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expatriate information for Indonesia

  • When after every sentence you say ... Iyaaahh!
  • You too believe traffic lanes, stop signs and one way streets are mere suggestions and that sidewalks were meant to drive on or they wouldn't have paved them.
  • You can drive 60 km/h two inches from cars on either side of you, but cannot back into a parking space in an empty lot without two guys yelling “Kiri…Kiri Terus, Terus, Terus…”
  • You can kill cockroaches with your bare feet
  • The footprints on the toilet seat are your own
  • You no longer wait in line, but immediately go to the head of the queue
  • You stop at the bottom of the escalator to plan your day
  • You habitually punch all the buttons as you leave the lift
  • It has become exciting to see if you can get on the lift before anybody else can get off
  • You're willing to pay to use a toilet you wouldn't go to within a kilometer of at home
  • It is no longer surprising that the only decision made at a meeting is the time and venue for the next meeting
  • You rank the decision making abilities of your staff by how long it takes them to reply “up to you mister”
  • You no longer wonder how someone making US$200 per month can drive a Mercedes
  • You accept the fact that you have to queue to get your number for the next queue
  • You have considered buying a motorcycle for the next family car
  • You accept without question the mechanic's analysis that the car is broken and that it will cost you a lot of money to get it fixed
  • You find it saves time to stand and retrieve your cabin baggage while the plane is on final approach
  • You think the Proton and Kijang are stylish and well built cars
  • You walk to the pub with your arm around your mate
  • You answer the telephone with “Hello” more than 2 times
  • You are quite content to repeat your order six times in a restaurant that only has four items on the menu
  • A T-bone steak and rice sounds just fine
  • You believe everything you read in the local newspaper
  • You regard traffic signals, stop signs and copy watch peddlers with ignorance
  • If when listening to the pilot prove he can't speak English, you no longer wonder if he can understand the Air Traffic Controllers
  • You regard it as part of an adventure when the waiter exactly repeats your order and the cook makes something completely different
  • You're not surprised when three men with a ladder show up to change a light bulb
  • You think it is normal to wait six days to get your laundry back or pay 50% surcharge for same day service
  • Taxi drivers understand you
  • You own a rice cooker
  • Due to selective memory you honestly believe you could return to the western world
  • You can shake your hands almost perfectly dry before wiping them on your pants
  • When crossing a busy street you believe that a limp wrist motion with your right arm creates a force field that repels oncoming traffic
  • Suitable family entertainment for Friday night is to dress the whole family in dark clothing and dash back and forth across Jalan Sudirman and other busy streets
  • You think it's logical to dry your hands with Kleenex
  • When dining with your family at a mexican restaurant, the table next to you is occupied by an overweight, bald, fifty-something Australian petroleum worker who has each of his arms around a teenaged Sundanese girl
  • While at an indonesian night spot you listen to the FEMALE singer singing Honky Tonk Woman, and she appears to be unaware that she just sang the line “I met a gin-soaked bar-room queen in Memphis, she tried to take me upstairs for the ride ...”
  • You find that you are now depraved enough that you just spent a minute or two visualizing the female singer mentioned above going upstairs with the gin-soaked bar-room queen
  • You find yourself getting upset with inflation because the price of the buffet in a five-star hotel is now nearly ten dollars
  • Going out for a drink with your coworker, he shows up with his girlfriend, even though you are on a first name basis with his wife
  • Someone tells you that 10 kbs is a pretty good download speed
  • There is no discount for what is clearly a demo model
  • A gaggle of teenage girls swoon as you walk by
  • The cute looking girls in Singapore seemingly pay you no notice whatsoever
  • You find yourself looking at a photo of Demi Moore in a half naked pose and find yourself thinking that she looks rather unfeminine and unattractive
  • McDonald's is out of hamburgers and KFCs is out of chicken
  • You ask a person taking your order, “Do you have cheeseburgers?” and the server responds, “Yes, we do.” And so you say, “OK, I'll order a cheeseburger.” And the server says, “I'm sorry, we're out of cheeseburgers.”
  • You can walk into a five-star hotel lobby unshaven, in jogging shorts, ratty t-shirt and flip-flops and DON'T get an awkward glance from the management.
  • A bathroom with four attendants is so disgustingly filthy that you wouldn't step into it back home ... and one of those attendants sole job is to hand you flimsy, single-ply toilet paper to dry your hands.
  • You look left, right, backwards, forwards, up and down before crossing a one way street.
  • You reach for a baseball bat every time Joshua appears on TV (approx. every three minutes)
  • Your main source of entertainment is the JP letters page
  • You've seen every hollywood blockbuster three weeks before its premier
  • You know at least fifty anachronisms
  • You sing along with the Dancow adverts on TV
  • You drink tap water (don't do this at home kids)
  • You know most of the characters in the sinetrons
  • You ARE one of the characters in the sinetrons
  • You pick your nose in public
  • You start to pronounce 'the' as 'de'
  • You take a book to read on the journey to work ( thank you for that one Mr Cook)
  • You carry tissues in your pocket for 'emergency stops' (or spare socks, thanks again Dave)
  • You answer the phone in Bahasa Indonesia
  • You consider an 18 year old getting on a bit (Dee's place door policy)
  • Your current girlfriend is younger than your daughter
  • The term "Blok M" starts sounding like a glittering venue for shopping and nightlife rather than part of a concentration camp
  • The blowpipe salesmen stop trying to sell you a blowpipe
  • The titles "Mr. Bob" and "Miss Barbara" begin to sound normal to you
  • You stop wondering why the concept of turning lanes never occurred to traffic engineers in Jakarta
  • You stop wondering if the concept of traffic engineers ever occurred to anyone in Jakarta
  • Someone says they are "going to go to Slipi," and you don't think they are using baby talk
  • You find a fly in your Bintang, and you fish the fly out with a spoon and drink it anyway
  • You find a fly in your Bintang, and you drink it fly and all. (That's how you know you have really been in Indonesia too long).
  • you make at least two visits a day to a coffee shop when you're in the mall
  • you are no longer confused when you are asked if you want some 'beep bacon' (beef bacon) with your eggs.

Built on an original version (source unknown) with updates by MS and other Expat Forum contributors. If you have additional points to contribute based on your LOOONNNGGG experience in Indonesia, we'd love to hear them, just contact us.

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