Thursday, April 26, 2012

Computers and printers

At the moment I have 18 refurbished Macs to distribute to needy folks.  This round I will target a local high school which has some students from low socio-economic backgrounds.  I also have collected a number of printers of various makes which needed just a tune-up and or refilled cartridges.  An online computer group which I am a member has ongoing discussions about the best printers to buy and operate, but I think I am probably up there with the range of printers I have collected and repaired over the years.  A couple of members of this group cannot go past Epson printers and their genuine inks even though they are very expensive.  Personally I have found Epson printers to be troublesome especially if not used for a couple of weeks.  I have two here at the moment which have print head problems and I am attempting to dissolve dried up ink in the print head by feeding a cleaning agent into the head through plastic tubing. 

As Forest Gump said...'That's all I have to say now!'

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A two-person reunion

Last night I visited Angela, an ex-student of mine from 27 years ago.  We have not seen each other or even talked in all that time.  We reconnected through FaceBook and it was arranged that I should visit her.   I was not disappointed and we had a good time going over careers and names of the good and bad kids at Rockingham Senior High School at the time we both were there. Of course both of us had stories about staff and students that the other had not heard before.  She told me of a couple of students that I had unpleasant times with who had made it and 'moved forward' since school.  Good news.    She, her husband and daughter live in Cottesloe and their house has un-interupted views of the Indian Ocean and is only one street from the beach.  It is on the market if you have a spare $1.6M.

Here is Angie as she is today.    Lovely!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Where did all the years go?

My neighbor Fiona knocked on the front door asking for assistance to kill a rat in a tree on her property.  I had a look at and it looked a little sick.  I came back with my air rifle and pinged it for her.  Today whilst in my workshop I heard what I imagine was a rat(s) in the ceiling area, so went out and bought some rat baits.    Don't like rats!

This evening I am going to have a meal with an ex-student of mine, Angela.  We are going to buy in some pizza and catch up on 27 years.   She was a lovely young gal then and I know she will be a lovely woman at age 48.    Where did all the years go?

A couple of Bali pics...

A minding service by a bar/restaurant inside a shopping centre.

Clever lighting in a restaurant.

Food stall in the front of a streetside restaurant.  The restaurant allowed the stall to sell to it's customers.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bali traffic

I have been a bit busy since returning home from our trip to Bali....mowing lawns, washing and cleaning etc.

Driving on a freeway yesterday I was being 'pushed' by a car to speed up over the speed limit. The driver was quite cranky and abused me when he eventually passed me at about 20k over the speed limit. I thought back to our week in Bali where in the chaos of Bali traffic not a person seemed to be angry. Neither did we see anyone get aggressive after drinking. It seemed that nothing fazed them.....a tangle of traffic with motorcycles weaving in front of taxis and trucks worked well without many rules being obvious. It would be good if Australians could be so calm when they get behind the wheel or a bottle.

In Bali the names of males come in a specific order. The first born can be Wayan, Putu or Gede. The second born can be Kadek or Made. The Third born is either Nyoman or Komang and the fourth is Ketut. After the fourth male child, the fifth starts off again with a name from the first list. Interesting Huh?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Charades and Pictionary

In our Villa the sink drain is partially blocked, so we decided to buy a plunger to clear it. The plunger was very inexpensive........about A$1.40 at Hardy's, a department store in central Sanur. We had a bit of trouble with the language and had to resort to Charades and eventually Pictionary to explain what we were after. The Charade of me washing my hands and the sink water not going down didn't work, so I did a charade asking for paper and pen and drew a plunger...Bingo!

Yesterday we hired a van and driver to do a tour. Our driver, Adi, is a good driver and a most pleasant young man with a good sense of humour. By the time we arrived back at the villa he was most proficient in some of the more common base Australianism. We enjoyed his company and gave him a generous tip.....something we are not accustomed to.

Off to market

First stop on the tour was Nusa Dua and we paid dearly for what promised to be a good small tour to Turtle Island, feeding fish and coral viewing through the glass bottom of the boat. It was a ripoff. Turtle Island has a number of turtles as you would expect, but it also has a few birds in small unkempt cages. We were told that a small donation of about R5000 was obligitory...we gave R35000 and were pressured for more. Then on to the the fish feeding where we tossed bread over the side to attract some very small fish. We thought we would see some interesting fish, but no. Then we were supposed to go coral viewing, but the boat took us back to shore. The boat tour was supposed to be a 90 minute excursion, but it as all over in about 50 minutes and to be honest, we were happy to get off.

Adi, showed us around the Nusa beachfront and the very expensive resort hotels. We had a beer at a roadside bar where I bought a couple of T shirts to keep the owner happy. No Bintang Beer T shirts for me.

Next we travelled to Ulu Watu to visit the temple on a bluff. The temple area is home to hundreds of monkeys and they are bad boys. There were, what looked like a couple of hundred tourist of many nationalities. People were warned to secure all their small property such as glasses, cameras etc. Never-the-less several people had glasses ripped off their faces and hats stolen by very fast monkeys. The retrieval of the stolen property was done by bribes and a little judicious violence. The goods were retrieved and the monkey men paid off.

We didn't stay for the Fire Dance and went for an evening meal on the beach at Jimbarin Bay. There are quite a few beachside restaurants at Jimbarin, all looking much the same. They are seafood restaurants and at this one the fish is selected by the diner and then prepared and served on the beach. It was an expensive meal for Bali and I have never paid that much for a meal before. Sanur eateries from now on!
Also, yesterday, Helen and James had another massage and other treatments done in Sanur. Helen asked what exactly the 'Ratus Vagina' item was. It was explained to Helen that it was an infusion of special smoking herbs into, yes you guessed it, the vagina which would make the female like a virgin again. Red faced Helen at that one. She didn't opt for that service.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bali Day 4

We have been doing a bit of touring and lots of eating and drinking over the last couple of days. Each time we eat at a good restaurant we declare it to be the best, but then find that the next one has taken the crown. Everything here is incredibly cheap. From the Villa to the main drag in Sanur, about three kilometres, is about 8000 - 12000 Rupiah, we give the driver R20,000 which is approximately $2.00 Australian. A great meal, beautifully presented, with a few beers costs around $10A each.

For lunch yesterday we ate at a nice restaurant and enjoyed top food and icy beers and great service. Here is my mixed Sate. Helen had the same and James enjoyed a beef dish.

In the afternoon we had a driver take us on a tour of Denpasar, which is a bustling city away from the tourist areas. We looked in on the large department store, Mata Hari. As my brother Graham says..'They have the policy!' Which means that management hires only the handsome staff of which there were many. Later in our hire car I asked the driver what sort of money those young staff would be getting. He had personal knowledge of their renumeration and told us that such an employee would expect to get the equivalent of A$150.00 per month. One can only image how much take-home pay a road worker would get.

We also visited the main museum which is a magnificent traditional building housing mainly historical dioramas for Indonesia and Bali, with a goodly bit of history about the Dutch colonials.
Some pics of the Museum.

Staircase to the tower

Later in the afternoon Helen went for a massage and James and I had a couple of refreshing ales.
Helen went for the 'Wedding' package which didn't, fortunately, include the last item on the price list....whatever that is?
The last item on the price list is Ratus Vagina!

In the evening we decided to try a small restaurant in an alley close to our Villa. The food was great and James declared his fish curry to be the best he had every experienced. Helen and I shared a huge mud crab and curried king prawns. Great! The owner is a French national, elderly and I think a bit frustrated that he couldn't start a French restaurant on the 'strip'.
Today we are off to Seminyak, about A$15 away, to visit relatives also holidaying and a teacher colleague also here. Seminyak is the 'new' area for tourists.

For people perhaps thinking of visiting Bali, first impressions often don't impress. From the airport there are many dirty and run down areas and then there is the oppressive heat, which would probably take a couple of weeks to get used to. That being said, we are enjoying the place and the people immensely.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Elephants and water

All the water in houses and hotels at least in this part of Bali is ground water from bores. High water tanks provide the pressure for the water supply. We wondered why rainwater tanks are not used anywhere and figure that there is not enough yard space to place a tank. Also, most buildings don't have rainwater gutters.

I don't know where the water bores are, but there is a small construction site near 'our' Villa and in the two metre foundation trenches there is evidence of years of local landfill. Hope there isn't a water bore near that lot!

click to enlarge

When we arrived at the Villa we were advised not to drink the tap water. In the well-equipped kitchen is a smart water fountain of the like I have not seen before. From the one dispenser one can get near boiling water for coffee, room temperature water and cold water. Not a bad piece of equipment! Probably not an energy conserving piece of gear.
An unfortunate choice of names.

Yesterday on our visit to the Safari/Elephant park we shared the van and the day with an American couple. We got along very well together and will, as so many others who meet on holidays do, keep in touch.
Helen and James at the Elephant Park. A long drive, of about 90 minutes, but well worth the trip.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Bali Day One

Well, we are in Bali and settled in to our very nice villa. The flight with JetStar was good. It was reasonable rates. There is an entertainment package for $10 which gives you an Apple iPad with a variety of entertainment of movies comedy shows and games. James went for it but I spent the 3.75 hours reading and rereading their inflight magazine.

We breezed through immigration and customs and our Hotel had a man collect us and deliver us to our villa. All good.

Here are some snaps of our Villa. The main bedroom has an interesting shower with glass walls and a view to a small outside courtyard.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


This Sunday morning we are flying into Bali airport at Denpassar. Bali is a very busy holiday destination and the Indonesian government will be trying to keep it that way because just the airport arrival and departure taxes @$US25 in and out, raise about $A275M a year. I haven't been able to determine how much the rest of the tourism industry pulls in, but it is big business.

I have started packing and whilst daughter Helen is in charge of my documents etc I have had to refer to one of Joan's previous packing lists as a reminder as to what I should pack. The list shown was for a trip we did to Singapore years ago, so I won't be packing silk shirts etc for casual Bali.

Because two thirds of this Lock family are flying on the one plane, I have left a detailed letter with my brother to take over 'if anything happens' my mother would say. Our son Martin in Melbourne would have a big job sorting out my estate, but would emerge out the other end a wealthy man. I don't want him to be wealthy just yet.

There is a white knuckle fliers' saying....'If it aint Boeing, I aint going'. I too would rather fly with the old team. The new boys on the block, Airbus, have built the largest ever passenger aircraft, but it has emerged that lots of cracks have been found in the important bits...the wings.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bali Hi

Yesterday was Joan's birthday. We were going to go to a restaurant, but I didn't feel like another sombre meal and opted out.

As it happened Helen our daughter, last night, had a very vivid dream about Joan. In the dream Joan had left me and took up with another fella. She was very svelte and had a large house with two tigers as pets. Thank goodness she didn't want tigers when she was here with me.

Years ago I had a friend who turned up to work one morning very cranky and it turned out that he had dreamed that his wife had had an affair. It took him all day and a good bit of Kev counselling to convince him that dreams are just dreams.

We are off to Bali on Sunday and it is at these times I realise how organised Joan was. She would have the air travel, hotel, car rental, customs documents, local money etc all organised and all I had to do was collect my shaving gear and a few clothes and we would be off. Never did I experience any glitches when we travelled. Sure there were a few problems not of our own making, but not of Joan's.

Yesterday I received a final letter of statement of Joan's estate. It is all finalised except for a small tax return due to a late share dividend from which I am due a small cheque from the Treasurer.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Full time teaching 2012

Daughter Helen has been doing relief teaching over the last few weeks and it has built up to about 4 days a week on average. She will now have to advise those schools that she has been appointed to a school and cannot do relief for the rest of the year.

The school she has been appointed to is about 30 minutes drive from here. The only downside to this appointment is that it is a 'difficult to staff school' and that is nothing to do with with the building. It usually means the children and/or parents, can be difficult. She is looking forward to commencing there in Term2. If she can remain there for two years, then she will join the ranks of the Permanent Officers and not sweat about getting a job each year. There is a small monetary allowance for teachers who take up appointments at those schools designated as difficult to staff.

She will be teaching Kindergarten and Pre-Primary and the class size is quite small, so it could be OK.