Wednesday 23 May 2012: Scorpion fly
Strange weather at dawn, a quite heavy mist was hanging and complete cloud cover. The sky finally cleared around 11:30am and only then did I make my move and head off to the woods with great anticipation. Hoping for some butterfly action after yesterday's sightings.
There were plenty of butterflies around but none of them were landing around the edge of the nettle glade, so I had to accept the blip monsters charge and wade into the nettles. People walking past must have thought I was nuts, expecting men in white coats to show up at any moment.
I soon spotted a scorpion fly land next to a spiders web. I moved in for a closer look and bingo - it was a male, so a great follow up to the female that I blipped a few days ago. It is actually the male that gives the scorpion fly its name, so it was kind of necessary.
I fired off a few shots before it flew off, but it returned within seconds and landed right on the edge of the web, close to an ensnared fly. After my research a few days ago, I knew exactly what was going on and realised that this was a rare opportunity.
Scorpion flies feed on dead flies and often steal their meal from a spider's web. Part of the courtship ritual is the male presenting the female with a dead fly, apparently this turns her on.
Pretty soon, the scorpion fly was tackling the ensnared fly much to the disgust of the resident spider, who sat on a leaf very close by. The spider was easily big enough to tackle the scorpion fly but it did nothing unfortunately from a blip of the year point of view.
He seemed to be loosening the fly from the grip of the sticky web but after about ten minutes, it was as if he decided that she was not worth it and started to consume the prize himself. After half an hour and about 200 shots, I concluded that nothing else was going to happen and so left for home, happy.
Today's Indonesia difference is wages. I found a link to a list of world minimum wages and feel that it is fairly accurate. The annual minimum wage varies depending on where you live in Indonesia, between US$500 and US$1000. I recon in Bandung, talking to some bar staff, that the minimum must be around US$1000pa.
Of course, these figures only represent official companies with employees and not the vendors that I see on a daily basis, scratching a living from each other. I don't know what these street vendors make as I consider it too rude to ask, especially as they are under the misapprehension that I am very rich because I am from the western world.
It is all relative really and depending on your chosen or inflicted life style. As a working contractor, I would spend upwards of $8000 per year on a large house. I would employ a security guard, maid, driver and a gardener. I would spend an undisclosed amount on an exorbitant bar bill, shop in western style supermarkets, wear expensive sunglasses, eat in top hotels and generally live a very decadent life style. My bar bill alone could probably have supported half a dozen families!
Now I am skint, I live in a small house for $2000 per year, I don't drink alcohol, I don't take taxis, I wear $2 flip-flops, eat local food, but still somehow seem to be spending 3x the minimum wage and that is not counting the annual rent bill, I just don't know how they do it!
To make direct comparisons is not realistic, for instance, the idea of using the cost of a big mac does not work, because the average Indonesian has never tried one in his life, nor is he likely to, spending two days wages on a beef burger would be folly. They don't buy bread, milk, cheese and all those other things that you might consider staples, In Indonesia it is rice, noodles, locally grown fruit and vegetables.
The cost of living is what you make it. Personally, my target is $5 per day, that covers food, drink, petrol and internet. On top of this, I still have to pay my electricity bill of around $30 per month. Someone on the minimum wage would have to cut this down to no more than $1.50 or less, depending on how much the accommodation and electricity is. Tough life but it obviously can be done.