Wednesday, June 28, 2006

From Singapore to Vietnam

We arrived in Singapore on the 24th of June...WOW, what an amazing place. Such a difference from Jakarta. We unfortunately do not have the luxury of free internet access and things in Singapore are really very expensive. We stumbled across a cheap internet cafe in "Little India" and we thought we'd update the blog quickly. We'll upload pics of Singapore once we have settled in HCM. HCM = Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam that is!

We are flying to HCM on Saturday the 1st of July and the plan is to stay there for two months. But, as Marc will tell you it's a bit like the Amazing Race so we're not quite sure where we'll actually end up.

Marc is really enjoying his new job and is very excited about the adventure....and as you can imagine, so am I. So much to see and do...and I'm sure there'll be a lot of exciting things ahead.

Watch this space for more updates from the Far East.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Braai at Greg and Kirsten's House

The evenings hosts - Greg and Kirsten

Maxine and I wearing Kirsten's beautiful golden tassels (serviette holders)

Mike and Maxine

Mike and Wayne - "Not sure what they doing"!

Enjoying a night cap around the bar

After an awesome dinner (steak, chicken, patatoe bake, salad and Tiramisu) and of course the great company

Kirsten, Phillipa, Maxine and I with big "Cosmopolitan" smiles. Kirsten makes a mean Cosmo...

The boys around the braai enjoying a couple of Anchor beers

Friday, June 09, 2006

Satu Lagi (means: One More) Bar

We had a farewell drink with Jason before he heads off to Lagos - Nigeria.

Marc's visit to Freeport

We visit the Freeport mine site in west papua an extreme destination.The worlds largest gold mine with USD 25 mill a day in revenue
An extreme operation in any every sense, the mine pit is situated at 4000m above sea level.
The mine towns are situated at about 2500 meters and we needed to take a cable car to reach the pit and processing area.

The mine is also a natural and environmental disaster the rivers have been pumped full of tailing's which run grey in colour. The security is extreme.
The Indonesian army is contracted to protect the site and we had to got through about ten army checks.

The local pupuans have the worst deal they mine the river illegally but they have to sell to the army the army in turn is supplying them with the equipment to pan the river. The army controls the illegal operations buying the gold in exchange for money, food, alcohol and cell phones . Two years ago when the the mine was looking to bring in a private security firm the army instigated an attack on a bus in which a US teacher was killed .

The are several tribes that live in the valley the mine provides them with a clinic. ( managed by SOS)
We had to be careful because these tribes still have small wars using stones and bows and arrows. On Tuesday the mine sponsored 60 pigs to be slaughtered as peace festival??? Which resulted in a few tribesman exchanging arrows and spears, in this part of the world a pig is more valuable than your wife. The SA doctor in the village had is hand's full removing arrows and patching up the local headhunters.
The tribes generally leave the SOS doctors alone but that's not stop them drinking to much local brew or smoking mountain cabbage and running amuck in the town.

The gold is then piped in the form of a concentrate from the top of the mountain to the coast which is about 100 miles away. We had to catch a ferry to the clinic which situated at the processing plant near the port. We had to be on the look out for crocodiles. ( sea going monsters) We didn't see any and I presume the army would probably kill any if the came across any crocs.

A view of the mountains of west Papua.

Jason and I at 4249 meters above sea level.

A view of the largest gold mine in the world. There is a link to the Freeport website on the blog, should you be interested to find out more about the mine.

This is how the local tribes women carry their babies around. Yes, there is a baby in the Satchel.

Posing with local tribesman; notice the traditional weapons that the "headhunters" are carrying.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Marc and Adele

The Market in Menteng

We went to Jakarta's famous flea market in Menteng on JI Surabaya. It has woodcarvings, funiture, brassware, jewellery, oddities like old typewriters, cameras etc.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Marc's visit to KPC mine in Singata

Some photo's from Marc's trip to KPC mine which is the largest coal mine in the world that produces 30 million tons of coal a year. They flew from Jakarta to Balikpapan, a small village on the island of Kalimantan and from there they flew to Singata with a 20 seater casa aircraft. Apparently an experience and they had to wear ear plugs because the flight was so noicy.

The view from the casa aircraft flying over Borneo.

Marc and Wayne standing on a 380 ton coal truck during their site visit.