The Frugal Balinist

* Jewelry making tips

Almost every jewelry store employs jewelers who can resize rings and necklaces, set gemstones or gold plate jewelry by sending it out-of-house or have a ring, locket or necklace repaired. *When a Balinese couple (calon pengantin) gets married or engaged, they go to a Toko Emas to have their fingers measured for wedding bands. Recommended for good quality are: Toko Emas Windu Sara II, Jl. Sulwesi 132, Dauh Puri Kangin, Denpasar, tel. 0361-246404; Gallery Kohinoor, Jl. Sulawesi 106-108, Denpasar; Toko Perhiasan Emas, Jl. Bintang Mas, Jl. Raya Sayan, Ubud, tel. 813-3752-8445. *Don’t let guides or drivers take you to ostentatious and ridiculously overpriced silver shops where they earn big commission. Look for smaller jewelers who can custom make layered necklaces, pendants, long earrings, bracelets, body chains, cut metal emblems, or pieces set with beach glass, rose quartz, moonstone, etc. from a photograph (always shoot the image against a white background). *There’s a difference between a Toko Emas that sells only gold jewelry and a Toko Perhiasan which sells silver jewelry, body ornaments and imitation jewelry (perhiasan imitasi).

* Household

If you’re thinking of living in a city kampung (neighborhood) or in a village in the countryside of Bali, first visit the Klian Adat (kepala banjar, village council head) to find out about places to rent, if the area is safe, if he can suggest someone to work for you as a maid, carpenter, electrician, etc., what you should pay staff, etc. Invariably, the Klian Adat will speak Indonesian and perhaps even English in the more touristy areas. *Often the prosperity and management of a banjar can be deduced by the condition of its bale banjar (public hall) and its alarm drum tower (bale kulkul). *Bali Reptile Rescue is a non-profit that will send out a team to remove caught, cornered, dwelling or wounded reptiles from inside or outside your property; be sure to give them a generous donation for their time and skill. *Install a stainless steel cover over your water pump room to keep out foreign particles. *Install a ventilation fan in your water pump room. *Install a sand filter on the bore water pump with automatic backwash. *Place a roof over external gas water heaters. *In Bali’s touristy Ubud market, all is expensive. But the strength of the market is rattan – bags, baskets, placemats, as well as coconut husk tissue boxes, sarongs, batik, masks, hand bags, salt and pepper shakers, etc. Expect good quality but high prices. *The upstairs floor of Camphuan’s Bintang Supermarket sells souvenirs, shoes, clothes and beads at fixed reasonable prices. *For home décor, real bargains can be had at the big souvenir stores such as Krisna Oleh Oleh Khas Bali-Pusat Oleh Oleh.

* Ubud Health Care Clinic

Offers first-class care at affordable prices. Dr. Krishna and his team provides warm, meticulous and personalized treatment for viruses, insect bites, burns, bike accidents, etc. They’ll pick you up from your homestay, hotel or villa and drop you off again free of charge. Costs of treatment in this clean facility are very reasonable compared to the U.S. or Australia (example: US$150 for two days of in-house care, incl. IV meds, prescriptions, transport). The English-speaking staff is friendly, compassionate, efficient and knowledgeable. Wait times are not long. Medical doctors and nurses will answer all your questions, clearly explain what they’re doing, give you a comprehensive medical evaluation, show you videos of your condition, write prescriptions, drive you to the pharmacy, send photos of your injury to a qualified surgeon in Denpasar, recommend a specialist, print medical reports, receipts and any paperwork that you may need to submit a travel insurance claim or apply for a flight cancellation. After treatment or post hospitalization, the staff is readily available by phone. Hands-down it’s the best place to go in the Ubud area for almost any medical emergency. They also provide care for terminal illness, palliative elderly patient care and personal nurse care. Two locations: Jl. Sukma 37, Br. Tebesaya, Peliatan, tel. 821-8888-2273 (open 24/7); Jl. Raya Teges 8, Peliatan, tel. 811-3977-911.

  * Relocating? 

First read some “best countries for expats” lists on the web which might put some places on your radar. Reading blogs written by expats and watching YouTube videos by people who have moved to the country and are learning the ropes of living there can be informative, but keep in mind that what works for someone else may not work for you. Knowing someone local can make a world of difference when you move far from home. Meet friends at and Survey the country’s expat groups on Facebook which may have thousands of members who may have valuable insights and will approve your request to join if you express a desire to relocate there. Many cities with large expat populations also haves groups for specific neighborhoods, for foodies, for pet owners, for vegans, etc.

Beware Bali tattooists!

You’re putting your health at serious risk by getting cheap Aus$20 tattoos on Bali beaches, in filthy tattoo parlors, in a makeshift parlor on rooftop bars or even inside some dingy nightclub venues where the tattoo “artist” uses only a flashlight for a light. Some parlors use low quality ink while others have been linked to blood-borne infections, including HIV. Recipients have experienced chemical burns after getting a black henna tattoos. Though Hepatitis C is normally spread by sharing syringes, tattooists using needles that have not been properly sterilized also can cause this dreadful blood disease.

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Copyright © 2020 Bill Dalton

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