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can we get a sit rep from people in the area?

by teru kuwayama at 2004-12-29 04:09:37 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Also if anyone knows what access is like into Aceh province. I’ve heard the gov is only allowing Jakarta-based journalists into the area while foreigners not based there have to go through a 2 week application process.


by Frazer | 29 Dec 2004 04:12 | | Report spam→
on my way down there, will post more when i have seen it for real.

re: aceh access – i can let you know in a couple of days i hope. have a meeting at the Indo embassy in Singapore on friday morning to see what the situation is.

“Ive heard the gov is only allowing Jakarta-based journalists into the area while foreigners not based there have to go through a 2 week application process.”

where did you hear that Frazer?

by [former member] | 29 Dec 2004 05:12 (ed. Dec 29 2004) | | Report spam→
Anyone have any info on Sri Lanka? Charlie- check your email, I have a question for you…..

by [former member] | 29 Dec 2004 10:12 | | Report spam→
Stephanie Sinclair is on the way, think Joseph K. is already there.

by teru kuwayama | 29 Dec 2004 10:12 | | Report spam→
by the way, just checked out thr regional BGAN Website, it looks like indonesia is out of their range- but last I heard they were trying to expand their coverage area…anyone know if it will work there? What are the options to transmit?

by [former member] | 29 Dec 2004 10:12 | | Report spam→
I had thought it’s all out of range. am I wrong — Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand are off the grid too, no?

by teru kuwayama | 29 Dec 2004 12:12 | | Report spam→
Thanks Charles.

There was an article in the Jakarta Post yesterday and a brief mention on the washington times website.. http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20041228-072721-9590r.htm

although I think the situation is changing fast and need to confirm.


by Frazer | 29 Dec 2004 14:12 | | Report spam→
Just got off the phone with the Indonesian consulate in Canada – you have to apply for business visa before arrival – no visa on landing for journalists. They couldn’t confirm how long it will take to get a pass to Aceh once you’re in the country – they expect it wouldn’t be that long…

by Frazer | 29 Dec 2004 15:12 (ed. Dec 29 2004) | | Report spam→
Re: R-BGan coverage — here’s that official coverage map:


keywords: rbgan, r-bgan, inmarsat, satphone, satellite, coverage

by Shinji Kuwayama | 29 Dec 2004 15:12 | | Report spam→
Thanks much Frazer, good to know and i will sort it out in Sing.

by [former member] | 29 Dec 2004 16:12 (ed. Dec 29 2004) | | Report spam→
Just arrived in Phuket. Indo embassy in Singapore didn’t seem to be a problem at all. I filled in the paperwork and they said my 2 week visa for Aceh would be ready just after the NY, in a couple of days time. 2 weeks is the max apparently.

Bumped into Ben Lowy at Phuket airport, he seemed to think that you could even turn up and be issued a visa at Banda Aceh on arrival.

So that seems to be the situation right now, will let you know whether the visa is ready as promised when I arrive back in Sing.



by [former member] | 31 Dec 2004 03:12 | | Report spam→
Hi guys. Been in Phuket for four days now. Feel free to call my mobile. +66 (0) 48435889

by [former member] | 31 Dec 2004 05:12 (ed. Dec 31 2004) | | Report spam→
ok, looks like BGAN works in India and Sri Lanka, at least according to the map on their website. anyone know if accessories can be gotten anywhere in the area — I’m heading out in a day or two, but my power cables are pretty chewed up.

by teru kuwayama | 31 Dec 2004 06:12 | | Report spam→
The latest from the Indonesian Embassy is that you can now fly into Jakarta without a j-visa, just bring a letter from your agency/pub and call either Ms. Irzani Ratni 62-81-808237508 or Mr. Marvin A. Arpan, ph. 62-81-29984887 on arrival. Once you register with the dept. of foreign affairs you should be good to go.

by Frazer | 31 Dec 2004 11:12 (ed. Jan 1 2005) | | Report spam→
Visa possible on arrival at Medan ($25). Get journalist visa immediatly on arrival at immigration office; I got it without presenting my credentials, just three passport photos and a photocopy od passport.

by [former member] | 02 Jan 2005 21:01 | | Report spam→
right on, good copy boys.

at the airport in singapore, see you all out there somewhere. stay safe.

by teru kuwayama | 03 Jan 2005 16:01 | | Report spam→
good to hear you caught a flite out, teru. best to everyone out there.

by Eugene Kuo | 03 Jan 2005 17:01 | | Report spam→
Visa on arrival, just don’t don’t say. No RBgan but thuraya works well, as do Nera’s. And just found an internet cafe….

by [former member] | 05 Jan 2005 07:01 | | Report spam→
Is anybody still on the ground in Aceh? And what is the latest sitrep? I will be headed there in the next couple of days arriving monday to Jakarta and just wanted to get a little feedback before I arrive. Thanks.

by [former member] | 06 Jan 2005 10:01 (ed. Jan 6 2005) | | Report spam→
J, this link will show you all Lightstalkers currently in Indonesia:


Remember to update your Location fields, everyone!

by Shinji Kuwayama | 06 Jan 2005 12:01 (ed. Jan 6 2005) | | Report spam→
hi all. I’m in sri lanka now. anyone over here?

by teru kuwayama | 06 Jan 2005 18:01 | | Report spam→
To all working in Indonesia,

I received an email from the media person at Mercy Corps, the American-based relief organization. It has offered to provide assistance to journalists wishing to covering clean up and recovery efforts in Aceh. The media contact in Indonesia is Cassandra Nelson, who arrives on Tuesday, January 11th and can be reached through the Jakarta office at +62 21 719 4948. Her international mobile number is: +92 300 855 5646. Due to phone traffic in the region, SMS may be a more reliable way to make contact. Ms. Nelson, who will be traveling to Aceh by the end of the week, is available for interviews and has broadcast-quality video equipment and digital still photo capabilities.

The organization is very helpful in disaster situations. It assisted me in the late 1990s in Afghanistan.

Good luck, Scott

by [former member] | 10 Jan 2005 07:01 | | Report spam→
Hello all, I’ve put up a Quicktime slideshow of how the tsunami affected Thailand. I have tentative plans to return to China on Wednesday, so if anyone is heading here, again feel free to call me or email me at nching@yahoo.com My Thai mobile is +66 (0) 4843 5889. Below is the link.



by [former member] | 10 Jan 2005 11:01 (ed. Jan 13 2005) | | Report spam→
what up. Im back in thailand. 078 341 419.

there are US Jmilitary flights to banda aceh, from Utapao air base, near pattaya. public affairs officer Lt. Sil 038 244 620.

the hang up with going in military is that you have to come out with the military, since you will not be processed by immigrations when leaving thailand or entering indonesia, and will essentially be an extra legal alien in Indonesia.

so who’s in indonesia currently?

for sri lanka have some recommendations:

for transmitting: mac technologies at Liberty Plaza (second floor), is fast, cheap, and you can plug in your own computer.

for car/driver: 2688688 in columbo, charges by km

columbo: Lt eric tausch 077 695 4926
galle: capt danny chung 077 695 4216

by teru kuwayama | 12 Jan 2005 00:01 (ed. Jan 12 2005) | | Report spam→
I am still here in Banda…

Internet cafes are opening back up and I have been transmitting from one for about a week now….by the way, Thuraya’s do work here very well, but not BGAN’s.

by [former member] | 12 Jan 2005 03:01 | | Report spam→
I wish I knew abou those flights 12 hours prior…. but thanks for info. P.S. Teru, I was flipping through the Dec. issue of Esquire at the Bangkok airport and saw a profile of you… what up with that?

by [former member] | 12 Jan 2005 06:01 (ed. Jan 13 2005) | | Report spam→
hey, anyone know someone who is shooting video here in Banda?

by [former member] | 12 Jan 2005 19:01 | | Report spam→

What, exactly, are you looking for in terms of video in Banda? I know Asiaworks, the Bangkok and Jakarta-based production company, is there along with some videojournalist such as the woman from Mercy Corps I mentioned in an earlier post. I’m sure other Singapore-based production companies are there as well. I would be very happy to give you more details but I need a better idea of what you’re interested in.

Cheers, Scott

by [former member] | 12 Jan 2005 20:01 | | Report spam→
I’m traveling with Chris Corder from AOL. If you want to reach you can call my thai mobile. he’s doing stills, sound, and video.
Our flight out of Utapao this morning got snafu’d as usual, going to try again tonight. the military flights have been very unreliable, the only think you can count on is a lot of waiting. Scott, where are you staying in Banda Aceh? Nelson, I’m not sure about Esquire, I’m still waiting for People to give me the “sexiest man alive” nod.

by teru kuwayama | 13 Jan 2005 00:01 | | Report spam→

I am staying at house the the paper I’m working with hooked up- I think now that the people who fled are starting to return you can find more places to rent, and the prices are still pretty good (might want to hurry though, you know how these things go once people know what NGO’s and major press orgs will pay…). I hear they may be re-opening a hotel too, but I’ll bet those rooms get rented in a hurry. Most people seem to have found “decent” digs though around town.

By the way man, Esquire already has been interviewing me for the “Sexiest man alive”…sorry—- maybe next year for you.

by [former member] | 13 Jan 2005 03:01 | | Report spam→
back in thailand.

for anyone going in, I would advise to avoid military transport, getting in and out of countries. it has been a major hassle all the way.

by teru kuwayama | 20 Jan 2005 21:01 | | Report spam→
on the visa/lack of visa issue for coming in and out of the tsunami countries —
Shaul Schwarz just came back into thailand from sri lanka on a commercial flight (we went in together with US military), both thai and sri lankan immigration seemed not to notice or care too much about the missing exit/entry stamps.

in addition to thurayas, you can also use GSM phones in banda aceh at least…local sim cards can be bought there.

one last note, be careful about keeping yourself clean and protected. I met a photographer on the USS BHR who had managed to cut herself, and get very badly infected by the completely toxic muddy water. also, a few relief workers have apparently died, or had amputations, after getting wounds infected from handling dead bodies.

by teru kuwayama | 23 Jan 2005 05:01 | bangkok, Thailand | | Report spam→
The tsunami tour continues…I’m in the Maldives…heading heading out tonight, going back to banda aceh. I’ll be in Singapore from monday morning till tuesday morning. If anyone has a recommendation for a good part of town to stay in, hit me. Also, I need to pick up a portable hard drive — any recommendations on a good place for electronics/computer gear? I should slso be back in Sri Lanka in a week’s time as well, so if anyone has new word on there, hook me up.

by teru kuwayama | 12 Feb 2005 21:02 | Male, Maldives | | Report spam→

For lodging in Singapore, I recommend The Gallery Hotel at 75 Robertson Quay (+65 6849 8686 or gallery@galleryhotel.com.sg). It’s a nice, hip hotel with good room service and a very cool roof-top pool. Located on the river, it’s within walking distance of the central parts of the city and some very good restaurants. There’s a nice cafe called Books Cafe across the street that serves good breakfast.

Within a 15 minute walk from the hotel is Funan IT Mall, which is a multi-level indoor mall and the best place to buy electronics and computer equipment in Asia. There are a couple of Apple stores, numerous PC shops and a very good photographic supply shop called John 3:16. There’s a hard drive dealer on the third level (sorry I can’t remember the name) who has great prices on Hitachi drives and will install them in any kind of firewire case you desire, while you wait.

If you’re in the mood to bargain for electronics, head to Sim Lim Tower. I don’t recommend it for computer stuff because the sources seem a bit dubious. Another interesting place is Mustafa Centre in Little India, which is open 23 hours a day. These places are great to check out.

Good luck and feel free to email me directly if you’d like more suggestions on food or other info.

by [former member] | 13 Feb 2005 08:02 | New York City, United States | | Report spam→
Heya, Scott, thanks a lot for the info.
Will check out the hard drive dealer…although, now that I serve the dark lord, I have no firewire ports. hopefully your man has something with USB 2.0

I’m staying at the Meritus Negara, off Orchard Rd.
(65) 67370811, rm 1614…I’ve lost my notebook on a plane somewhere, so Singapore peeps who want to check in for papercrab and tiger beer, give a shout.

thanks again.

by teru kuwayama | 13 Feb 2005 19:02 | Male, Maldives | | Report spam→
PS — anyone have recent experience with visas on arrival at medan?

by teru kuwayama | 13 Feb 2005 22:02 | singapore, Singapore | | Report spam→
30 day Visa on arrival is as simple as US$25 and a form (maybe a photo). There’ll probably be a time when they get official on you for Aceh access, so you’ll probably want to get the little blue book (a form and 2 or 3 pictures) which is a work permit- doesn’t cost anything and I wasn’t required to show credentials. The office for that is located in the same arrivals room that issues the basic visa on arrival. If Marvin is around, he can issue you a local press pass, if not you should be able to get his number from the work permit office.

by [former member] | 13 Feb 2005 23:02 | Phnom Penh, Cambodia | | Report spam→
James is right — I had been hearing that the much anticipated clampdown was underway, and getting into aceh might start getting difficult — but as of a few days ago, it was still very easy. Indonesian visa on arrival at Medan, and then a blue book processed without any hassle.

I had also been hearing that CNN-NGO inflation had set in, but it seemed like the costs of drivers/translators, etc, has actually gone down.

I’m back at the airport in bangkok, heading back to Sri Lanka.

by teru kuwayama | 19 Feb 2005 06:02 | Bangkok, Thailand | | Report spam→
Yea, blue book is no prioblem. also need a press card and indo id card which you can get from the police outside the press office (governors house). hotels have rooms, and overall everything is ok here.
like Teru said earlier, be careful walking around in this shit. there are nails sticking out of everything and the bogs can be pretty deep.

cheers, ben

by Ben Chrisman | 24 Feb 2005 23:02 | Banda Aceh, Indonesia | | Report spam→
heya, just back into bangkok from sri lanka.

Ben, had a spin through Kinniya, on eastern coast…as soon as I got off the ferry, I was pounced on by a very friendly village chief, who asked me if I knew his “american friend”, and showed me your business card.

You left quite an impression apparently. The locals in Kinniya speak of a foriegner, about 7 feet tall, carrying at least 5 enormous cameras, who stalked the village for a week…

by teru kuwayama | 26 Feb 2005 22:02 | eastern coast, Sri Lanka | | Report spam→
teru – i bet you met Mr. Yosuff. yea, being this tall i could hardly fit in his door. have to get older and shrink before i go there next time. the ferry driver kept giving me an evil eye telling me about some weight limit with the camera gear. and to think they send trucks on that thing all day long ….

by Ben Chrisman | 01 Mar 2005 03:03 | Banda Aceh, Indonesia | | Report spam→

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teru kuwayama, I/O teru kuwayama
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