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J a v a J i v e :: Paradise is not all that it seems
a boy leaves everything he knows for the tropical island of java, Indonesia - soon to find that paradise is not all that it seems...

January 30, 2004  

. .
. . . n e w . . j i v e . . .

Ok kids. I broke down and finally provided a few links to posts that seem to represent this place in all it's splendor. You can find them on the right side of the screen, above the "archives", titled "j i v e".

I know most people don't feel like wading through my mindless babbling, and with the current state of the world's ADHD needs growing, I thought maybe I'd keep your attention for more than the 10 seconds it takes to realize this isn't a site about coffee or the caribbean.


posted by Brandon | 12:17 AM

January 27, 2004  

. .
. . . c a r i b b e a n . . v s . . c a r r i b e a n . . .

The good news: Well thanks to google I now have three times more traffic on this website.

The bad news: My new visitors can't spell and are all here for the wrong reason.

If you don't believe me, try this... go to google images. Type in "carribean" (spelled incorrectly), and the first image you'll get is this picture of a tropical island. This island has absolutely nothing to do with my website, and neither does the Caribbean.

So am I to be happy that more people are hopelessly lost and still reaching my site, or perturbed that my site is being read by hundreds of people searching for information on the Caribbean only to find some guy ranting about Java, Bali, and Indonesia?

I've decided to welcome my new visitors! You guys have the wrong hemisphere but you'd enjoy Bali more than the Caribbean anyway - plus the women are much hotter!

Now if I can only figure out how that guy got to my site by typing in "asians with dirty feet"!

posted by Brandon | 11:54 PM

January 21, 2004  

. .
. . . s t a t e . . o f . . t h e . . u n i o n . . .

I guess once again, both of my "homes" are in the world's spotlight. President Bush had the courtesy of naming them in Tuesday's State of the Union Address. We made the top of the list apparently by order of threat.

"Our greatest responsibility is the active defense of the American people. Twenty-eight months have passed since September the 11th, 2001 - over two years without an attack on American soil - and it is tempting to believe that the danger is behind us. That hope is understandable, comforting - and false. The killing has continued in Bali, Jakarta, Casablanca, Riyadh, Mombassa, Jerusalem, Istanbul and Baghdad. The terrorists continue to plot against America and the civilized world. And by our will and courage, this danger will be defeated."

This doesn't really do much for Indonesia's tourist industry I suppose. And we wonder why Americans aren't always "liked" in Indonesia.

posted by Brandon | 1:13 AM

January 19, 2004  

. .
. . . v o l u n t e e r . . h i t . . a n d . . r u n . . .

Ok, so get this. In Indonesia, if a person is driving down the road, obeying every law, they can still go to jail or get sued for everything you are worth – even if they did nothing wrong.

Why is this possible? Because, in typical fashion, there’s a law that makes no sense to an expat. If I’m driving down the street, minding my own business, and a guy walks out in front of me, drives his motorcycle into me, or pulls out in front of me, and we collide – I’d be at fault – even if he did it on purpose. That means that there is the very real chance that a guy with no cash could look to make 5 years salary by running out in front of my car. It happens here.

Tonight on the way home from the gym, it almost happened. I was cruising along, at like 30 mph, and some jackass on a motorcycle pulls right out in front of me. Luckily I avoided him, but nonetheless, it got me thinking. I’ve heard horror stories of how if you kill a man (even if he ran out in front of you), you are responsible for paying his family for the potential income that he would have provided for the rest of his life. (50 years salary?). Seems fair huh?

I know I tend to bitch about some issues like this, but man, at times, it just finally gets to me. I know there’s nothing the average Indonesian can do to mend the situation, and 99% of people here are not manipulative, but the fact remains that it is a reality. Someone has to voice their opinion about it.

There are tons of laws in America that don’t make sense, and some that are absolutely retarded. I love hearing foreigner’s opinions of Americans, and generally don’t take offense. I know that Americans can at times be rude, insensitive to other cultures, and downright oblivious to life outside of the States. Americans are often shielded from the reality of the world, and our only glimpse at hardship comes from our big screen televisions tuned into CNN. We have equally disturbing problems, and are far from an ideal culture.

At times it’s important to hear other opinions and to reflect upon the truth. I would hope that my writing does not convey only the negative aspects of living in Indonesia. That was never my intention for starting java jive. I do, however, feel that there’s way too much bullshit writing out there that reads like a travel guide, never touching on the “true” Indonesia. My opinion varies day to day, and often I’m simply more compelled to write if something bothers me. 4 out of 5 days, things are fine here, and I love experiencing life in such a wonderful place – but often it’s that one day that I actually sit down to vent about my frustrations – and that ends up on here.

I appreciate the recent feedback written by Indonesians living either here or abroad. Generally I think they also feel as though, even if they don’t agree with what I say, they respect my thoughts. I thank you guys for being patient, and trying to understand how a ‘bule’ feels at times. I will try to make some future posts touch upon those other 4 day on a more positive note.

posted by Brandon | 4:40 PM

January 14, 2004  

. .
. . . t h e . . l a s t . . s a m u r a i . . .

Have you seen that flick? I saw it last night – sorry, but everything takes a bit longer to reach Indonesia.

What an awesome movie! I was surprised to see Tom Cruise take up this role, but in the end I think he did a much better job than I would have predicted. Maybe I’m a sucker for these “male pride/honor comes first/wish I was there” type movies (Gladiator, Braveheart), but it really was well done. The main opposing character, Ken Watanabe, was fantastic I thought, and the fight scenes choreographed well without being overly lengthy. It’s a nice break from the techno crazed Matrix themes that seem to run through every action movie lately.

I’ve realized that I absolutely suck at linking to other sites, and I especially suck at not linking back to all the people that have been kind enough to put this site as a link on their own websites. I will make note of this when I finish my new website. I’m trying to decide if I should simply forward this blog to the new site, or create a whole new weblog. Any opinions are welcome.

The rainy season is in full force now here on Java . . . good thing I drive an SUV. In the States I would never have bought a car like this – I’m actually addicted to sports cars (and no it’s not in compensation for other things – heheh). I love driving fast, hitting an apex on a tight corner, or just taking the top off and cruising through backroads.

In Indonesia, there are NO convertibles, no sports cars, and nothing exciting to me. I have a background in automotive design, so yeah, I’m a bit picky I suppose. Actually, I take that back – there are some sports cars, but their only at the dealer showrooms. No one is actually insane enough to drive their Ferrari on these streets. As for a lack of convertibles, I can understand why people wouldn’t find them practical in this city of choking pollution, but once you’re an hour outside of Jakarta, the sun breaks though and the scenes of rice fields are breathtaking. It would be much more immersive if I had a Harley or a convertible, but then again, I’d be a perfect target for the supposed “Al Qaeda cells in training” here in Indonesia. (check it out here)

On the terrorism front, I still have tons of people asking me if I’m afraid of living here, if I fear for my safety, or if I avoid the “westernized” locations. Hell no! I’m pretty much the polar opposite of that. I chill in Starbucks, grab burgers from Wendy’s, wear blatant American clothing, put the window down and give people the finger when they cut me off while I’m driving, and venture down to Planet Hollywood or HardRock Café (how many people have you seen wearing “HardRock Jakarta” t-shirts? Not quite like Chicago or London).

I’m sure that one of these days some local anti-American group is going to take offense, but in the meantime, I can’t quit living. If I live here in fear, then why live here at all?

U.S. Embassy
Jakarta, Indonesia
Warden Message
December 5, 2003

The Embassy reminds all Americans in Indonesia of the increased volatility of the security environment during the holiday season. On Christmas Eve 2000 there were a series of bombings and attempted bombings at churches throughout Indonesia. The potential for additional bombings of places where Americans and Westerners are known to live, congregate, shop, or visit, especially hotels, clubs, restaurants, shopping centers, housing compounds, transportation systems, places of worship, schools, or outdoor recreation events is particularly high during the weeks around Christmas through the New Year.

. . .

Cheers to you American Ambassador.

posted by Brandon | 5:41 PM

January 12, 2004  

. .
. . . t h e j a v a j i v e . . .

Finally, I've set up a web host, with plenty of space and a real domain name! I'm pretty pumped to start my own site - hopefully better organized, faster loading, and more complete.

If you would like to see the beginnings, check it out.


I know it's not perfect, but I am continually improving it. I hope to soon integrate this weblog, a very complete photo gallery of my travels, as well as some intriguing information that has been left out of this weblog . . . enough said.

I do have to give a lot of credit to the wonderful Irene, who has helped me immensely with setting up the site. I have donated some of the space from my hosting to her site for her terrific support. I hope you will check out what she has to say… a beautiful, feisty, and gifted Indonesian girl living in Canada. You can see her at http://www.irene.thejavajive.com

I have been away for a while, so I apologize for the lack of a current update, but I have now returned and will be updating many times a week. I appreciate the responses that I’ve received. Please don’t hesitate to write me or leave a comment – I would love to get to know some of you!

Did anyone hear about the Bali earthquake? I think many people thought it was another terrorist bomb – but luckily only Mother Nature blowing off some steam in this volatile region.

posted by Brandon | 5:42 AM
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