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Indonesia Guide

2006-11-24 20:43:00

Indonesia Guide
Jakarta Indonesia Southeast Asia
Write Rudy.

Rudy a man living presently in Bandung has been my answer to all questions, my guide here in Indonesia. I have been paying him between 5-15 Dollars US per day to help me find parts for backpacks. I pay him for what he accomplishes or does, and not per day.

Rudy is unique in many ways, and a great guide, however not in the normal ways. He is a guide to anything, not just what I ask.

Yesterday, we were drinking the coffee here in the Djody Restaurant, in the Jaksa Street area of Jakarta. There is a free breakfast included in the 55,000 price of the room.

I finally said,
- This is the worst coffee, I have ever had. -
He says,
- It is not coffee. -
- You know popcorn. -
I said,
- Yes. -
- It is burned corn. -

I suppose we could have gone into a long conversation about coffee, however we continued on a long conversation about backpack parts.

Somehow, they take burned corn and use it to make a substance that looks like coffee, add some sugar and maybe you are fooled. It tasted like burned popcorn to me, more of a tea, than coffee.

Small things, there are millions of little annoying questions I have, nothing to do with a volcano, nothing to do with the spectacular tourist attraction. However, everything to do with Indonesia.

Rudy was explaining to me the differences between Bali where he lived for a few years and Jakarta. He was born and raised in Jakarta, however moved to Bali, has been on his own traveling around Indonesia for the last 10 years of his life working in various types of business from being a guide to a bartender.

I talk to enough guides to know, they are worthless in 90 percent of the cases. Their only attribute of value is they may speak English; this is what is needed normally to get a job as a guide.

However, Rudy by accident has learned about his country, he is also curious about many things, speak English extremely well, I was laughing as I tested him.

What is the name of the area where we are in here in Jakarta, can you spell it?
- J A K S A -
Jaksa Street.

Spelling is a test of fluency, for a kid who learned English in the streets, this is remarkable, and he is truly on the Streets of Indonesia Renaissance Man.

He knows a panoramic view, the movie documentary of the country view, he is very different. Normally a person grows up in the small village, goes to the city, works, lives and dies in the place. They never travel farther away than the nearest big city. They have a SNAPSHOT view of their country.

It is common that a person in a developing country has never traveled as far as to visit the next village. Rudy appears to have been on both end, the middle and in all areas of the culture.

He is 28, and in the transition time of his life, between being a boy and the middle age spread of becoming a man. He has woman and a child, he needs to support, the son is one and a half years old.

I read this book called - Smart People, - it was explaining many types of person that we have in our lives. Like the person that can always get tickets to the game, when nobody else can. A person that knows, somebody, who knows somebody, that gets it done.

I would say, Rudy is a - Smart People, - a person that could get it done when nobody else can.

I remarked to him, and commented, that the biggest problem to import-export in any country is you cannot find a person who is honest. The people around you in developing countries spend 24/7, 24 hours per day, 7 days a week trying to find a way to manipulate or maneuver the situation. They are so intent on earning money, they do not care about me or you, or anything. It is the culture of the world. Tell the person anything to get money.

I trust Rudy a lot, I kept finding myself trusting and doing things with him that I never do with any person in these countries. It is annoying, I cannot normally give money to a person and have them go buy, bring, or give me a service. I can if I am willing to pay five times the correct price. However, to pay the Indonesia price, is very difficult. I was able with Rudy to give him 30-40 US Dollars and he gave me my change back. I by the end was not even counting it, I was trusting a person in one of these underdeveloped countries, this is rare.

He is not perfect, I think he works for appreciation more than money, this is nice. I appreciated his help, hope he finds a way to use his skills to good advantage to have more money than he needs to survive.

Many rich people or naïve people have or find these people. My friend talks about his Taxi driver in Peru who helped him. It is common; a good taxi driver is worth his weight in gold. Tourists have some cling-on people that help them accomplish task. Simple task, going to the tourist attractions. The question is always, how much money they are paying for this good service.

95 percent of the time, the taxi driver is working the person, taking 5-10 times the normal price for everything. Yes, he helps and makes life easy, but for an exorbitant price. This is not what a person wants in a guide, they want the transparency, the person should not be making a commission on your every move, they should tell you the real price. Help you to get good deals for you, not for them, Rudy helped me to buy correct.

Rudy was explaining to me how they get paid commissions, how one city would like Jogyarkarta would pay a commission always if you brought the person and then maybe in another city in Indonesia, they would not.

I do not know, of course Rudy is normal, he normally has to work on commissions. However, he stopped with me, I never felt like he was trying to run ahead of me and get a commission. I know he thought this way, because he knew it was the normal way. I kept paying him for helping, and he slowly stopped thinking about commissions. I would say, do not think you need to run ahead and get a commission; I am going to pay for what you do, and not try to cheat you. I gave him money one time and he says what this is for, I said I like to pay for value, you give me value, and I give you money. This is a problem to me in the world, people do not want to pay for what they got, and they want to see how they can get too much for nothing. Alternatively, to pay half the price of the true value, it is very common in backpackers to beat up the vendors to a level of ridiculous, knowing often the person needs the money and taking advantage of weakness.

I was able to just pay him a fair price for fair value. I was sort of writing this to give Rudy some help, as a favor, hoping he could get some guide help. The more I type, the more I realize how much I appreciated to meet a person in one of the underdeveloped countries that wanted to help me, not just take my money.

I have become jaded; I have a person in the street say something and I think,
- What do you want? -

An old Islamic man returning from last night prayer raised his hands to me, than extended his hand to shake mine. I feel honored that he wanted to shake my hand and say welcome. I shook his hand, worried will he do the same as the Thai man last week and pull me somewhere. I believe to extend the hand to shake is a sign of peace, and I should always shake hands back, I must respond with peace.

The old man, shook my hand, bowed his head, and proceeded into the Wartel or neighborhood. I was happy I am not so jaded, that I will no longer try to be the Indiana boy I am.

Rudy is a good person, if you want answers to all you question; want to have a person around that can find out all the answers. Tell you information that you would never know otherwise, write a guidebook, make a documentary, import-export, be a tourist that actually learns about Indonesia, than Rudy would be a good guy.

How much to pay him, I am not sure. I would guess 150,000 per day or about 15 US is fair. Then pay for all his expenses and food.

Rudy has an email address, can easily meet anyone in Jakarta, as he is just outside the city, Bandung is like a commuter trip from Jakarta. A person could have him clear the path from Jakarta to wherever and life would be wonderful. Note… I told him to take off the black shirt and put on a Hawaiian Shirt, brighten up the colors and be the mister Indonesia Bright and happy. He is young, I do not think he understood, he has met too many young surfer types, takers, and does not have a complete grip on the middle class Australian or American, or German, however like I said, in the transition of leaving the boy and becoming a man.


bambooflairs @

Thank You Rudy, hope life is good.

Note wandering around a country, looking and working many jobs, qualifies him to be something of a Hobo…

Rudy the Hobo an answer man, in Indonesia.

Indonesia Guide