Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Life at the Green Paradise

While I’m in Banda Aceh I have a room rented for me at a residence compound called Green Paradise. I’m not sure which came first, the name of the compound or the color of the walls of the buildings. The residents of the Green Paradise seem to be all members of various NGO’s providing services to the area. The room is reserved for my three month stay so when I’m out on a multi-day field trip I can leave things in the room and not have to check out, a big benefit. 

It’s very nice but not luxurious by any stretch. The rooms are fairly spartan but adequate. I have an air conditioner and a TV with about 15 channels including BBC Worldwide for news, a couple of movie channels, and at least one sports channel. The bed is made everyday and the towel changed. One benefit is that any clothing left in the laundry hamper is taken away, washed, ironed, and returned 2 days later with no charge. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with all of the laundry detergent I brought with me!!

Each morning there’s a simple, serve yourself breakfast, which is also included in the room charge. They have cereal, toast, fruit and a varied selection of things to put on the toast plus instant coffee. In the evening if you wish they’ll deliver a simple Indonesian meal to your room at 8:00pm for about $2.50. I haven’t tried this yet but will soon.

In the center of the compound is a small lap pool for anyone who needs some exercise – not me, of course!! I’ve only seen one person in the pool so we must be a fit lot. They also have wifi internet access. The connectivity at the desk in my room was very poor but I’ve discovered if I rig a temporary desk back near the washroom I get an adequate connection for Skype.

Speaking of Skype, my “old” account seems to be giving me problems so I’ve created a new one called “roger.frederick.palmer” that works well.

All in all the accommodation is much better than I expected. It will certainly suffice for my assignment here in Banda Aceh. Believe me it doesn’t quite live up to the image conjured up by the name but it will do just fine.

p.s. We had a long meeting today that included Pizza Hut for lunch. It wasn’t too bad and the Indonesians seemed to really enjoy it. It came with packages of sambal, a red-hot sauce, which added a nice kick. Sarmad doen't eat cheese so he ordered one small pizza for himself with all the toppings but no cheese. When it arrived he had loads of cheese and no toppings!! 

p.p.s. I haven’t met anyone here yet who isn’t thrilled that “W” is gone and the Obama presidency has begun.

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