Jakarta Customs - (Dec blog #1)
Sitting in my car driving to the venue for Day 3 of my bubbleshows. I’m stuck in what Jakartians affectionately refer to as “Matchet” (traffic like marmite), wondering what to say for my first blog of this trip.
It was hectic as ever leaving the UK, with the Bubble Inc stall going off to Lincoln Victorian Christmas Market, for the first time without me, and we’ve hired a new person in the office, Deborah, who is helping putting up all the new items on our website! These include a new spinny bubble illusion and our very own party bags to accompany your kids parties! You can check them out in the online shop at
Plus,... check out this funny video clip from Wilderness this year showing our latest Bubble gadget! SMOKE BUBBLES!
But, back to Jakarta!
It’s always hard doing the first blog of a big set of shows, because the first few gigs tend to be fraught with issues and obstacles to overcome and i get writers’ block till it starts to take some shape. Generally it’s the most intensive ‘work’ of my trip. For example: they were still building the whole stage area during rehearsals and someone trod on some of my kit and broke it... whoops! Also, I should have instructed them to build the backstage area big enough to fit “Barbara” (my giant inflatable crack-a-jack roll-a-round ball); and Indonesian customs decided that my bubble solution was a good opportunity to make some money so they want to charge 24 million rupiah (£1400) to release it, claiming it doesn’t have the right documents...
Also, a bit confusingly, this client (Taman Anggrek) didn’t appoint an Event Organiser, saying they do it all in house, but as a consequence some things have not been done – no publicity, no MC, and as yet, no dedicated assistants. It seems a bit strange to me that they bring me all the way over here, and then don’t publicise my show. Isn’t the point to attract people to their venue?
Anyway, they are fixing my broken bit of kit, building a new Barbara friendly back stage area, have made the Indonesian Customs Officers a bit richer, are putting pics of my up on their giant screen, and fingers crossed they bring in a proper MC! They currently seem to be randomly choosing members of their staff in the hope that one of them will have some stage presence or undiscovered talent at talking with a microphone… no joy yet on that front! Their attempts at MC'ing are kinda sweet and funny (as well as my attempts to try and pep them up!)
And the first shows are going ok. First show is always a bit of a ‘mare – a few technical problems, but, the audience is increasing in numbers and enthusiasm, and the atmosphere is fantastic! Especially the Bubble Party - see https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152057915365295&set=a.88312825294.115572.740155294&type=1&comment_id=12261318&offset=0&total_comments=3
These shows are a lot more central in Jakarta than my previous shows, so people are a little more guarded, like you get in most cities and it takes more to get them to shout and scream. But they are warming to me, especially my attempts at speaking Bahasa (!), and I predict that before long, they’ll all be in touch with their inner bubble. Pics are on my Facebook page and hopefully on here if i can get some decent res versions!
And how is it being back in Jakarta? I love the Jakarta characters, and i have friends out here now and i do love performing here, but what takes precedence this time is my family are being flown out to join me in less than two weeks time! So not only do they get to see me perform out here, but afterwards we are staying on to take a Christmas break.
I always get asked whether I take my kids with me, and to be honest, it just never works out that way. Either the kids are in school, or I’m working every day, or something, but this time, it’s all come together! They come out for the last 3 days of my show and then we have 3 weeks on a beautiful tiny island surrounded by coral reef so beautiful that various Turtles have made it their home.