Thursday, March 30, 2006
So here we were in Jakarta, fresh off the plane without a clue or a place to live, and then we met this guy Chris who set us up with a house and a job.
Well, not quite. The house is still a work in progress. But I do have a job! A real job with benefits and a work permit and, like, a salary! I'll be editing at the Jakarta Post, basically smoothing out articles written in English by Indonesians. Their reporters are quite good, I think (having read the Post online for months now), and it should be fun to work with them.
Also, this takes the pressure off the freelancing: I'll still have some time to do my own stuff, but I only have to do the stories I really want to do ... without worrying about paying the rent.
Chris is a fellow reporter we met at the Foreign Correspondents' Club. We went over to look at his rental house, which he and his wife and two kids are moving out of. Once we'd seen his place, Chris said "Let's look at some other ones too!" so we jumped in his car and went all over his neighborhood, Pejompangan (which is fun to say - a major side benefit, in my opinion). He speaks Indonesian, so he just asked everybody where there were rental houses available. We saw quite a few, from the depressing to the fabulous, most of them within our desired range of 200-300 dollars a month.
On the way back, I asked whether he knew about any jobs, and that's when he passed on the tip about the Post.
There are people around Jakarta known as Fixers. They're the ones who set you up with a visa or get you permission to run a business or otherwise smooth the way for whatever you're trying to do. Chris doesn't list Fixer on his card, or Real Estate Agent for that matter, but I think he should consider adding them. Whatever his day job, he has certainly been our Fixer, and I am grateful.
(p.s. Pardon the 9/11-related pic - not trying to be melodramatic here, it's just far and away the best picture I can find of the Post.)