Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Black Out

Another topic to the list of discoveries in Jakarta....a full on black out.

Recently we had an earthquake here so I knew the emergency lighting in my office building was working.

This week Tuesday the power suddenly disappeared just after lunchtime. Lights went off, aircon off, network down, phones down...followed by lights on (being the emergency light obviously). As we have teams in 2 towers, I found out that the other tower was out of electricity as well.... and looking out of the window a very big area was without power.

Cause...a power station, being the major power station of Jakarta went on fire. A bit of background info can be found here at the website of The Jakarta Post.

I was expecting some form of communication or so from the building management. Just as well I didn't hold my breath..... Around 3hours later, finally some messages over the PA system....announcing that there was a power breakdown :) As we had not noticed yet....nothing about when things will get fixed.

Coming in the office the next day...situation was still the same. Although, 1 tower had more power. Air-conditioning was working on one part of the office as were the electricity plugs. The other side of the building was just....darkness.

On my tower..still lights only, some air-con and some plugs were working. So my schedule is...few hours in one office...then a few hours in the other to recharge laptop and then back to other floor.

Apparently the black outs will last for nearly a week till PLN fixes the powerstation.

Let's see

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Piracy Party?

Having lived around the corner of China, there was always an attention for pirated and copied stuff.

Though in the last years Hong Kong has cleared the streets from pirated dvd's, music cd's and software. It is still available, however way less than say 3-4 years ago. The same counts for any other branded product.

Just returning from a holiday trip we needed to pop out to the shops from some basic things. Now in the same complex are lots of small shops housed. I walked past it the last few times, but decided to check some of them out.

Within a few meters of eachother there are like 3 cd/dvd shops located with crazy collections of old and new movies, classic and filmhouse, sitcoms covering US, Korea, Japan and Hong Kong.

People openly shop for the latest editions to their collections to kill their sunday afternoon. After the choices are made you hand them over to the shop assistent, who willingly puts them in a player. Just to make sure you are happy with the quality of the dvd and to assure it is a working version. Prices are 1/2 a USD for 1 DVD!

I missed the latest Harry Potter in the cinema's.....however they adviced me not to buy they quality was bad.

It is interesting to see the whole world falling over China and Hong Kong about pirated stuff where as in other south east asian countries the business is thriving as well. And....if I am right the movies here are cheaper and possibly better quality. And..shops run openly.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Lebaran Exodus

Lebaran Exodus
Originally uploaded by Marcel_Ekkel
This years ramadan is coming to its end...and traditionally people go back to their hometowns to visit their family.

As Jakarta is host to many from around the country, it results in a mass exodus. Many companies have a mass leave policy to allow their staff to return home. In some cases companies sponsor buses for their staff.

As a result flights, buses, trains are booked way in advance. Jakarta seems to go into hybernation mode for at least a week.

Traffic has eased off already in the last week.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Jakarta EarthQuake

Since I am popping in and out of Jakarta, lots of adventures are drawn to there as well.

In July there was the bombings of the hotels, then police force hunting down major terrorists (news died down on that one) and today something else.... an earth quake.

I just went down to get a decent fresh coffee at one of the bakeries in the building. Luckily I brought a thermos mug over from Hong Kong. When coming back up to the 21st floor, gave a cappuccino to one of my colleagues and sat down whilst enjoying a sip of fresh coffee.

Around 15:00hrs local time, I do feel some movement in the building. For me thats nothing of concern, as that happens every now and then. Especially at high floors (I am at 21st). However, this one was different. It kept on going, and the intensity was getting higher as well.

Colleagues came out of small meeting rooms wondering what was going on. I looked at other buildings and saw the windows making strange waves as well. In the meantime the floor started moving more and more (nope no booz at that time of the day). When I looked out again and saw debris coming down... I made the call. Its enough...abandon ship!

So I packed my bag (i.e. put my laptop and mobile phone in there, the rest is there anyway) and announced that it was time to leave the place. So the whole team left for the emergency exit to take the walk down. 21 floors takes some time. Interestingly people were walking down calm and orderly. No chaos, panic or other stupid stuff was taking place here. Everyone was walking down calmly.

Whilst we were walking down, the building kept on swaying. I did keep an eye and ear open for any abnormalities. Read: is the whole building coming down or not. Fortunately no noise or sight of debris, dust or other things that would sound like trouble.

Outside, silly enough many people kept on standing close to the building. I wasn't able to spot any major damage to the building....being good news!

Outside we made our way to the front of the building. A little bit further away, to make it more difficult to be hit by dropping debris in case of more aftershocks. There didn't seem to be any fear amongst the locals. Obviously phonelines were blocked, so my only chance of keeping my wife in the loop was by sms.

When looking around, I figured that the biggest opportunity for accidents now was going to be hit by a car. Traffic, which is always horrendous in Jakarta, kept on running and people were all over the place around roads.

After around an hour, we made our way back up to the 21st floor...trying to find the guy who had the office key :). Fortunately he didn't leave as many others did. While we are setting up to continue the day.... the announcement came in that the goverment gave a 30min warning for aftershocks.

That was it for me...enough for the day. I told everyone to evacuate our office again, take computers etc and make their way out to see them next morning. After checking all rooms, we closed the office and left.

Leaving was easier said then done. Many people had the same idea. Traffic was absolutely horrendous. Credit to my driver who made it to my apartment in 1:15hrs only (normal time 20-25mins).

Take a look below on some observations, just after the evacuation and how it looked like from the 21st floor again.

Lets see what happens with any aftershocks!

More details can be found here as well