Not just souvenirs: On Sunset Road are souvenir stores (toko pusat oleh-oleh Bali) with big tour buses parked out front. Popular with bargain hunting domestic and international tourists, these huge outlets sell all manner of goods at rock bottom prices. Prices are fixed so you don’t need to bargain as you do at other tourist markets. They carry not only sarongs, t-shirts (starting at Rp15,000), clothes, sandals and shoes in large bule sizes, but also sell a wide variety of useful house wares and attractive home furnishings for the permanent resident: flyswatters, wastebaskets, bedcovers, straw handbags (Rp60,000), sunglasses (Rp75,000-Rp125,000), beautiful wooden earrings (only Rp5000), coconut and seashell jewelry (Rp10,000-Rp12,000), belts (Rp35,000-Rp45,000), silk scarves, beach ware (Rp15,000-Rp85,000), packaged coffee and snacks, as well as paintings and sculpture to decorate your home. At Sukawati prices may be a bit cheaper, but you really have to work for it. Try Nusantara, Bali Agung and Krishna Oleh Oleh Khas Bali are all near the big intersection of Sunset Road and Jl. Imam Bonjol.
Living green for kids: Use both sides of your paper, take your own bags to the store, walk or bike instead of drive to school, turn off your lights, computer and air conditioner when not in use, fill the bathtub up only halfway, turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth, make your own birthday cards, use old kitchen utensils and containers for water and sand toys, ask your parents to buy rechargeable batteries.
Free anti-virus applications: For a basic level of security against a whole host of increasingly widespread and advanced malware attacks, Mac users can download iAntiVirus Free Edition and Windows users can download Avast Free Antivirus. Both are free.
Save money on phone calls: If you want to talk for a long time, email or sms the person first and ask if they have a land line (telpon rumah). If you have a land line also, it’s the cheapest way to call. If they don’t have a land line, ask what mobile SIM card service they use to see if it’s the same as yours. If it’s the same, it’s very inexpensive. Even if you call inter lokal or SLJJ (out of Bali) it’s still always cheaper to use your SIM card service when calling someone else with the same service. Even cheaper is to register in a company’s (Indosat, XL, Simpati, Flexi) program. For example, if you register for Flexi Irit for only Rp5000 per week you are able to call other flexi numbers free.
Make your own mayonnaise: Instead of buying a jar of imported mayonnaise for Rp30,000 and up. To make your own mayonnaise, beat an egg yolk in a bowl. Wrap a damp dishtowel around the base of the bowl so that it will not move around on your work surface as you whisk. Teaspoon by teaspoon, whisk in 1/4 cup of canola or grape seed oil until it thickens. When the mixture looks emulsified and stable, add another 1/4 cup of oil in a very slow stream. Season to taste with salt, mustard and a drop of lemon juice. This will cost you about Rp10,000 for the same quantity – without the preservatives.
Pisang susu: This incomparable, divinely sweet banana variety costs a steep Rp5000 for four in the markets. Ask for some panak biu susu (saplings) from your nearby kampung and plant your own. Banana trees bear fruit in six months continually thereafter from tubers. Incidentally, hold off buying fruit during religious holidays in Bali like Purnama, Odalan, Kuningan, etc. when the price of fruit used in offerings doubles. Normally, apples cost Rp12,000 per kilo but during Odalan they spike to Rp28,000 per kilo; the price for a bunch of 10 bananas normally costs Rp5000 but during Kuningan the price rises to Rp2000 for two!
Order food to go: Save gas and time by ordering food out. A surprising number of restaurants on Bali take orders to go and deliver right to your house. Sari Organic, Bali Buddha, Kafe, Pizza Bagus all deliver organic foods, both menu items and processed foods. This also goes for farmers. For example, Bali Rungu Organic Farm (email: email@example.com, tel. 0813-3872-1705) and Ariesta Bali (www.baturitivastufarm, tel. 0361-411-201) grow a large variety of organically grown vegetables and fruits. Both are based in Baturiti and both will deliver to households (minimum 10 kg or Rp100,000). Beyond Ubud, Jimbaran, Nusa Dua and Denpasar extra charge.
Household tips: Kerosene kills wasps almost instantly if you spray it on their nests. In eHow, How to Kill a Gecko, there are instructions on how to kill this lizard. If you have a Ketapang shade tree, it is often infested with poisonous hairy caterpillars. To get rid of them cultivate red ants (semangah) in the tree. Ketapang trees near salt air aren’t hospitable to ulat bulu.
Thrift shops of Ubud: Smile Shop, Jl. Sri Wedari. From Ubud’s main street, take the street (Jl. Sriwedari) right in front of Café Moka, go up past Seniwati Gallery and it’s about 500 meters up on the left. This thrift shop supports operations for facial surgery in kids who cannot afford proper medical treatment. Plentiful selection of “pre-loved” items in good condition and substantial used book collection. Three DVDs sell for Rp10,000 and books for as little as Rp5000 each. You can sometimes find amazing items in the Rp2000 and Rp5000 baskets. Open Tues.-Sat. 10 am to 4 pm, Sun. 12 pm – 4 pm. Hp 0813-384-674-98. The profit from the Charity Shop, located on Jl. Raya Pengosekan near the entrance to ARMA, is split between the animal clinic run by BARC and a local orphanage. Very well-selected second-hand clothes, bags, jewelry, belts, books, sport equipment, toys, etc. Open 9 am-5 pm, tel. 0361-275-7664, website: www.freewebs.com/balidogs.
Patronize your local shops: If you do all your buying at a toko matreal or electrical shop near your home, ask the owner to give you good prices or at least a token discount. The fact that you are a repeat customer should give you bargaining power. For example, if you buy Philips 5 Watt CFN light bulbs it will normally cost you Rp22,000 apiece but if buy one dozen light bulbs it might save you Rp20,000 or Rp30,000. Worth a try. These same local shops might even extend you credit for a month if you have lived in the neighborhood for a while.
Hospitals vs. private medical services: It’s almost always cheaper to use public hospitals (RSU) than private clinics. Sanglah Public Hospital, tel. 0361-227-911; Tabanan Public Hospital, tel. 0361-811-027; Singaraja Public Hospital tel. 0362-22046; RSUD Sanjiwani Gianyar, tel. 0361-943-524. A friend recently had to spend Rp60 million on a broken little toe when the same procedure would certainly have cost him a fraction of that amount had he used a rumah sakit umum (which also accepts ASKES government insurance). The quality of care is often just as good because the majority of the doctors who work in private clinics have their day jobs in public hospitals. Also, MDs (dokter praktek) who work in pharmacies (apotik), charging local consultation fees, are available between 5 pm and 8 pm.
Free stuff to do on Bali: All of the following venues are either free or cost very little to enter: 1) Chilly but fun swimming in Tirtagangga’s Royal Bathing Pools (www.hoteltirtagangga.com, tel. 081558001934) in Karangasem, open 8 am-6pm; only Rp20,000 entrance. 2) In Desa Seni Resort, Jl. Subak Sari 13, Pantai Brawa in Canggu on Sunday afternoons at 2 pm, a Balinese dance class is given to children free of charge (www.desaseni.com, tel. 0361-844-6392). 3) See dance lessons gratis 4 pm-5 pm every Thursday and Sunday in the garden of the Bali Hyatt, Sanur.
Bali’s first and only DVD exchange: At Juice Ja Café on Jl. Dewa Sita in Ubud, donate at least 10 DVD’s to the collection. Choose DVD’s that aren’t defective and are interesting to watch. After that, bring in DVD’s to exchange for others from the collection. Show the staff the ones you donate and the ones you take. This is a community service free of charge to members and entirely up to members to make this a good thing. Not acceptable are films recorded in theatres or films that stop halfway through or films in Mongolian or without subtitles. Note: In any DVD shop, always ask for a quantity discount; if you buy ten DVDs, you should get three free.
Transport: Street numbering system used in Bali’s roads are chaotic and nonsensical with the numbering often out of order and both evens and odds on the same side or road. When asking for directions you get the best results if you ask other drivers or motorcyclists, or by inquiring in a similar shop or business who are more likely to be aware of a competitor. Because they are less likely to drive, ask only women in uniform or women who are driving. Indonesians have a charming but unnerving habit of giving you the answer that they feel you most want to hear, so don’t ask a leading question such as Apakah jalan ini ke Canggu? (Is this the way to Canggu?) but rather Jalan ini ke mana? (Where does this road lead?). This also applies to phone inquiries. Also you usually get a better idea of distance if you ask how long it will take to get a destination rather than ask how far it is.
Don’t throw it away: Don’t throw that old sofa or chair away. Reupholster it! Ask where the tukang jok is in your vicinity. To reupholster a sofa it costs Rp600,000 to Rp800,000 depending on the fabric; three piece sets (one big and one small sofa plus a chair) costs around Rp1,300,000 to Rp1,500,000, also depending on the fabric. To reupholster a standard size sofa in leather can cost up to Rp6 million to Rp8 million. Don’t use imitation leather which degrades too quickly; use a high quality fabric instead.
Pasar Endek: Turn down the street right beside the famous Gerta Gosa courthouse in Klungkung, travel only 250 meters, then turn left into Pasar Klungkung where there’s a fabulous collection of endek and Balinese traditional clothing inside the main building. Prices (harga bisnis) per meter: selendang Rp250,000, kain kamben alus Rp75,000-Rp100,000, or endek cloth cut from rolls starting at Rp35,000 per meter. Huge selection in shop after shop all around the main hall. In the back of the market is a shop selling high-grade farming tools at great prices.