Blogs from Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia, Asia - page 6


Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Banda Aceh December 11th 2005

What a great weekend! What does a great weekend involve here? The same as everywhere...having coffee with friends, exploring the surroundings, shopping, spontaneous motorcycle rides and sensual head massages from transvestites in clandestine "hair salons." The best part of the weekend? The traditional Acehnese dance rehearsal we were privileged to see this morning. One of my co-workers, who used to be a member of the troupe, arranged a special performance just for me and my housemates. After the performance, I talked with the dancers and showed them some salsa moves. I am the self-appointed Ambassador of Salsa and I'm dying for it to catch on here! They were amused and perhaps a bit perplexed. ... read more
Traditional Acehnese Dance
Endless maze of market stalls around the Grand Mosque
Me and Sri (Visiting Auditor from India) at a popular coffee shop

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Banda Aceh December 9th 2005

Hi everyone,'s Saturday. It's been a long and very busy week at work. Today I plan on doing nothing more than buying some fruit, maybe scouting the stalls near the mosque for something I can use as Christmas decorations and possibly a nap. The sky is a shade of white/gray - not common for early morning, so I don't feel bad about not running off to the beach. We had an earthquake last night and I actually felt it! We've had a good handful since I arrived last month, but I haven't felt them...mainly because NYC is a great place to desensitize you to shaky ground (subway/heavy traffic) and noise (car alarms/clubs). But this quake gently rumbled and shook me in my bed for about 15-20 seconds...I was too lazy to get up and go ... read more
Map of Earthquakes for Past 3 Weeks

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Banda Aceh December 3rd 2005

My birthday (3rd of December for those who missed it!!!) was so legendary, that it warrants 2 blog entries. During the day I received the welcome phone calls from friends and family. It was really special to hear from home. Then I went to the beach with 4 local staff from work, 2 tunas ($11) and a BBQ. It was great to spend a day on the beach; I really love to swim in the sea. It was also cool to hang out with some Indonesian people, to remind me of where I was actually spending my birthday. However going to the beach was also a reason of why I was here. The area is still devastated by the tsunami. Hills stripped bare up to the water mark of the wave, People living in tents. Look ... read more
Marfikar Impossible
Lighting the BBQ

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Banda Aceh November 28th 2005

Well the first couple of weeks were relatively easy. I wasn’t being given that much to do at work. I was pretty much finding work for myself, learning Microsoft Access, to play with a prototype database they had for all their logistics data. I was enjoying the social side of things as well, hanging out with Oliver who I knew from Auckland and going to parties Sean and Remko from Sabang (Palau Weh). I went to an MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières) party one weekend, A Red Cross Party the next weekend. They were fantastic parties with heaps of interesting people (You have to be to do this sort of work!) The following week things at work got hard. My boss (Nick) was away on R&R, the other Logistics expat was in the field and I’d been ... read more
Me and Syafrin

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Banda Aceh November 14th 2005

OK, this is where I feel a little guilty, and really lucky. Once I officially got the job, I moved into one of the NGO houses. For someone who had spent the last month backpacking around Sumatra, living in some fairly grotty accommodation just having space to call my own was luxury. But it was far more than just that. I am sharing the house with an older Peruvian doctor called Atilio. He’s great, we’re already planning the first party! There’s a DVD player, Satellite TV, Stereo, Fully equipped kitchen. Everything provided! Every house has its own driver, to take us where we want to go; plus a cleaner who comes in during the week. It’s been a while since I’ve had someone clean my room! I feel kinda like I don’t deserve all this, I ... read more
My Car
The Living Room

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Banda Aceh November 2nd 2005

The following day I got in touch with Red Cross to see when I could start, and what I could do to help, but unfortunately bureaucracy got the better of me. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent had an arrangement with the local Red Cross, which meant that they couldn't accept any volunteers. Arse. The guy from the Red Cross said he'd look into other possibilities for me, but basically I was back to the drawing board. It's probably at this point I should talk about Hari Raya (or Idul Fitri in Arabic). This happens at the end of Ramadan (the fasting month) and is like a 3 day long Christmas. Of course in my infinite planning, I'd managed to turn up in Banda Aceh right before Hari Raya. and now everything was ... read more
Parade on the Move

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Banda Aceh November 1st 2005

OK, this is where things get REALLY interesting. My primary reason for coming to Aceh was to find some volunteer relief work to help people who were affected by the tsunami. It has been quite an adventure. I will be putting daily updates to cover everything, if you're still interested! After getting off my flight from KL, I easily enough caught an overnight bus to Banda Aceh. Arriving in Banda Aceh was one of most challenging parts of my trip so far. The section in the Lonely Planet or Aceh is rather concise, plus I really wanted to find some volunteer work. After finding my basic bearings and some very basic accommodation, I went for a walk around the city. The part of the city that I'd arrived in, and that I was staying weren't heavily ... read more
Boat on a Building
Tennis Centre

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