Travel Mask. Been to Jakarta, Chiang Mai or Siem Reap lately? Face masks are now essential for travel in the unhealthy polluted cities of S.E. Asia as well around the Mt. Agung danger zone. Extreme air pollution can damage the mucosa and lead to a bacterial infection. High quality masks are available online. Lazada sells a pack of 8 of the very best N95 Smart Valve Face Mask for around Rp100,000. The N95 stops PM2.5 particles that can travel deep into the lungs. Simpler ones are less effective and too hot for walking any farther than 500 meters.
Get Ready! Nyepi is among those rarest of Balinese festivals when Bali residents actually save money, not just spend mucho dinero as is the case with Galungan and Odalan. If you’re going to be staying in a hotel for Nyepi, food is often served cold and is expensive. To save money, take sandwiches, baked goods, cheese, fruit and instant noodles; also a thermos or electric kettle to boil water. Book hotel rooms now. Stock up on enough food, snacks and beverages at least 2 days before Nyepi. Buy to last 3 days (one day before, Nyepi day itself and the day after). Shops and markets will be closed and you can’t go anywhere. Replenish candles, flashlight batteries, re-chargeable indoor lamps. Charge gadgets and prepare curtains/blankets to block light from windows. On the eve of Nyepi there will be drunken revelry and gambling but ogoh-ogoh parades will be banned in urban areas because of possible disruptions set off by opposing parties in the upcoming gubernatorial election in June. Break out the stargazing charts! Totally absent of light pollution, the sparkling and resplendent night sky over the Southern Hemisphere on Nyepi is the clearest of the whole year.
Spectacular savings! At the wholesale plastic goods shops (Toko Grosir Plastik) along Denpasar’s Jl. Imam Bonjol, huge savings can be made on plastic wares compared with what they would cost in your local supermarket or convenience store. Examples: 8 rolls of packing tape at Rp8000/roll (normally Rp12,000-Rp14,000/roll); 50 plastic bags (90 cm X 100 cm) for Rp45,000 (usually Rp17,000 for packet of ten); 100 plastic bags (60 cm X 80 cm) for Rp55,000 (normally Rp12,000 for packet of ten).
Your Cash. When moving in crowds, take only the cash you think you’ll need and keep it in a front pants pocket which makes it harder to reach for pickpockets. *Used clothing at Tabanan’s Pasar Kodok, imported from Japan, South Korea and U.S., costs Rp10,000 to Rp150,000 depending on brand, quality and fabric; after purchasing, soak clothes in boiling water overnight, then wash by hand. *Terbeli kerbau bertuntun is the Indonesian equivalent of “to buy a pig in a poke” or to be tricked or deceived if you are sold something without knowing its true value, particularly when buying without inspecting the item beforehand.
HealthWise: People with acne are at substantially higher risk for depression in the first few years after the condition appears, New York Times reports. *Boreh, made from hand ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves and rice, is applied to a farmer’s legs after a hard day in the fields but also to ward off flu and colds; boreh warms the body and makes an excellent body mask for detoxification. *Confirm that your Indonesian doctor has a medical license to diagnose and give consultations and prescriptions by checking his/her name at www.kki.go.id. *Popular stores for healing herbs among Ubudians is Nadis Herbal on Jl. Suweta (tel. 0812-3816-024) and Earth Cafe & Market Bali on Jl. Goutama Selatan (tel. 0851-0083-5545). *Bear Brand (susu beruang) sterilized powdered milk drink, found in almost Bali stores for Rp244,545/30-tin carton, treats colds, overcomes symptoms of typhus, boosts immune system, neutralizes toxins and contains protein, vitamins and fats essential for body growth; after opening, drink immediately as it doesn’t last long. *Because of its rip tides, Kuta Beach is Bali’s most dangerous beach requiring lifeguards deployed at 500-meter intervals.
Household tips. A single stick of uncooked spaghetti is like a foot-long match ideal for lighting multiple candles or hard-to-reach pilot burners on stoves or deep inside ovens. *The polite way of pointing at someone is with a closed hand. *Lem Rajawali (Rp12,000/850 gr) is a synthetic specially designed rubber adhesive for gluing fabric and leather. *Cut through sandpaper a few times to instantly sharpen scissors. *Test if an egg is rotten by putting it in a bowl of water; if it sinks it’s OK. *Why wait for PDAM pipe to break or PLN power outage that disables your water pump? Install a rainwater catchment system now. *To save money when using hot water, Indonesians wash dishes by using Sunlight or Mama Lemon dish detergent to first work up some suds with cold water, then rinse with hot water. *It’s easier and faster to pour from a rectangular waxed-cardboard box of Indo milk if you poke an air hole into the top of the carton on the opposite side of the pouring spout. *Search Reddit on how to prepare inexpensive Vegan meals.
Memory Aid. Use your smartphone camera to take temporary pictures of the number over the airport parking-garage space so you remember where you left your car; scratches and dents on the car you’re renting for evidence that you didn’t damage it; a phone number, Web address or business card for reference later; your luggage as you check it in at airport if it gets lost or damaged; a taxi’s license plate or the posted driver’s license on back of front seat to report driver or track down stuff left behind; your main passport page in case you lose it; books you want to later buy in a bookstore or online; something you’re lending to a friend (posed with the friend); cable connections behind your computer or TV before unplugging them for reassembling later; your children at the entrance of a big mall or amusement park to show security personnel in case you get separated; your store’s receipt if the item you’re purchasing has a guarantee; pages of a text book you’re sharing with another student; highway banners for concerts or events.
Hollaback! Indonesia has no legal protection for sexual harassment and police are not that friendly or sympathetic towards victims. Post your story of harassment with the Hollaback app – part of a global effort to end harassment which has become Indonesia’s answer to the Me Too Movement. On this website, get info from members of the organization’s Indonesian chapter about training in self-defense, using anti-harassment technology, how to address online harassment and cyberbullying and tips on reaching out to bystanders to intervene.
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Copyright © 2018 Bill Dalton
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