How to know if you stayed in Indonesia too long

Sometimes we feel that we stuck (at least I had such feeling ;)) – maybe in the same job position, in the same surrounding. All the time going to same places, eating same food, doing same things and etc. And we don’t realize when it becomes routine.

When we are traveling and stay in one place longer, we see how we start to adapt to surrounding, do things which locals do (even if in our country it wasn’t common) and somehow it’s starts to look like routine as well ;).

So what are the signs showing that you are staying in Indonesia too long?

And maybe it’s time to consider moving somewhere else or at least changing something?

  • You are driving motorbike like Indonesian: don’t show anymore turns; start to drive when traffic-light still red; not wearing helmet (at least for the short distance); on your motorbike take big amount of stuff (or big ones) or at least on motorbike already sit with 3 people; driving with slippers and dressed fully (even if outside so hot); when you are passenger, you don’t hold your hands in the back.
  • When you meet a person in a street or in front of his home – you don’t get out of motorbike, you just shout to that person what you want to say (usually even without turning off the engine).
  • You are crossing a busy street using your right arm to “stop” the traffic and go through.
  • You don’t searching ”clean” or “aesthetic” places to eat but eat in small street “warungs” where sanitary condition not the best.
  • Start to eat almost the same food – “nasi”, “sayur”, “ayam”, “tahu”,“tempe”, “nasi goreng”, “gado gado” and “soto”. As well can’t imagine food without “sambal”.
  • You wash your hands after finishing the meal instead of before.
  • You have your own rice cooker.
  • You sleep soundly through the first call of prayer at 4:30 am.
  • Indonesians no more asks pictures with you (they recognize by your behavior, attitude that you are staying already in Indonesia longer).
  • You start do things in Indonesian style (wearing sarong, eating with hands…)
  • When you meet foreigners you start to speak with them in bahasa Indonesia, at least use some Indonesian words in English sentences or in your native language sentences.
  • You start to use expression “yah” (“yes”) almost in every sentence (“Makasih, yah?” – “Thank you, yah”?).
  • You start to use question “apa” (“what”?) more often.
  • Start to be late to the meetings at least 30 min.-1 hour.
  • Even if it’s looks that you are doing something, most of the time you do nothing.
  • Start to be a bit lazy to travel, find new places for activities, eating.
  • You start to smoke or if you are smoker, start to smoke more.
  • When you have possibility – you move to a cheaper living place even if there condition a bit worse than in previous place.
  • In Indonesia nothing surprise you anymore.
  • Start to ask yourself maybe it’s time to go home (or at least somewhere else).

After almost 2 years of staying in Indonesia, I already have almost half of these signs. So it seems I need to “work” on it harder and stay here longer.

 

And here is Tomas (from Belgium) thoughts how to know if you live in Indonesia for too long:

  • at dinner, you automatically grab for a spoon first, then for a fork and you don’t even think about a knife.
  • upon hearing the words “sakitnya tuh di sini” (“feels hurt in here”), you pump your first against your chest.
  • you think car taxis are for pussies and you prefer an “ojek” (motorbike taxi) or at the very least a “becak” (bicycle taxi).
  • you feel deeply unnerved when you haven’t had rice for a day.
  • you hardly notice the “Hellooooo mister!”, “Bule! Bule!” or “Mau ke mana?” (“Where to go?”) anymore.
  • a stop at “Indomaret” is an integral part of your evening routine.
  • you think it’s outrageous to pay more than a euro for a haircut.
  • you sometimes involuntarily shout “Allah Ou Akbar” (“Allah the great”) or “LURUS! LURUS!” (“straight, straight”) in your sleep.
  • you feel more natural in a squatting position than on a toilet seat (but you still use toilet paper, because there are limits to your adaptability).
  • you think it’s perfectly fine to eat noodles for breakfast.
  • you wonder how the rest of the world survives without “Beng Beng”. Or “Es jeruk”. Or “Tempeh”, “Pop Mie”, “Roti bakar”. Or…
  • you can scoop up “sambal” with a spoon as if it were ice cream.
  • it upsets you if the gasoline price rises.
  • you don’t count sheep when you can’t sleep, you count geckos.
  • you’ve stopped using the letters ‘v’ and ‘f’ altogether and have replaced them with a ‘p’. You wonder how you’ll ever order a “kopi” in Europe again without being ridiculed.
  • you can only vaguely recall the taste of cheese and you don’t even remember that there is such a thing as wine.
  • you think it’s perfectly fine to put cheese on top of milk shakes, pancakes and fruit salads.
  • you know that the last two points are not contradictory.
  • you think it’s perfectly fine to drink from a plastic bag.
  • you can easily distinguish between the different rings and tic-tocs from the passing street sellers and know perfectly well which ones sell “bakso”, “siomay”, ice cream or bread.
  • upon seeing a white face, you have to refrain yourself from shouting “BULE!!” out loud.
When you living in Indonesia too long
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SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

  • Which signs show you that you stay in Indonesia already too long?
  • Do you think you could stay in Indonesia longer than only couple of months?
  • If you lived abroad for a while, which signs there can show that you already staying in that country too long?

 

 

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Vaccinations for Indonesia

You can find many information what kind of vaccinations for Indonesia you may need, if you are planning to come to here for longer time (or shorter). But the risks to health whilst traveling will vary between individuals and many issues need to be taken into account, e.g. activities in Indonesia, length of stay, in which part of Indonesia you will stay and general health of the traveler. As well maybe some of the vaccines you already got in the childhood?

It’s recommended that you consult with your general practitioner or practice nurse 6-8 weeks in advance of travel. They will assess your particular health risks before recommending vaccines and /or antimalarial tablets. This is also a good opportunity to discuss important travel health issues including safe food and water, accidents, sun exposure and insect bites. Many of the problems experienced by travelers can’t be prevented by vaccinations and other preventive measures need to be taken.

My suggestion:

    • First of all check in your medical report which vaccines you got in the childhood and for how long it valid (or ask your parents)
    • Second, talk with the doctor, give as much as possible information – where exactly you will stay in Indonesia, for how long, what are your plans for traveling around.

The doctor will recommend vaccines and you can choose which one you really need. Don’t make too many vaccines just because of safety. Many things will depend on you, for example where you will eat, how you will take care of your hygiene, how you prevent yourself from mosquitoes and etc.

Before coming to Indonesia I made such vaccines:

      • Hepatitis A (I manage to make only 2 before coming and after all I found out that I didn’t need this one at all, like I got it in childhood)
      • Hepatitis B (I made 2 before coming to Indonesia and 3rd in Indonesia)
      • Tetanus-diphtheria
      • Typhoid

 

Which vaccines to make suggest some internet sources (you can find and other recommendations)
  • Courses or boosters usually advised: Diphtheria; Hepatitis A; Tetanus; Typhoid.
  • Other vaccines to consider: Cholera; Hepatitis B; Japanese Encephalitis; Rabies.
  • Yellow fever vaccination certificate required for travelers over 9 months of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.

Notes on the diseases mentioned above:

  • Cholera: spread through consumption of contaminated water and food. More common during floods and after natural disasters, in areas with very poor sanitation and lack of clean drinking water. It would be unusual for travelers to contract cholera if they take basic precautions with food and water and maintain a good standard of hygiene.
  • Diphtheria: spread person to person through respiratory droplets. Risk is higher if mixing with locals in poor, overcrowded living conditions.
  • Hepatitis A: spread through consuming contaminated food and water or person to person through the faecal-oral route. Risk is higher where personal hygiene and sanitation are poor.
  • Hepatitis B: spread through infected blood and blood products, contaminated needles and medical instruments and sexual intercourse. Risk is higher for those at occupational risk, long stays or frequent travel, children (exposed through cuts and scratches) and individuals who may need, or request, surgical procedures abroad.
  • Japanese Encephalitis: spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. This mosquito breeds in rice paddies and mainly bites between dusk and dawn. Risk is higher for long stay travelers to rural areas, particularly if unable to avoid mosquito bites.
  • Rabies: spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite, scratch or lick on broken skin. Particularly dogs and related species, but also bats. Risk is higher for those going to remote areas (who may not be able to promptly access appropriate treatment in the event of a bite), long stays, those at higher risk of contact with animals and bats, and children. Even when per-exposure vaccine has been received, urgent medical advice should be sought after any animal or bat bite.
  • Tetanus: spread through contamination of cuts, burns and wounds with tetanus spores. Spores are found in soil worldwide. A total of 5 doses of tetanus vaccine are recommended for life in the UK. Boosters are usually recommended in a country or situation where the correct treatment of an injury may not be readily available.
  • Typhoid: spread mainly through consumption of contaminated food and drink. Risk is higher where access to adequate sanitation and safe water is limited.
Malaria
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease transmitted by mosquitoes. You cannot be vaccinated against malaria.
  • Malaria risk is present in most areas, except Jakarta municipality, main cities, urban areas and the main tourist resorts, throughout the year. Risk is highest in rural areas and in the five eastern provinces of East Nusa Tengarra, Maluku, North Maluku, Papua and West Papua.
  • In North Sumatra, Jambi, Bengkulu, Borneo/Kalimantan, Central, South East and North Sulawesi and West Nusa Tenggara, risk is not high enough to warrant antimalarial tablets for most travelers, however, it may be considered for certain groups who may be at higher risk e.g. longer stay in rural areas, visiting friends or relatives, those with medical conditions, immunosuppression or those without a spleen.
  • There is low to no risk in Jakarta municipality, the main cities, urban areas and the main tourist resorts, including Bali and Java.
  • Check with your doctor or nurse about suitable antimalarial tablets. Atovaquone/proguanil OR doxycycline OR mefloquine is the first choice.
  • Malaria precautions: avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin and, when necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net.
  • If you have been traveling in a malaria’s area and develop a fever seek medical attention promptly.
  • Remember malaria can develop even up to one year after exposure.
  • If traveling to high risk malaria’s areas, remote from medical facilities, carrying emergency malaria standby treatment may be considered.
Dengue Fever
A viral illness that is transmitted to humans by mosquito bites. The mosquito that spreads dengue bites during the day and is more common in urban areas. Symptoms include fever, headache, severe joint, bone and muscular pain – hence its other name “break bone fever”. There is no vaccine and prevention is through avoidance of mosquito bites. Every 5 years in Indonesia exist outbreak of Dengue fever, this year (2015) was the 5th year, so many people got it.



Some information used from internet sources.

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Tips & hacks, useful information for staying in Indonesia

Here is some more useful information for those who are planning to stay in Indonesia longer.

Mobile operators

In Indonesia you will find 4 main mobile operators (“Telkomsel”, “XL”, “Indosat”, “Smart”) with different prepaid cards – for example “Loop”, “IM3” and etc.  One of them is more expensive but covers mostly all Indonesia and you will be reachable will be hiking in volcano or camping somewhere further from civilization. Others will be cheaper but sometimes with delay SMS delivery and etc.

Before choosing the mobile operator ask yourself what you need mostly – write SMS, use internet in mobile or something else? Ask local students; people which operator they are using, like most probably they are using the cheapest one and which has good connection in the exact (their) area.

Compare some mobile operator’s prices by your requirements and then choose which one suit you best. For example in Yogyakarta, you can find many mobile operators in one place – “Jogjatronic” mall.

In Darmasiswa scholarship opening ceremony, most probably, will be one mobile operator who will suggest their SIM cards for free and will give some extra benefits. Like speaking between Darmasiswa students for free and etc. It’s nice offer – BUT! Most probably it will be one of the most expensive mobile operators. My suggestion – take that free SIM card for couple of first months and then change to that one that suits your needs (believe you can save some money:)).

When you will choose mobile operator you will need to put money to prepaid cards (“pulsa”) each time when you will finish your limits. The “pulsa” amount depends on how much you want to put to prepaid cards. Usually its fixed amount – 5 000, 10 000, 15 000, 25 000, 50 000 or 100 000 Rp. Not in all places you can put bigger amount like 50 000 or 100 000 Rp. As well the “pulsa” validation depends on mobile operator – one suggest validation of 1 month, others – to use till you will finish it (no matter if it will be even couple of months).

Internet access

Indonesia can’t proud with fastest and very good quality internet :) As well, internet not accessible everywhere. Not many houses have WI-FI, so USB internet modem can be your “best friend” during using internet.

Before choosing the internet provider, if you have possibility, borrow internet USB modem from someone (neighbors, other students) and check if it works in your place. Like different providers have different signal quality, some of them won’t work in your places, others – will be excellent quality.

You will need to put money to prepaid cards (“pulsa”) each time when you will finish your internet limits. The “pulsa” price depends which operator you will choose, how much monthly limit of GB you want to have.

You rare will find any free WI-FI spots in cities. But many cafes suggest free WI-FI access, to attract more customers (you will see that even in their sign outside first “reason” to convince you to go to their place will be written “FREE WI-FI” ;)). But main problem, that most cafes try to save money and make not proper access. If somebody will come first, he will get better quality connection and speed, than those who will come later. So you can imagine if many people at once are using WI-FI how “fast” it can be ;).

You can as well use internet in internet cafes (“warnet”). Usually 1 hour access cost 3 000-5 000 Rp. Some of the places works 24 hours, have all needed equipment like scanners, printers, headsets for “Skype” calls and etc. Some of Indonesian people go there to copy the movies from already downloaded movies folder (usually it’s English movies with Bahasa Indonesian subtitles). You can stay only 1 hour and copy more than 20 GB of newest movies :).

Mostly all universities have free WI-FI but you can log in only with students ID information.

Bank account

If you plan to stay longer in Indonesia you can easily open your Indonesian bank account. It’s useful when you are traveling, so no need to take bigger cash amount with you. As well if you are a student, you can ask to transfer you scholarship amount to account (maybe not all universities will agree, but at least you can try to ask ;)).

In Indonesia you will find private, governmental or half governmental banks. Which one to choose you can ask couple of local people or students. Most probably they will be using that bank that gives the smallest amount of fees, don’t charge for cashing money in ATM’s. As well check which bank’s ATM is nearest your living, working or studying place. Some of supermarkets “Indomaret”, “Alfamart” have ATM’s too. But not all banks and not all this brand supermarkets gives opportunity to cash the money.

If you want to open your bank account you will need your ID card or passport, visa (KITAS or another one which allows you to stay in Indonesia longer than like a tourist) and if you are student – student card.

Driving license

You must have international driving license if you plan to drive in Bali. If you don’t have – it’s matter of your negotiating skills when you will be stopped by policemen. In Bali policemen are most “hungry” to “hunting” foreigners and get some extra money.

In other places, the main thing policemen will check motorbikes technical passport (brown paper). So be sure that when you will rent motorbike to get this document and check if it’s still valid. And usually policemen don’t ask foreigners to show driving license. In worst case, just show any document (ID) from your country :).

If you want to buy motorbike you need to get as well blue bigger book – owners documents. My advice to buy motorbike in your city, in another case, you will need to go to another city to extend your documents all the time.

You can get Indonesian driving license as well. You should have permission to live in Indonesia and will need to pass theoretical and practical exams.

Laundry

Like probably at home you won’t have washing machine, at least time to time you would like to use laundry service rather that washing all blankets by hands and etc. Different places can give you different prices. For example in some places you will pay for a kilos of laundry and if you want to wash blankets, bags and similar stuff they can ask for it separately money.  Other places ask money not for kilos but for the stuff that you give – jeans, jackets and etc. and they will calculate separately each cloth.

Around your place you will see quite many laundry services, try to wash in different ones and see how quick which works, how pack washed things, working hours and then choose which one suit you best.

Important thing – sometimes you can lost your clothes in laundry or find something that not belongs for you. As well in laundry they don’t wash separately white and dark clothes – everything goes together. So after some time light close can change color. As well they use only cold water and sometimes your clothes can be damaged. Doesn’t matter which place you choose – it’s just happen time to time everywhere :).

Markets

Most of the bigger markets have morning and night working time.
In the morning best time to go there till 8:00 am. They will work till ~12:00-1:00 pm, but at such time you won’t find many options left, just couple sellers. In the morning they sell mostly food.

“Night market” in the same place usually working ~6:00-~10:00 pm. At this time you can find second hand clothes, things for motorbike and etc. They sell new things as well. Best time to come to “night market” on Saturdays, but at that time will come a lot of local people as well. Some “night markets” works separately from day market in some city areas, for example in Yogyakarta, in front of Beringharjo market is parking area (in the morning). In the evening in that parking area is “night market”.

Bathing water cleaning

Like you know (probably?) – in Indonesia mostly using cold water. Often it’s taken from borehole by automatic pump, in some places people as well use well. The water is low quality, it’s treated with chemicals (DON’T drink it from the tap).

After some time using such water with combination of sweat, dust, sun and etc. it can start irritate your skin (even influence your hair condition). Every person’s skin can react differently – can start acne, other skin problems (or maybe nothing at all ;)).

I found out that cleaning often the water trough and plastic dipper helps to prevent some skin problems.

What you should try to prevent skin problems (what I do):

  • At least couple times per week, in the evening, put “Dettol” bottles 2 filler-cap to almost empty water trough. Let the water with the cleaning liquid stay over the night. In the morning let out all water away and clean all water trough. Then give a rinse couple of times and full fill the new water.
  • Every couple of days let out all water and brushes all water trough walls. Again give a rinse couple of times and full fill the new water.
  • At least once per week, clean plastic dipper with “Dettol” like water trough, just put dipper to a bucket, to clean not only inside but outside side as well.
  • After some time using dipper buy a new one, depends on dipper condition, decide when is better to change it.

As well I’m using “Asepso” soap, to prevent skin from acne.

If you got any skin problems and cleaning bathing water doesn’t help after sometime, I suggest to visit the doctor.

Protection from “pets”

In Indonesian houses sooner or later you will see couple of frequent visiting “pets”: ants, lizards, geckos, cockroach, and maybe mice.

From lizards and geckos, you won’t probably find protection – and no need :). They are not harmful. Just time to time, maybe, you will need to clean their shit, hear them and see falling from ceilings, running through walls in any places.

Cockroach not harmful but not everyone’s feel pleasure to see them running from corner to corner, flying over your head. If you really can’t stand them, try to spry on them couple of times with spry from mosquitoes. For a moment they will be still very alive, but then you will see how poison kills them (so don’t spry too much and expect that effect will be sudden ;)).

Most harmful are ants and mice. Both of them like your food that you may leave not carefully closed. As well ants like to live I wooden parts of doors or windows.

  • First of all keep your food in bigger plastic boxes (or other type boxes, bags) closed properly.
  • Clean the dishes that contain any sweet things (ants love sugar and you will see how quick they will “attack” your cup of coffee that is even already empty).
  • Don’t keep longer that for 2 days fresh vegetables or fruits that you already cut (if you don’t have a fridge).
  • Take out often trash bin with food remains from the house.
You can buy chalk from insects and draw around places that you don’t want ants to come. After some time you need to repeat this action. If it’s doesn’t work, put the salt on the place that you see ants are coming from.

 

If mice disturb you too much and make any harm – you can buy poisons.  I tried several but only once helped. The main thing that when the mice eats this poison, after some time you even don’t feel any smell or know where mice disappeared. Just be careful taking the poison from the box, better do it with napkins or tissue, not straight with hands.

 

Hope this information will help you during your stay in Indonesia :).


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