Moved to Bekasi

Aji

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Jul 25, 2021
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Hi, I’m Singaporean and moved to the city couple years a go. Been a silent reader of this forum for years and I’m going to return home soon, so perhaps I could share something valuable for expats who just got here or still live there. It’s been a decent city with its ugly sides and some ‘okay’ factor, if you know where to put your head and feet are.
  1. I work in retail, so covid hits us hard. And with the government been changing policies lately, we rely on online stores than offlines. Luckily I live in a condo in Summarecon where there are expat neighbours live here too, so it’s nice to have friendly face to talk to. The place is private and quite, I can still ride my bike whenever I feel to.
  2. Commuting can be very stressing so choose your time and which roads you’d want to go. Remembering this can be a big different between arriving on time or 2-hours late.
  3. Pay attention to motorcycle esp. when you are driving. They tend to zigzaging their own way and it is better to steer away from them (which quite impossible because they are dominant in volume, which is why I use online ‘ojek’ or taxi).
  4. The weather can be unbearable. I turn on the AC in my condo all the time, but if I have to go outside, I choose between 8-10 AM or 4-6 PM. Else, I order everything from apps (which is plenty of options).
  5. Not so much community nor group of expats, so to have expats as your neighbour is quite nice (though I rarely see them in purpose just to have peptalk). Why I stressed this point? Because my local next-door neighbour won’t even talk to me when we share elevator. Not sure why..
  6. Food is okay, but be careful with street vendors. I had unpleasant experience where it involves 12-hours in toilet. Better to prep your food yourself and the price is so much affordable in local market.
  7. My condo is much better upgrade compare to my last apartment (where undocumented foreigners stay; if you know, you know) and if you have pets such as cat or other small animals that don’t bark all night, it’s still acceptable.
Anyone would like to add?
 

Bad_azz

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Welcome to the forum, what a thoughtful 1st post.
It would have been nice to hear from you sooner. I think it is always good to have a variety of perspectives on life over here. Good luck with the move home.
 

Bad_azz

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Hi, ...
  1. Food is okay, but be careful with street vendors. I had unpleasant experience where it involves 12-hours in toilet. Better to prep your food yourself and the price is so much affordable in local market.
  2. ...
I think I can safely say most of us have experienced this.
I know for a fact that I have twice been bedridden by something equally horrifying, I however didn't quite make it to the bathroom.
My tip for when the guts are rolling- lay old towels on the bed ;) just in case.
 

harryopal

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Over the years I have known a number of people who have had enduring health problems trying foods throughout Asia. (Of course food poisoning is not unknown in developed western countries)
Touch wood - raps skull with knuckles - thus far I have not had any seriously bad experiences. As a vegetarian I suspect that street chicken, meats and fish are often kept without refrigeration and are much more prone to develop bacteria. If I were to drink it would be tea with boiled water.
 

Aji

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Welcome to the forum, what a thoughtful 1st post.
It would have been nice to hear from you sooner. I think it is always good to have a variety of perspectives on life over here. Good luck with the move home.
Thank you, I’m not much of a writer, so anxiety takes over whenever I think I want share something on the internet. Hearing this from you actually took my nervousness away. Really appreciate it..
 

Bad_azz

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Thank you, I’m not much of a writer, so anxiety takes over whenever I think I want share something on the internet. Hearing this from you actually took my nervousness away. Really appreciate it..
But you wrote so well, with lots of information, you really have no need to be anxious in here, most of us are nice people... there maybe one or two grumps but they don't bite, I look forward to reading more of your posts :)

Actually the other similar forum was where I first posted anything publicly, I was anxious as hell - and then I seemed to get over it once I got going ... haha, I never seem to stop nowadays
 
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Helpful Herbert

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Very useful insight on life in Bekasi.

On point 3, I heard someone describe motorbikes as fish in the sea. Whichever way you go, they will adjust and swim round you. As long as you don't make any sudden movements (change direction, brakes) they will adapt to whatever you do. Also the drivers are mostly young and have good reaction times in case you do something unpredictable.
 

Aji

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Jul 25, 2021
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I think I can safely say most of us have experienced this.
I know for a fact that I have twice been bedridden by something equally horrifying, I however didn't quite make it to the bathroom.
My tip for when the guts are rolling- lay old towels on the bed ;) just in case.
Sad to hear that and it is typically happened to unsuspecting foreigners where the case sometimes the food is offered to you by the locals and you feel like you’ll hurt their feelings if you said ’no’ (at least that’s what happen with me)..

Another tips:
  1. If you want to enjoy local cuisine, make yourself ready what comes next (best would be to prepare medicine at your house), or
  2. learn how to say ‘no‘ (unlike me) to any offerings if you feel you don’t want to. Eventually they’ll know which food to offer based on your habit.
 

Bad_azz

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Sad to hear that and it is typically happened to unsuspecting foreigners where the case sometimes the food is offered to you by the locals and you feel like you’ll hurt their feelings if you said ’no’ (at least that’s what happen with me)..

Another tips:
  1. If you want to enjoy local cuisine, make yourself ready what comes next (best would be to prepare medicine at your house), or
  2. learn how to say ‘no‘ (unlike me) to any offerings if you feel you don’t want to. Eventually they’ll know which food to offer based on your habit.
I don't think it always comes from the food either.
Water/ice and unwashed hands are often dodgy too.
 

Aji

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Very useful insight on life in Bekasi.

On point 3, I heard someone describe motorbikes as fish in the sea. Whichever way you go, they will adjust and swim round you. As long as you don't make any sudden movements (change direction, brakes) they will adapt to whatever you do. Also the drivers are mostly young and have good reaction times in case you do something unpredictable.
This is correct, yes. But even a school of fish may bump into your way and don’t bother to roll over your window and scream at them (most cases they would have gone anyway without you noticing)..
 

IndoTom

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Food is okay, but be careful with street vendors. I had unpleasant experience where it involves 12-hours in toilet. Better to prep your food yourself and the price is so much affordable in local market.
After a few cases of local food poisoning I think you become immune. Like a vaccine, it takes 2 shots! :) Does anyone have an oppinion on this?
 

Helpful Herbert

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Being a local is like having Pfizer (occasional breakthrough infections but most of the time OK). Being a long term expat is like having Astra Zeneca. Being a short-term expat is like having Sinovac. And being a tourist who has never been here before and gets off the plane before sitting down in the nearest warung and ordering anything that looks good (like I did in 2004 on my first visit here) is like being unvaccinated and you might end up in hospital!
 

Bad_azz

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Being a local is like having Pfizer (occasional breakthrough infections but most of the time OK). Being a long term expat is like having Astra Zeneca. Being a short-term expat is like having Sinovac. And being a tourist who has never been here before and gets off the plane before sitting down in the nearest warung and ordering anything that looks good (like I did in 2004 on my first visit here) is like being unvaccinated and you might end up in hospital!
You just reminded me of a panicked call I got from a new expat one night - a young family hubby wife & baby...
I was at a gig, hubby's band were playing, my phone went- the hubby calling for assistance as his wife was in a critical state.
Of course being my lovely self I dashed off from the gig, with my bro in law, and helped them get her into hospital & stabilised.
I think they left the country soon after that, if not & are reading the forum it would be lovely to hear from them again.
 

Banana72

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Hi, I’m Singaporean and moved to the city couple years a go. Been a silent reader of this forum for years and I’m going to return home soon, so perhaps I could share something valuable for expats who just got here or still live there. It’s been a decent city with its ugly sides and some ‘okay’ factor, if you know where to put your head and feet are.
  1. I work in retail, so covid hits us hard. And with the government been changing policies lately, we rely on online stores than offlines. Luckily I live in a condo in Summarecon where there are expat neighbours live here too, so it’s nice to have friendly face to talk to. The place is private and quite, I can still ride my bike whenever I feel to.
  2. Commuting can be very stressing so choose your time and which roads you’d want to go. Remembering this can be a big different between arriving on time or 2-hours late.
  3. Pay attention to motorcycle esp. when you are driving. They tend to zigzaging their own way and it is better to steer away from them (which quite impossible because they are dominant in volume, which is why I use online ‘ojek’ or taxi).
  4. The weather can be unbearable. I turn on the AC in my condo all the time, but if I have to go outside, I choose between 8-10 AM or 4-6 PM. Else, I order everything from apps (which is plenty of options).
  5. Not so much community nor group of expats, so to have expats as your neighbour is quite nice (though I rarely see them in purpose just to have peptalk). Why I stressed this point? Because my local next-door neighbour won’t even talk to me when we share elevator. Not sure why..
  6. Food is okay, but be careful with street vendors. I had unpleasant experience where it involves 12-hours in toilet. Better to prep your food yourself and the price is so much affordable in local market.
  7. My condo is much better upgrade compare to my last apartment (where undocumented foreigners stay; if you know, you know) and if you have pets such as cat or other small animals that don’t bark all night, it’s still acceptable.
Anyone would like to add?
Been here 10 years now and I can say I am accustomed to Jakarta's hot weather. Actually if you can handle the humidity, the heat is not too bad vs hottest temp in the US. I also visited Singapore quite often in the past, personally although the air is cleaner there, many parts of the city I feel the air seems 'dead' like no breeze at all (like walking on Orchard Rd, etc), just my personal experience. Don't get me wrong though...still can't wait to get back there when things open up..I love the place!

My stomach is more immune than first year I got here for sure...but I still stay away from actual street vendors, although I've bought sweet beancurd pudding from a street seller who walks by my house quite a bit..and never had any problems, but I use bowls from inside...key is for me, no salads/uncooked stuff from street vendors (gado gado, ketoprak, etc).

I don't know about expats in other countries, but in my experience of many years living here, most expats keep to themselves too...I'd say in some cases even expats from one country stick with another country, expats with family, sticking with other expats with family, etc. Could be many reasons from Jakarta is a big city, so it is quite a hassle to meet up sometimes. I live in North and most (other) expats I think live way out there in the South...Bekasi also is pretty out there, far from Jakarta. I've actually met up with a guy who sold me his hydrometer...thought we had something in common (making wine) and enjoy wine too...(and he lived pretty close by)...after getting the 'I'm busy probably next time' a couple times, I figured he wasn't interested. Two other occasions I've actually tried connecting with other expats (one was even introduced to me when I was in pdx)...got connected via facebook, etc and always got the 'sorry haven't forgotten about you..we're just not settled in yet'...and we actually never got to meet until she and the husband left to be transferred to another country after a couple years.

In your case...maybe you just met locals who don't speak good English, so they're not confident in speaking with you. Culturally (Jakarta vs where I used to live, pdx) i think the difference is...people that I know here, usually hang out mostly if they have some kind of business purpose...and don't really talk to strangers..unlike in the US (my city) you can just strike up a conversation with a stranger at a bar.

I've actually met a couple people from this forum...Puspa is one of the friendliest and hospitable expats I've known (and met BA too!!). Samantha is another one, although she doesn't visit this forum that much anymore. Met up a couple Indonesians too from the old forum.
 
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Bad_azz

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I've actually met a couple people from this forum...Puspa is one of the friendliest and hospitable expats I've known (and met BA too!!). Samantha is another one, although she doesn't visit this forum that much anymore. Met up a couple Indonesians too from the old forum.
Damn my memory sucks balls it really does- when did we meet... I am so so sorry for forgetting. shame on me :eek:

(in my defence I have met tens of thousands of people here)
 

HappyMan

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The only time I regularly hung out with expats was when I was still working at English First, 10 years ago. It was an easy thing to follow a group of mates to the bar from work and just bullshit until bedtime. Once I got married, the wife wasn't up for listening to a bunch of people who work together talk about work in a foreign language (she's fluent, just not into chatting).

When I stopped teaching at EF, I more or less stopped seeing other expats. Calling up people and arranging an evening was a mission in a way that heading to the bar after work wasn't. Point of all this being that if you feel the need to see other foreign faces and are not particularly sociable (like me), then the OP's idea about finding a place with expat neighbors is good advice.
 
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Banana72

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Damn my memory sucks balls it really does- when did we meet... I am so so sorry for forgetting. shame on me :eek:

(in my defence I have met tens of thousands of people here)
Easy to forget it was a few years ago....at Puspa's house (gamelan party).
 

Bad_azz

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Easy to forget it was a few years ago....at Puspa's house (gamelan party).
Oooh yeah I do remember now, I was trying to think of some sort of meet up in a cafe somewhere. lol, my brain is all over the place.
 

melvintee

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Hi, I’m Singaporean and moved to the city couple years a go. Been a silent reader of this forum for years and I’m going to return home soon, so perhaps I could share something valuable for expats who just got here or still live there. It’s been a decent city with its ugly sides and some ‘okay’ factor, if you know where to put your head and feet are.
  1. I work in retail, so covid hits us hard. And with the government been changing policies lately, we rely on online stores than offlines. Luckily I live in a condo in Summarecon where there are expat neighbours live here too, so it’s nice to have friendly face to talk to. The place is private and quite, I can still ride my bike whenever I feel to.
  2. Commuting can be very stressing so choose your time and which roads you’d want to go. Remembering this can be a big different between arriving on time or 2-hours late.
  3. Pay attention to motorcycle esp. when you are driving. They tend to zigzaging their own way and it is better to steer away from them (which quite impossible because they are dominant in volume, which is why I use online ‘ojek’ or taxi).
  4. The weather can be unbearable. I turn on the AC in my condo all the time, but if I have to go outside, I choose between 8-10 AM or 4-6 PM. Else, I order everything from apps (which is plenty of options).
  5. Not so much community nor group of expats, so to have expats as your neighbour is quite nice (though I rarely see them in purpose just to have peptalk). Why I stressed this point? Because my local next-door neighbour won’t even talk to me when we share elevator. Not sure why..
  6. Food is okay, but be careful with street vendors. I had unpleasant experience where it involves 12-hours in toilet. Better to prep your food yourself and the price is so much affordable in local market.
  7. My condo is much better upgrade compare to my last apartment (where undocumented foreigners stay; if you know, you know) and if you have pets such as cat or other small animals that don’t bark all night, it’s still acceptable.
Anyone would like to add?
Hi Aji, nice to see a fellow singaporean posting here. I have been here since 2012, settled down with my indonesian wife and we have 2 beautiful daughters. I enjoy my life in Indo much more than in Singapore but the situation with how the government is handling this pandemic is keeping me on the edge of my seat. If things continue to go downhill, we may return to Singapore but there are many things to consider if we do go back.

Sorry, didn't mean to hijack your thread! Just wanted to say hi!
 

William King

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Sumeracon is nice. Is Bandar Djakarta still open? I love that resto.
 

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