? Are they really kids, or the alien biological waste-dispensers that they seem to be? Who are their mums? Where are their mums? Where do they all come from? Why do they come here? Who authorised the building of the new, big, airy studio and purchase of 20,000,000 rupiah worth of toys to house and entertain them? Why do their mums apparently have a roster to "exercise" my wife's
jewelry, and sometimes even her clothing? Who cleans the biological waste from the floors and walls? Who pays for all this?)

The gardener was already on deck, chopping out the fruit trees and nurturing the weeds and the magic chilli pots. The laundry is not yet out to dry, so he has thoughtfully held off on lighting his garden sampah fires until it is.

Fatimah's "Breakpuss ready, Misterrr!" was next, the usual toast with selai bawang-nanas, blacang-spiced fresh fruit, and - the piece de resistance - kopi bawang Bombay. (How DOES Fatimah manage ALL that in one meal? A real treasure, that woman. Our gain is definitely Aceh's loss!)

Mas "Pompa" and I then head off to work, via the long shortcut past his mum's where a mysterious package that looks suspiciously like a parcel of food and a couple of our magic (i.e. disappearing) potted chilli plants is handed over, past his mate the traffic copper's post (where a packet of fags is handed over), and past the building security (not) post (Mas Security is MIA...AGAIN! - No oleh-oleh for HIM today, tee hee), and it's into the sweatbox for me while Mas Pompa exhausts himself sleeping in engine-running, A/C'd comfort under a shade tree while awaiting his first errand.

Today's mail's already been shredded, yesterday's watebasket contents have been ironed, sticky-taped together and placed neatly on my desk. My coffee today is Option 2, which is weak. Options 1, 3, 4, and 5 are respectively cold, too strong, unsweetened and too sweet...get the picture? I'll have to live without chilled juice today as the fridge has been "pinjam'd" for an Upacara Adat in the cleaner's kampung and it won't be back until it's over, next....?

Dian has her usual 20 to 25 days a month malady - pre or post MT - and she won't be in until ...? Yuli, the religiously-versatile computer operator, has another can't-miss-it Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Katolik, Kristen or Yahudi ceremony to attend, but that little life-saver, Johannes, who bought his degree, bribed the recruiting agent, can't spell in 4 languages and couldn't work if he was plugged in to a first world power grid, is on deck to make a show of fighting off the wolves. The frustrated brain-surgeon office-boy will be in a bit late. It seems he's compromised his forefinger while pursuing his hobby, which is DIY digito/nasal lobotomy. I used to think he didn't start that until he arrived at the "oppice". What a relief that he's not injured and will eventually be in!

If a bit bored, I'm truly overcome. Another Perfect Start to another Perfect Day in Paradise. My day's first couple of hours was yet another mind-soothing Situation Normal that really set me up for the next 14 hours. So it's in a total sense of ease, comfort and peace that I again ask myself how I could, even fleetingly, contemplate that it might be possible to live so enjoyably as this anywhere else?

© R.W McG

Housing and schooling information for expats in Indonesia expatriate website for Indonesia Indonesian language translation of article

Practical Information for foreigners, expats and expatriates moving to Indonesia - find out about housing, schooling, transport, shopping and more to prepare you for your stay in Indonesia

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