March 19, 2009

Indonesia = tea nation?

I once had a Philipino colleague, and every time we went out for lunch, she always ordered Coke or Pepsi, while the rest of us ordered "teh tawar" (sugarless tea) or "es teh manis" (sweet ice tea).

She never could get used to the idea of washing down a meal with tea, while in Indonesia it is a common thing. The tea is not served in small tea cups, they are usually served in tall glasses/mugs.

I guess you can say that tea in Indonesia is like softdrink to Americans.

There are many ready-to-drink (RTD) tea products. The major one is Tehbotol, from the Indonesian company Sosro. It is also the first bottled tea in the market. Actually, the name "Tehbotol" literally translates into bottled tea. Their slogan is : "Apapun makanannya, minumnya Tehbotol Sosro", meaning "Whatever your meal is, your drink is Tehbotol"....which actually sums up pretty nicely how Indonesians view tea in general as part of their meal. However, this is usually when dining outside. When at home, water is still the main drink.

RTD teas in Indonesia is dominated by black teas. Recently, many of the black tea manufacturers also launch green tea versions and flavoured tea.

Even Coca-Cola capitalizes on this by manufacturing Frestea. I don't think they sell this brand anywhere else in the world.

Besides different types and brands, the manufacturers of RTD tea also give consumers the choice to choose from different packaging formats : you have the glass bottle version (RGB), tetra pack (carton), PET (plastic), can and cup. you think it's justifiable to say that Indonesia is a "tea nation"?

Note : I always thought of Tehbotol as being black tea, but after writing this entry, I read in their website, that actually Tehbotol is made of green tea. Does anyone have any info?

March 15, 2009

Watching movies

As part of my plan to save money for my Europe vacation, I haven't gone to the movies in months. But I just couldn't say no when a friend suggested that we watched "Confessions of a Shopaholic". It is one of those chick flicks best watched with your (also single) buddies.

In Jakarta, there are 2 major movie theater chains :
- 21 Cineplex
21 Cineplex has been around for many years. It has branches all over Indonesia.
Blitzmegaplex is a new comer, first opening in Bandung in 2006 and then opened in Jakarta in 2007.

Both of them have their own selling points: It is almost certain a 21 theatre is located somewhere near you & tickets at 21 are way cheaper, but Blitz has a wider choice of movies.

Indie movies and world cinemas are often shown at Blitz, while 21 usually only shows Hollywood blockbuster movies. For example, the acclaimed "Slumdog millionaire" was available at Blitz (until today, it is still showing) but it didn't hit 21 theatres at all.

Overall, going to the movies is not really expensive in Indonesia. However, if you're like me, when every penny counts because Euro is getting more expensive by the second, there is always the other option :
patiently wait a few weeks and then buy the movie on DVD, pirated of course...just Rp.70.000 (around 6 USD) you can get 10 DVDs+1 free. :)

March 9, 2009

Sometimes it's hard being an Indonesian

I've just noticed that it has been 3 weeks since my last post. As usual, my excuse is that work has been hectic. But I've also been using the little free time I have getting all the documents ready for my Schengen visa application (I'm planning to go to Europe for a 2-week-holiday this May).

Being a diplomat's daughter, I've never applied for a visa myself. It has always been taken care of by the foreign affairs department.

But now that I'm holding a green passport (an Indonesian diplomat passport is black), I have to go through the whole visa process, and it just hit me how complicated the whole thing is! It's not just a "fill in an application form & wait" process.

What surprised me (you can really tell I'm a newbie at this!), I have to also prepare :
- Last 3 months bank statement (certified by the bank)
- Proof that I have already booked a flight
- Proof I have a place to stay (which means I have to book a hotel already)
- Proof I have bought travel insurance
- Recent photograph (white background, 3.5 cm x 4.5 cm, 70% of the photo is your face)
- Proof that I have paid the service charge at Standard Chartered bank (yes, it has to be Standard Chartered)
and a few other ID documents...

And all this, while it's not even 100% certain I'd get the visa!

My friend told me that besides of the terrorist issue, for us singletons, we're also a bit disadvantaged because they think that once we arrive in Europe, we'll try to get a job...or even try to find a bule and get married (!) in order to stay.

This really makes me's as if all Indonesians are living here by force and we'd all jump if the chance comes to live abroad.

On the other hand, I can't blame them entirely. Indonesians tend to worship anything that even has a hint of being "foreign".

That is why I was really happy to read in the newspaper that at this year's Java Jazz festival, before the beginning of each show, the national anthem was played. Just a small reminder that we should be proud of being an Indonesian, we should love Indonesia. If we don't, then who else will?

I hope this post is not too serious. I just needed to get it off my chest. My next posts will be back to the light topics that will (hopefully) make you fall in love with Indonesia ;)

Btw, Doain gue dapet visanya dongggg ! :(
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