Online retailers update. Bali computer stores seldom display marked prices. Even after being “discounted,” parts are 200%-400% higher than the standard prices of the same items listed by a variety of Indonesian online sellers. These bricks and mortar shops make a killing off tourists with computer problems who unsuspectingly wander into the shops. Reliable online sellers of electronics products and accessories that will ship to Bali include Diva Computer and Bukalapak, a forum for individual merchants. Lately, Bali residents ordering from Tokopedia report satisfying experiences. The stuff comes from different shops in Jakarta. Look for items with lots of 5-star reviews. If you think it might be a product that has high turnover or might otherwise be hard to come by, then check with the seller first to see if they have stock available before ordering. Pay online at an Indomaret and you can track your order online. Jakarta-based is also excellent for anything from computer cables, digital cameras, flash disks to guitar stuff, SSDs, smartphones, etc. No problems and offers fast, free shipping to Bali. The only “issue” for some is that the website is mainly in Indonesian..


Get Ready! The four successive religious holidays of Christmas, Galungan, New Years (Tahun Baru) and Kuningan will begin on Wednesday, December 25th and end Saturday, January 5th, 2019. Leading up to the largest series of festivities and ceremonies of the year, officials and law enforcement officers will be the most ardent in seeking auxiliary income in order to pay for all the extra expenses that their families will inevitably incur. There will be raids (razia), motorcycle and car roadside stops. No school for two weeks and a great time to buy new used motorcycles!


Health. Back problems seem less frequent in Bali because of the body’s absorption of Vitamin D. Human skin can make large amounts of Vitamin D when large areas of skin are exposed and the sun is high in the sky in the tropics. Taking a Vitamin D supplement can be of additional benefit for example a crooked spine that is destined only to worsen over time. *One simple way to increase fiber intake is to power up on rice bran, which is very rich in insoluble dietary fiber. Fiber helps prevent constipation. Like wheat bran in the West, rice husks used as a dietary fiber has received increasing attention from researchers and industry due to its beneficial effects on the reduction of cardiovascular and diverticulitis diseases, blood cholesterol, diabetes and colon cancer.


Smart money tips. With a KITAS, open a BNI or BCA bank account that offer the best array of services, widespread ATMs and Internet transfers to other branches in all over Indonesia. However, you need a Citibank or HCBC account to make international online transfers (though rates are generally poor). *Packaged products such as Rosella (Hibiscus) tea is a bargain on Bali. *Reduce your environmental impact and a dent in your wallet by eliminating recreational shopping & instead buying vintage (used) clothing at Tabanan’s Pasar Kodok. *Jl. Teuku Umar is Denpasar’s “handphone street” where hundreds of shops sell brand new and used models at bargain prices. A 3-year-old flagship ex-display smartphone, hardly used and in perfect condition, which originally sold for Rp10 juta, can set you back as little as           Rp1.3 juta here. *Smartphones will charge much faster if they’re plugged into a wall outlet rather a computer USB port. *“If a clansman owes no debt, great or small, to anyone, satisfaction and the bliss of debtlessness comes to him.” Buddha.


Travel pointers. Fuel is available all over Bali. Large Pertamina gas stations are the cheapest, typically about Rp7,000/litre, but there are plenty of fuel pumps along the highways and byways of southern Bali. Lookup on Google maps. Also innumerable single pump stops in villages that sell fuel and roadside stands that dispense from 1 litre vodka bottles at Rp10,000/litre, depending on where you are. Keep in mind that you can fill a 150cc motorcycle with 5 litres and travel around 230 km with a passenger. Expect to spend around Rp150,000 to reach the full range of your scooter, so plan refuels accordingly. *The going rate for taxi fare and private transfers from the airport or Denpasar to Ubud is Rp350,000, but if you bargain you can get it down to Rp300,000. *The price of a whole van is Rp600,000 for a full day from 9 am to 6/7pm. It’s the same price whether you are one person or five, but you can do/see what you want, stop where and when you want for however long or short you want and eat where and when you want. Half day is 6 hours. *At is a group of Ubud drivers who offer tours and transfer services; some drivers of sedans may agree to Rp400,000/8 hours.


Indonesian Driver’s License. If you have a KITAS or IKTA for a year, your Indonesian license (SIM) will be valid for only a year also. If have a retirement KITAS or KITAP for five years, then your Indonesian driver’s license  will be valid for five years. SIM A (Rp250,000) is used to drive a four-wheel car. A SIM C (Rp100,000 or Rp65,000 to renew) is used to drive a motorcycle. SIM B1 and SIM B Umum (Rp1,500.000) are needed, respectively, to drive a truck and a bus.


Ubud’s traffic woes. This overgrown village’s roads are narrow, overloaded and traffic can be moderate to horrendous. Some of the worst road-cloggers are daytrippers from southern areas, big (Chinese) tour buses and piles of rubble/roadworks at odd times. Local clogging adds to the mix as Gojek (motorbike taxis) aren’t allowed in Ubud, a one-way system (many roads too narrow for 2-way) and virtually no public transport and scant parking. So the oversized ‘local transport driver’ cars have to spend longer times on the road than a map quest would suggest. Cut down on congestion and expense by not taking shuttles from your residence or accommodation across town to a place you’ve seen reviews of rather than the cafe/massage/warung next door.


Preventative maintenance. If your car is over 10-years old, your cooling system should be regularly serviced (servis radiator) to prolong the life of the vehicle and prevent more expensive repairs later on. Smoke or steam escaping from under the hood, loud hissing noises and having to refill the radiator often are signs that your engine is overheating and needs servicing. The car’s temperature is maintained by the radiator, hoses, cooling fan, water pump, thermostat, coolant, pressure cap, overflow tank reservoir and other miscellaneous engine parts. Servicing should be done every 2 years or 50,000 km (30,000 miles), whichever comes first. For only around Rp200,000, your radiator will be taken out and completely drained, flushed, repaired and simple parts replaced. Allow a whole day. Afterwards, keep your radiator always full of a 50/50 mix of a coolant like Prestone (Rp80,000/378 L) and water.


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Copyright © 2018 Bill Dalton

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