Dial that beeper number / and call the packet man

First post­ed in August 2009, but hav­ing come across it again, I’ve re-worked out why I moved to Bangkok. You for­get these things. This sort of mind-wrench used to hap­pen all the time. I loved large parts of Indone­sia — and still do — but the dai­ly frus­tra­tions real­ly grind at you.

Sit­ting in a cafe on Sat­ur­day and the cell­phone goes:


Hal­lo, Bapak Simon, ada paket (there is, or I have, a pack­et) (in a worked up way)

I reply:

Apa? Sia­pa ini? (what, who is this?)

He replies:

Ada paket (loud­er)

I reply:

Ada paket? Untuk saya? Dari? (what pack­et? For me? From?)

He replies:

Ada paket, ada paket, ada paket, ada paket (get­ting increas­ing­ly loud­er until he screams it)

He then hangs up.

I call the num­ber back.

I say who it is — in Indone­sian — he hangs up. I do this again. He hangs up.

The next day the phone goes again and a voice speaks — in Bali­nese I think, not Indone­sian (or maybe some sort of street mix) — very very quickly.

Pelan pelan says I (slow­ly.….)

Ada paket, ada paket, ada paket, ada paket he screams, increas­ing­ly agi­tat­ed, then hangs up

The next morn­ing my phone goes again. It’s a nice woman from Tiki, the couri­er company.

Mis­ter Simon, we have a pack­et for you but the dri­ver could not find you.

Ahhh, the dri­ver. Clear­ly, they don’t impart com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills or phone eti­quette at Tiki Central.

Please come to our office in Den­pasar, it is in Jalan Kapten Rebub. You must bring ID. You can not have it with­out ID. It is a hardy.

A hardy?

So, lat­er, I check their web­site and, yes, it is list­ed as being in Jalan Kapten Rebub — num­ber one in fact. Easy. I look at the map: no such street. I look on google maps: no such street. I do a search on google and yep, here is a busi­ness marked as being on this street but at num­ber 5, and, yep you can clear­ly see it on the map, so I print out the map and head off.

The busi­ness in ques­tion is Den­pasar Tourism. Jalan Kapten Rebub, num­ber 5 — although on Google maps the street is with­out name.

Three hours lat­er, hav­ing gone around in increas­ing­ly con­vo­lut­ed cir­cles — in a one-way sys­tem that after all these years of nav­i­gat­ing it, still beg­gars dis­be­lief & the appli­ca­tion of log­ic — and hav­ing tried to ring their office — no answer — I find Tiki, in a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent­ly named street. I find it by exclud­ing all oth­er streets in the square kilo­me­tre one by one.

It’s the last street left unexplored.

I park, and wan­der in, to ask for Ibu Hen­ny. Cus­tomer ser­vice, says the man in the rather grimy smoke filled (with plen­ti­ful no smok­ing signs) front office, and points towards a bunch of tan­gled bam­boo scaffolding.


You must climb over it mis­ter. We are build­ing a new cus­tomer ser­vice office.

No — sure­ly there is anoth­er way? Oh yes, go out­side and use the new door down the side. I do this — and dis­cov­er a one-metre high hole smashed in the brick wall which I need to crawl through (easy if you are a small­ish Indone­sian, not so user-friend­ly if you hap­pen to be a six foot one age­ing expat).

So, I crawl through to find Ibu Hen­ny. This is not Jalan Kapten Rebub I say. Yes I know, it was long time before, says the young lady, hand­ing me my paket (a new hard dri­ve I’d ordered a week ear­li­er — the ‘hardy’).

After I’d crawled back out I realised that she for­got to ask for my ID.

1 Comment

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

August 20, 2009 at 7:09 am

Hilar­i­ous. Thanks for sharing!

Leave a reply