Heat Relief. Bali’s dry hot season is May to September with sunny days and an average temperature of 31 degrees C. *Super-economical ceiling fans cost little to run and make the temperature feel as much as four degrees cooler. *Blinds (kerai) are another very effective and easy to install means of cooling down interior spaces. It’s cheaper to order blinds in specific ready-made sizes rather than to have them custom made. Blinds are sold by the square meter, for example 2x200x300, 1x300x300, etc. Try to have delivery and installation charges included in purchase price. *Another way to keep your house cool is to install a water feature. Increasingly popular inside and outside of the home, a fountain or waterfall (kolam hias air mancur) costs anywhere from Rp250,000 to Rp5 million (depending upon size, statuary, lighting, pump systems) in Kapal, east of Kota Tababan. Some are so elaborate that you need to have them built and set up by a tukang batu taman (mason landscaper); other mini ones can simply be put in the back of your car. Working harmoniously with your interior or exterior décor, a water feature according to Feng Shui principles helps reactivate the life-force of the space, restores balance and produces beneficial yang energy.
Home Insurance Reality Check. Indonesians seldom take out fire/home insurance policies; only Westerners seem interested. Most use an insurance broker who will get you competitive quotes, the details of which you can compare and then choose. Allianz (allianz-bali.com) and QBE (www.qbe.co.id) insure against fire and theft, but you have to pay more for earthquake and storm protection. Home insurance can be expensive, so it pays to shop around. Yearly premiums of Rp8,000,000 are par for the course, about the same as you’d pay in Australia. If you include earthquake, it could cost up to Rp12,000,000. Allianz prices homeowner’s insurance with a multiplier of 0.3232 of the value you want to insure while QBE uses a multiplier of 0.2781 of the value you want to insure. Deductibles vary; i.e. flooding Rp25 juta; theft Rp1 juta. All factors are taken into account. There’s a greater risk of fire if you have an alang-alang roof and a greater likelihood of storm damage if you have beach or river front property that is exposed to tropical rain storms and coastal erosion. The biggest cause of fire in Bali is poor electrical work. There is limited fire brigade (pemadam kebakaran) protection and even for that you have to pay dearly for in Bali.
Second-Hand Bargains. When a hotel, restaurant or villa renovates, refurbishes, changes owners or is being demolished, second-hand shops (Toko Jual-Beli Barang Bekas or Toko Secon) buy their used or surplus furniture, fixtures, appliances and equipment. These very affordable retail outlets are: 1) the Mutiara Jaya on Jl. Teuku Umar Barat 207 in Denpasar (pictured) across the street from the Wo Aini Javanese food restaurant; 2) Bagus Furniture on Jl. Teuku Umar Barat 10 X, Badung, Kerobokan Kelod, Kuta Utara, Denpasar Barat (tel. 085-236-973-081); 3) on Jl. Gunung Soputan on the same side of the street as Fresh supermarket in Denpasar Barat: 4) Toko Secon in the Abian Tuwung area of Kediri east of Kota Tabanan. These crowded shops are the very best places to buy used but still quite functional cabinets, shelves, benches, tables, lamps, toilets, sinks, stoves, display cases, freezers, refrigerators and TVs at low prices. Brands are often high quality: Toto, Klipsal, American Standard, Jepara carved furniture, etc. Go in the afternoon just before closing when they are more amenable to accepting your offered price.
Your Money. Walk away from any discount offered by individuals approaching you on the street or beach – including innocent looking school girls. Invariably a time-consuming scam. *Using Google Maps with your smartphone to find accurate distances is useful when negotiating taxi and charter vehicle fares. *Always count your money after a transaction to make sure that you’ve been given the right amount of change. *Though you may score a great online deal for a hotel room, if you want to extend another night or two make sure that you receive the same rate and will not be charged the much pricier “walk-in” rate. *Avoid “welcome” drinks that often substitute vodka with cheap rotgut arak as an ingredient. *Minimum monthly wage in Bali is 2.2 million for a full work week (8 hours per day 8 am-5 pm), though you should consider paying 3 million which is still less than $US1 per hour. *To find out employee responsibilities, Google working hours (waktu kerja) under Law No. 13 of 2003 concerning Manpower where you’ll find an English translation. *In Ubud, sign up for the Delta Dewata (Jl. Raya Andong 14, tel. 0361-973-049) frequent shopper card to get points for free stuff like fans, cleaning supplies, water glasses, glassware, frying pans, soap, toothpaste, washing detergent, rechargeable lanterns, etc. *Emas berpeti-peti, kerbau berkandang-kandang. (“Gold in many boxes, buffalo in many stables.”) Though you may have great riches, don’t flaunt your money.
Motorcycle Inspection. At around Rp750,000 per month, the average price of motorcycle rental on Bali, you may be able to haggle a better deal. Before you fork over the money, it pays to give your prospective scooter/motorcycle a thorough inspection. Start by turning it on and giving it a few revs. The engine should sound smooth and regular, and on idle it should be steady. Then flick on the headlights and check that both the regular beams and the high beams work. Then check the indicators, front and back. Next check the brakes. Push the scooter forward and apply the grips, first front brakes (right side) and then back (left side). Back brakes are the most crucial, as you will be using them the most. Check the tire treads, too. Worn tires are pretty usual for Asian scooters, but bald is bad. Although it is rare as a unicorn to find a Balinese bike in mint condition, note any scratches or dents. These demerits are reasons for a discount. Hire a machine with a longer seat like a Honda Vario with a 125cc engine – a must for passengers.
BATI’s appropriate technology. In-ground and above-ground water tanks are life-saving assets to any household or community. For around Rp2.5 million rupiah, a covered cement tank can retain 6,000 liters of rain water or water pumped up from a river, spring or well. Using downspouts (with leaf filters) from gutters, a heavy rainfall can fill a water tank (diameter 2 m, depth 3 m) in less than an hour. *A slow sand filter is an eco-friendly “starter” technology that removes the most harmful organisms and toxins from water. An additional six hours of exposure to the sun by placing the clear water in a transparent glass bottle renders the water totally safe to drink. If installed in the city, these types of filters stop impurities and the smell of chlorine. Anyone who has ever tasted charcoal-filtered spring or rain water will never drink Aqua again. For info on money saving, time saving and earth friendly technologies, check out www.baliappropriatetechnology.org.
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Copyright © 2018 Bill Dalton
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