November 12 2014

November 12, 2014

*Finding your way on Bali: First call up the business, hotel or residence and get map coordinates, paste them in Google Earth, then press “enter.” GE zooms in on the destination. Use the tools to the right to zoom in or out and view the location in street view; check out “Layers” section to the left to enhance your search results by adding different layers such as photos and 3-D buildings. Once you’ve set out for your destination using GE, the very active community-based traffic and navigation smart phone app Waze ( will get you there even faster. Waze gives personal head-ups and info on traffic and road conditions from other drivers in the area, saving you time and gas money. Map editors constantly improve and update Waze’s maps and include alerts as you approach police, accidents, road hazards or traffic jams, all shared by other drivers in real-time. To test Waze, just put in “MacDonalds Sanur” and see what happens!

*Minitips: When buying a used car, back it up and check for stains on the ground; find the source. Largest selection of gift-wrapping paper on Bali is at Art Media, Jl. Imam Bonjol 434, tel. 0361-485-248. It’s a bad sign if a restaurant shares space with a smartphone vendor, gift shop or other business that only siphon energy away from what should be their real mission of serving great food. If you ask a waiter if they put MSG in the food, he will either invariably deny it or assure you that the flavour enhancer will not be put in the dish the kitchen will serve you; but if you let them cook without MSG, the dish will be flavourless because they don’t know how to cook without MSG. Tolak Angin, an effective ginger and honey-based tonic by Sidomuncul, fights masuk angin (“entered by the wind”); it literally means “refuse the wind.” Indonesian Association of Planners’ Most Liveable City in all of Indonesia in 2014 is Balikpapan. Get a jump-start by having a couple of drinks at home before going to the bar. Madu Murni Nusantara (Rp96,000/litre bottle) is the purest domestic commercial 100% honey. Rupiah-pinching Indonesians book online with to find hotels with the deepest discounts. Avoid the roads of south Bali during company payday period – the first hectic 5 days (tanggal muda) of every month. Air-dry – not machine dry – your dishes. Clean fridge condenser coils once a year to eliminate dirt, which reduces efficiency. Clean your toilet bowl well? Use Porstex (700 ml) Rp14,000 or Vixal Pembersih Porselin (500 ml) Rp9,000. Save water by taking showers instead of baths. Parallels, a leader in cross-platform technology, found that 8 out of 10 businesses (77%) believe that Macintosh computers are more reliable than Windows machines. Use to find an Indonesian girlfriend – unbelievable! If you’re married, stay in a budget Muslim hotel in Jakarta or other big Indonesian city; safer, cleaner, quieter and more family-friendly than your usual budget hotel. It’s better to give rather than lend; the cost is about the same. Everything people do is self-motivated.

*Get ready for rain: Plant grass, fruit trees, frangipani branches (ranting jepun) and vegetables now so that they are able to really take hold when the monsoon starts. Plant vegetable seeds in pots so that they get a good start before putting them in the ground. Separate banana tree saplings so that they can grow healthy. Retain vegetation and ground cover and don’t leave bare ground near a slope; plant roots to keep topsoil from sliding away. Put in bamboo or PVC drainage pipes every few feet under a retaining wall. If the wall is over a meter high it should be reinforced with iron bars (besi) and tilted slightly backwards. Rainwater will choose the route of least resistance in its path from high ground to the nearest water, so dig drainage channels, swales and terraces. After the first big rain, check ceramic roof tiles (genteng) for leaks, then seal with cement. Clean genteng of organic debris so there’s no blockage, which will eventually cause roof leaks. Clear clogged roof drainage gutters. Take indoor plants outside so they can get watered naturally. Move expensive carpets away from windows, or store them. Eliminate standing pools (nesting areas) for infectious mosquitoes to prevent dengue fever and other water-borne diseases. Combat termites (rayap) that rise up into your house during rains; squirt oil into cracks where you see the telltale buildup of sawdust around wood joints. Fight long-winged flies (laron), which swarm around lights from 6 pm to 8 pm, by turning on a few outside lights to draw them away from inside lights; lay trays of water under outside lights. Wood will become cheaper as the rainy season progresses as construction slows down and wood merchants still need to make a living. Heavy rains and storms often result in power outages, so make sure your generator and/or emergency lights are in working order.

*Better value: Smaller 3 kg LPG canisters for Rp20,000 a refill are a better deal than 12 kg LPG canisters at Rp120,000 per refill because the smaller ones are heavily subsidized by the government (up to 30%!). Also more convenient and easier to carry. There are thriving businesses on Bali behind high walls or hidden inside warehouses that take advantage of this price disparity by using special equipment to transfer gas from smaller 3 kg canisters to 12 kg canisters, reaping a huge profit of at least Rp40,000 per 12 kg canister.

*Save money on a notary: Notaries play much more of a role in legal matters on Bali than lawyers (pengacara). Finding an honest and competent notaris is essential in successfully completing a business transaction and absolutely vital for example when carrying out a comprehensive due diligence investigation of the ownership of property you are thinking of buying. Notarial service rates are stipulated in Article 36 of the Notary Occupational Law, which fixes the price of up to 2.5% of the value of a contract. For contracts worth Rp100 million to Rp1 billion, the ceiling rate permitted under law is Rp1.5%. Above Rp1 billion, the maximum rate is 1% of contract value. With no provision on the floor price, some notaris offer rates as low as 0.01%, which means they could make a “profit” of only several hundred thousand rupiah. Notaris offer such illogical dump rates in order to lure clients because their income is based on the level of business activity, i.e. the number of transactions they provide instruments for. For notarizing a single document, certificate or passport, a notaris can charge Rp750,000 to Rp1 million. Rules of thumb: 1) always use a local Balinese notaris and not one from Sulawesi, Sumatra or other islands. A Balinese notaris has the connections and knows and understands the rules (awig awig adat) better than outsiders; 2) don’t use a notaris that offers low unsound rates because it’s an unhealthy business practice, they may be in breach of ethical or legal infringements and they won’t be in business for long; 3) use an accredited notaris who belongs to the Indonesian Notaries Association (INI) whose members adhere to a code of ethics; 4) insist that your notary read out the instruments in front of all parties involved as stipulated by law.

*Bedtime stories: Kids love bedtime stories. In our home we call them “talking stories” and I’ve told to my four children for 35 years. I’ve found a wonderful English-language site of electronic texts called Folktexts: A library of Folktales, Folklore, Fairy tales and Mythology ( edited and/or translated by D. L. Ashliman at the University of Pittsburgh. This vast collection of folktales, myths and legends, arranged alphabetically by title, subject and theme (with focus on northern and western Europe), offers literally thousands of folktales from all over the world. I print them out so I always have a story handy when it’s time to go to bed. Sample themes: cat and mouse stories, Cinderella type stories, Tortoise and Hare type stories, witch stories. Many have to do with kings, ogres and mythical creatures but can be made to fit in local environments, modified to contemporary times or embellished to appeal more to your child’s interest. They are not too long, many only 5-8 minutes in the telling, so just right for a bedtime story. The site contains also dozens and dozens of valuable links to other folklore electronic archives and reference sources that are just and rich and varied.

*Toko of the Month: Agung Tedung, Pengerajin Tedung Adat Bali, Jl. Raya Mambal 22, in Ubud is a bargain shop to buy excellent domestic and imported incense (dupa). Thurgas is a Malaysian dupa by the box very cheap at Rp35,000; containing 12 packets, that works out at less than Rp3,000 per packet. With its potent and beautiful aroma, the box with the parrot on it is great for outdoors. Also try the Life brand from India – all good, especially the Amber fragrance at only Rp6,000 for a 35 stick packet! Another favorite is the Flute brand also from India, with a calming subtle aroma not unlike Nag Champa – a real good value at only Rp7,000 a packet.

*Reuse! Save by shopping for products that can be reused. Even though the initial purchase of rechargeable batteries may be more than that for non-rechargeable batteries, a definite savings will be realized over time. Coffee grinds, tea leaves and food scraps are good for flower plants and composting; seeds from fruit and vegetables for replanting; repurpose Indomilk cartons as seed planters; use scrap wood for fires in outdoor “dirty” kitchens; ashes and cow manure for fertilizer; shred discarded paper products for mulch; air pillows, bubble wrap and cardboard boxes for cushioning when shipping; wrapping paper and colourful paper shopping bags for rewrapping gifts; plastic shopping bags for multiple uses; masonry refuse/debris filler in landscaping; old toothbrushes to clean hard-to-reach places; stale bread and old sour rice for food for birds, chickens, ducks and fish in fish ponds; old floor tiles for your next home renovation; used aluminium foil for baking; water from kiddie pools and rain barrels for watering plants and shrubs; crushed seashells as garden decoration; leaves, lawn cuttings and wood chips to naturally fertilize and add nutrients to your soil. Replace paper towels with reusable rags or old cut up worn clothing and towels. Check out 1,000,000 Recycling Ideas and the Bali Creative Reuse Centre on Facebook ( Bali Reuse Centre) for limitless ideas on what you can do with recyclables and how trash can actually be a valued resource for the arts and crafts as well as learning materials for children.

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Copyright  2014 Bill Dalton
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