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)
Apa? Siapa ini? (what, who is this?)
Ada paket (louder)
Ada paket? Untuk saya? Dari? (what packet? For me? From?)
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.
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.