Bali Car Boot. Don’t make the mistake of parking your car all night on Ubud’s main road, Jl. Raya Ubud. Aimed to ease traffic congestion, parking on a number of the town’s traffic arteries such as Jl. Cok Sudarsana, Jl. Hanoman and Jl. Monkey Forest Ubud is now illegal. This new rule also applies to motorcycles. Ubud’s Transportation Service (Dishub), working together with the local police, now deflate the tires of illegally parked cars as a simple yet effective remedy for the high volumes of circulating traffic. They also dispense tickets and will soon tow and impound vehicles. We knew about the parking areas next to the Monkey Forest and Ubud Central Parking at Puri Lukisan (which has shuttle buses), but they were too far away from the hotel we were staying in. The local taxi mafia are shamelessly exploitive, asking for as much as Rp50,000 for a short ride. We put on our spare quickly before the traffic police made their rounds; we heard the fine is Rp250,000 plus one month in jail.
Dog Stuff: As our poor long-suffering Luna can silently attest, never use commercial human shampoo on a dog. She escaped while shampooing, leaving the toxic substance on her skin which soon broke out in open sores and lesions. This eventually opened her up to scabies. We have spent a total of Rp675,000 so far on shots, medicines and visits to the vet and she still isn’t cured. *Use Bravecto to get rid of dog (and human) ticks; lasts 3 months: 3 prescriptions Rp250.000/month; 6 months Rp125.000/month; 12 months Rp62.500/month.
Sundanese Skill Sets. The Sundanese people of West Java have long been famous for well-crafted shoes, leather goods, handbags, purses, hats, shoulder bags, shirts and textiles. Many outlets in Denpasar for Sundanese hand-make articles: Bandung Toko, Jl. Kartini 29; Bandung Collection, Jl. Imam Bonjol18. For shoes, look for Toko Sepatu Cibaduyut everywhere. Prices are not as cheap as in Bandung, but cheaper than most shops in Bali. Many stay open until 10 pm.
Stupid Supplements. There’s no conclusive evidence that dietary vitamin and mineral supplements prevent chronic disease. As reported in an April 2018 New York Times article, rigorous long-term clinical trials have found that neither vitamin E nor folic acid supplements do anything to protect the heart. High-doses of vitamin E can in fact even pose a higher risk of heart failure, prostate cancer and death! *The belief that a daily supplement of fish oil prevents heart attacks and strokes is also not supported by research and now totally discredited.
Bargain Books. Since 1986, Ganesha has operated a book buy-back scheme, a great way to save money on books and also a neat way to free up space in your travel bag. After purchasing a used book in one of their stores in Ubud or Sanur, you can bring it back and receive half of your original purchase price back. You can either spend the returned money in-store, or just take the cash. They will also buy your used books and give you a fair price, but the books must be in good condition and fairly new. Even better, when books in their two stores become too tatty and unsellable they place them on a stand outside and give the books away free. As well as the trading of paperbacks, Ganesha bookshops also sells new, rare and out-of-print books on Indonesia which are sold outright and are not part of their buy-back scheme.
Skip Specialty Cleaners! To absorb grease stains, place a mound of fresh cornstarch on non-washable or delicate materials like suede or silk and simply let it sit. *Pour sugar over spilled nail polish on hardwood or tile; the paint will adhere to the absorbent sugar and allow you to then sweep up the sugar and the nail polish along with it. *When glass breaks, use a broom and dustpan to pick up the large pieces, then for those tiny widely scattered shards take a slice of bread and pat up the slivers which will stick to the squishy bread (same procedure can be done using the cut side of a potato). *Ketchup or Tabasco smeared on a rag cleans tarnish from brass and copper after allowing it to sit for 5 minutes. *Ketchup can also be used to remove rust from cast iron. *Olive oil nicely rehydrates dried-out wood from cutting boards to furniture.
Creative Welding. Take advantage of the low costs on Bali for designing, fashioning or retrofitting all kinds of iron implements and equipment. A tukang las (welder) can create or repair dish racks and range hoods. He can convert a Rp50,000 sickle with a wooden handle to one with an unbreakable iron handle for only Rp20,000 (iron lasts long and doesn’t slip, whereas wood eventually needs to be replaced). Or replace an old worn out pot handle with a new iron one. Find plans on Google Images and order a bike rack, tool and towel rack, barbecue grill, fire pit, pet gate, window bars, spiral staircase, dog cage, kitchen pot lid holder, candelabra, shop stool, bench, garden fence, etc. Tip: If you buy the iron yourself and give it to the welder, it’s cheaper. Welders charge by how much solder they use. For our canopied arbor, Mita paid Rp150,000 for labor and solder. She paid Rp150,000 for iron. To make an outside ladder to the top of our water tower, it costs Rp2,600,000 for iron and labor in the shop and then was brought and installed on site.
Goodbye Premium. Although in very high demand, this low cost, low-octane and less environmentally-friendly grade of gasoline is gradually being phased out. Not all gas stations (pom bensin) in Bali carry this cheaper gas which costs Rp6,750 per liter as compared to Pertalite-branded gas which is Rp7,800/liter. Stations intentionally reduce the stock of Premium as they prefer to sell non-subsidized gasoline – Pertalite and Pertamax – because they receive a smaller margin from selling Premium. Sometimes you have to drive around to find one with short lines. Look for stations crowded with public minivans and motorcycles because Premium is usually sold at gas stations frequented by public transportation vehicles. You can tell which stations carry it from the road sign and the sign displayed at the top of the gas pump. Expect prices for all grades of gas to steadily rise because of decreasing subsidies, increasing global crude oil prices and the weakening of the rupiah against the US dollar.
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Copyright © 2018 Bill Dalton
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