The Frugal Balinist

Live healthier cheaper

Why battle traffic to visit doctors for health consultations that do not necessitate therapy or a medical procedure? Have you ever tried to contact a doctor by telephone? Thankfully, a growing number of Indonesian physicians are using social media, especially blogs and Twitter, to offer a wide diversity of reliable non-diagnostic health advice and even live-chat services to thousands of followers who ask questions not just about nutrition, children’s health, diet, sexual health, cholesterol or diabetes, but also about deeper medical issues. Tanya Dokter (Ask the Doctor) and KlikDokter let people send questions about health problems that are answered by general practitioners and specialists, usually within 24 hours. Optimal medical examinations cannot be carried out online, so doctors will not make diagnoses, as they don’t want to bear any legal liability. Symptoms of a disease might be misread if they are being described through live-chat or email. If a question indicates the need for further examination, patients will be advised to see a physician in person to ensure accuracy.


Island-wide hikes

Leading up to the upcoming major holidays of Galungan, Kuningan (starting 05Jan19), and Tahun Baru (New Years), the city streets of every district in Bali will be blocked off to make way for 24-hour night markets (pasar sengol) where all manner of snacks, clothing, toys, shoes, tools, cheap appliances and sundries are sold at local prices (if you bargain). The very best food stalls will be packed. During Manis Kuningan, the day after Kuningan, families escape en masse to crowded high-altitude environments like Tirtagangga, Kebon Raya, Kintamani and Yeh Panes. This is cockfighting season (musim tajen) and card-playing (ceki) season when rural Balinese families are financially stressed because of menfolks’ gambling losses (best time to buy cows, pigs and used motorcycles and cars!). Matahari, Ramayana, Robinson and Hardy’s department stores offer clearance sales (cuci gudang) of 25% to 75% off. At Bali Galleria (Kuta), Mal Galleria (Kuta) and Bali Collection (Nusa Dua), numerous promos are offered by department stores and cinemas.


Go electric!

Join the Green Energy movement to reduce your carbon footprint in our world. Electric ebikes (sepeda listrik) save fuel costs and reduce air pollution. These “pedal-assist” bikes with integrated electric motors – a cross between a bicycle and a motorcycle – allow the rider greater speed with less effort. On motorized bikes you can easily pedal uphill. A selection of ebikes and escooters can be seen in the Selis Bali showroom in Denpasar. Don’t forget to ask the friendly and helpful manager for a thorough list of what needs to be done for maintenance and to get the ebike ready for the required annual inspection. Selis Bali does service calls, too. Average cost of models is around Rp20 juta. With an installment payment plan, you can drive away for as little as Rp400,000 down. Address: Jl. Teuku Umar 216, Dauh Puri Kauh, Denpasar, tel: 0361-474-8205. Hours 9 am-6 pm.



Good sense for The Wet

To keep mosquitoes from laying eggs, add a handful of neem leaves to small pond or pools. Neem leaves will help stop mosquitoes from breeding, but won’t harm other pond creatures. Frogs, lizards and fish, especially tilapia fish, will feed on mosquito eggs and larvae. *Excess water in the wet season can be stored in ponds to prevent water laying stagnant on the ground. Rainwater can be stored in tanks, but usually tanks will not hold all of it. Extra water can be stored in the ground, in ponds and by trees that store water in their roots, trunk, branches and leaves. Dig a shallow trench around your house in places where the rain falls, then fill with gravel. Use the soil from digging the trench to make the ground higher so that the water flows away from the house. This will help keep the house dry during the wet season. Water can be run to vegetable gardens, compost pits, etc. Edges of garden pathways can also function as swales to collect and hold water. Dig new holes for trees, but leave them empty to fill with rain, which will soften the soil so that when trees are planted at the end of the wet season, they will grow better.


Beware the Tick.

Ticks attack dogs in between their toes and in their ears. Brush down and wash your dog with watered down shampoo regularly. Introduce Bravecto into his food which you can buy for Rp90,000/bottle from pet shops or Hardy’s. You’ll get around 4-5 months of treatments from one bottle, enough for two dogs. For animals, the Balinese use the tick powder Bedak Doris (Rp24,000-Rp45,000 depending on size bottle) and natural remedies. For example, they first remove the tick, then slice a lemon which they apply to the wound. For cows and kerbau (ox), the Balinese scrub vinegar (cuka; Rp1,500 for small bottle) onto the tick bite. They also feed their livestock whole papaya leaves which turns the animal’s blood bitter, repelling ticks. Alternatively, Sunset Vet (Kuta: tel. 0361-934-8915; Ubud: tel. 0361-975-296) for Rp100,000 will send someone around to give your dog a shot and apply treatment against ticks. BAWA is also able to give good advice as regards ticks.


Shopping Pointers

Ubud’s markets are prone to rip off people and vendors can be pushy. Prices are much lower at the souvenir shops Krishna and Jogger. The main market Pasar Ubud is pricier than Sukawati Market where not only crafts, home decorations, statuary, carving, bags, clothing and other artwork are sold, but also heaps of Indonesian-style dresses, shirts, scarves, cushions, handbags, as well as household wares go at terrific bargains. It’s no accident that lines of busses full of thrift-conscious Javanese shoppers are always parked along the road outside. *Pie Susu is a small cake and popular Bali souvenir. It’s cheaper to buy at the factory itself on Jalan Nangka in Denpasar at Rp1,500 each. *Pusat Pernak Pernik in Ceking village near Pasar Sukawati is the place to buy bracelets, all kinds of art and decorations. *Bali Pulina in Buleleng, North Bali, is the bargain place to buy famous Balinese civet coffee. *Indonesian tourists buy Seniman brand coffee which sells at the low local price. The Balinese themselves prefer to just drink kopi palsu (adulterated coffee) like Warkop, Bali’s cheapest coffee that is mixed with ground corn and dried rice. They are not fond of real coffee like Westerners, mostly because of its high cost. Middle class Indonesians drink the Kopi Bubuk Banyuatis brand from Singaraja. The upper class favors the Kopi Bali Cap Kupu Kupu Bola Dunia brand.


Make shoes last!

Keep shoes on a shoetree to give perspiration and other moisture time to completely dry out. If your shoes get wet, stuff them with newspaper and let them dry slowly. Indonesians dry them in the sun. Store shoes in dry area where they can get fresh air and not mold. Give them a break; don’t wear the same pair every day. After each wearing, clean shoes with soft, dry cloth. Keep leather shoes lubricated and protected by polishing with Kiwi shoe polish (Rp16,000) regularly. Most liquid polishes contain little or no wax and may cause shoes to dry out.


Industry killer

Recent government regulations are very unfavorable and clearly do not support the solar industry as it imposes extra charges to people who want grid-connected solar installation. Solar panel owners are now losing 35% of their generation and make it literally impossible to sell solar panels in Indonesia. The new regulation, an alternative energy industry killer to protect PLN, is creating a real headache for everyone, seriously impact initial investment, generation and savings over 25 years.


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Copyright © 2019 Bill Dalton

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