Old Car Immunity. Our ancient, dinged up and scraped 2001 Kijang is King of the Road when it comes to right of way. Because so few people are covered by car insurance, motorists who have bought spanking new cars are deathly afraid of their precious gleaming chariot being dented or scratched. They frantically blow their horns when they see our aged and venerable Toyota come anywhere near and keep well out of our way. *Buy your new-used car on Bali (look for the “DK” Plate) rather than on Java (which has plates like “L” for Surabaya; “AD” for Surakarta; “D” for Bandung & “B” for Jakarta). The Balinese seldom take their car on trips any further than Bedugul, often keeping it locked up and use only a motorcycle for errands in Bali’s horrendous traffic. This is the reason why Bali cars have lower mileage and are in better shape than cars from Java that tend to go on longer road trips that subject vehicles to more wear and tear and more mileage.


Travel Wise. The most comprehensive web directory of Bali is *If the immigration lines are too long at the airport, head over to the disability counter which serves those over 60 and families with children under 5. After verifying your age(s) in your passport, you’ll be out very quickly. *Short term scooter rentals are Rp50,000-Rp60,000 per day for bikes up to a 125cc. Larger bikes like the 150cc Honda cost around Rp80,000-Rp120,000 per day. Take photographs! When returning the bike, sometimes owners claim “damage” and haggle about the already agreed upon price. *The Klungkung City Tour takes in the Kerta Gosa, Museum Semarajaya, Puputan Monument, Puri Agung Klungkung, Balai Budaya and Pemedal Agung at a cost of only Rp50,000 (Rp25,000 for domestics). Ticket holders may also use the shuttle service to the villages of Kemasan, Paksebali and Tihingan. Barong performances at Pendopo Puri Agung Klungkung on Saturdays at 11:00 am are included at no additional charge. Great deal!


U.S. Citizens Corner. Sign up for important announcements from the U.S. Consulate in Jakarta, Surabaya and Bali; regular newsletters of special interest to Americans in Indonesia, and local news pertinent to your area in Indonesia at www.americansinindonesia. *An exhaustive list of Indonesian Government ministries and agencies, U.S. Government websites, online regional newspapers and magazines, business and financial institutions, institutions of higher learning and other valuable web resources can be found at


Anti-theft Gear. Pacsafe’s ( security features – turnlock hooks, slashguard mesh, scan blocking material, zip security clips – are terrific, well worth the higher cost and effectively deters cut and run thieves and pickpockets. Their backpacks and waistpacks are great quality and will last a lifetime of travel. The shoulder bag comes with an 11”-inch laptop compatible sleeve, internal attachment clips for wallets and keys and external pockets to keep your gear organized. The Pacsafe “room safe” bag can hold valuables like tablets and laptops that don’t fit in your hotel room safe. The bum bag doubles as a shoulder sling. The newer designed bags are larger with more convenient pockets and thicker adjustable straps. Given most thefts are opportunistic, Pacsafe travel gear puts the odds back on your side!


Superfoods. Crunchy nuts, sweet berries, whole-grain bread-and don’t forget wine! -are not just delicious and good for your heart but also some of the best foods you can eat to boost your brain health. *Green Giants: All vegetables are good for you, but leafy greens seem to benefit cognition even more than most. *Great Grains: Healthy carbs can boost the brain. A great diet for the mind includes daily servings of whole grains. *Small Wonders: Mind research suggests that berries are the only fruit that benefits the brain. *Smoothies are a fast, easy, and delicious way to get your daily dose of fruits and veggies all year long. *Think of Meat as a Condiment: That means eating beef, poultry and pork only occasionally or in small, 3- to 4-ounce portions-about the size of a deck of cards. Especially avoid processed meats, such as bacon, deli meat and sausage. A review by Harvard researchers linked a daily serving, equal to one hot dog or two slices of bacon, to an increased risk of early death from heart disease and cancer.


Techies. For those who want just Internet and not cable TV, the cheapest is through an USB modem/MIFI (though the speed may not be fast enough for watching videos). Your best bet is to try different SIM cards in your phone to test out the data speed and reliability in your area. Just purchase cards with a small amount of data to test. As far as value for money goes, Smartfren is usually the best (although Tri 3G GSM are cheaper) for Bali’s unban dwellers. *Once you have worked out who gives you the best speed, you can purchase a USB dongle or portable Wi-Fi modem. Or buy a full size Wi-Fi router with SIM card slots. *If you don’t need to watch videos, get an 3G USB modem with a card/chip from Tri, 10 GB data (AON – valid for almost 1 year) for Rp130,000. The best signal in your area may be from Telkomsel, Rp50,000 per GB data (also 3G), valid for a month. Cheaper for 4G modem. Another possible good one is PostPaid XL at Rp150,000/month for a subscription which includes 20 GB/month, unlimited free calls and texts to other XL subscribers and 100 minutes free calls to other subscribers. *Don’t publish your sensitive info on Facebook; you just never know who may use it with bad intentions. Better to just put your LinkedIn URL on your FB page!


International Driving Permit. Often incorrectly referred to as the International Driving License, an International Driving Permit along with a valid driver’s license from your home country, allows you to legally drive a vehicle in Bali. Driving without a valid license will invalidate any injury or property damage claims under your insurance. You’ll also be put at risk of a large fine or imprisonment if you get into a serious accident involving a Balinese, even if it’s not your fault. Foreigners who have a KITAP can get an International Driver’s License (SIM Internasional) on Bali for Rp500,000 for foreigners and it will be valid for as long as your type of visa, such as a KITAP, is valid. IDPs are also issued by automobile associations/clubs in your country. Every state in the USA and Australia has its own organizations and charge different prices, averaging around US$25. Some allow you to apply through their websites.


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Copyright © 2018 Bill Dalton

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