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Electrical problems in South East Asia

Shows are going really well – great feedback from the locals and the mall say that their attendance figures are way higher than they’ve been for years! Nice!!!

I did a show at a school on Friday which was fun.

Also, it’s only 2 days till my family arrive and 4 days till Will, Bubble Inc’s very own Worlds’ Tallest Bubbleologist arrive, so I’m kinda frantically trying to get everything organised for them. Then come Tuesday it’s holiday time!


In the meantime, whilst setting up my show on Sunday I checked my light table ( I do a whole ambient lit-up-bubble- art thing set to music I call “BubbleVision”).… uh-oh… it would only flash blue! It’s built to have all kinds of led light functions where you can change colours, make it flash or smoothly slide from one glorious colour to the next but this intermittent flashing wouldn’t work in my show. “Masalah” I said to Cisco (my liason).. means “problem” in Bahasa


Thankfully, I’ve learnt to carry spares over the years and I had a spare part for this, but when I changed it over, the thing still wasn’t working. It did at least eliminate most of the options and I figured it had to be the power supply – I had a look at it and could see some evidence of bubble solution inside one of the plugs.


I started off with a trip around the shops in the mall.. computer shops, electrical stores, hardware stores… none had the right kind of adaptor. Cisco bought down a couple from his office which looked the same but had different specs.. from computers he told me.

This kind of electrical specialist is not easy to find in Jakarta, and I knew it would be a bit of a mission to sort it out.


So after a bit of advice from friends on Facebook, I ended up with a couple of leads, and yesterday Cisco and I went off to find a place called Glodok to try and fix the adaptor or replace. From the moment we arrived, this was clearly going to be a bit of an adventure! There’s so many sides to Jakarta, and I generally get sheltered from most of them – nice hotel, smart venue, etc etc. It’s all kinda provided for me, but I’m much more interested to get off the beaten path when I travel, and this was certainly a lot less touristy!

It’s hard to say what the building itself actually looked like from the outside – I think it was a block, filled with narrow little walkways, and 100’s of booth style shops… a market place selling all kinds of electrical items, from speakers to fans to amplifiers to cameras and vcr’s… a hustle and bustly sort of a place which oddly smelt of cows poo. Cows poo? That can’t be right…

Wires hung loose from the ceiling and steel girders holding up the building stood cheek to jowel with the be-sandled shop owners. A blind man was guided through the labyrinth singing charismatically into a mic with a speaker round his neck and a container to receive money.

Upstairs I came across a room stuffed floor to ceiling with black market cds – their team of 4 workers had moved their desks outside and were packing the dvd’s into their sleeves with a regularity and rhythm that told me without question that these guys have packed A LOT of cd’s… the sound of it was like a machine rhythm.

It seems rare to experience the ‘black market’ happening so openly, and I was concerned that they might not like me taking a picture, but nothing could be further from the truth! They loved it and wanted pictures with me too!

We trawled around the shops there getting sent from one place to another to another, but felt we were getting closer, and indeed about an orange juice, a few blackmarket dvd’s and an hour and a half later, we eventually found it! We stumbled on this tiny place which had a proper investigation of my adaptor, calmly pronounced it D.O.A (it was proper grimy and bubbled inside!) and sold me a new one.

And it works!


Gotta dash – more bubble mix to prep