The Frugal Balinist


View new movies online via *Eating healthy food out doesn’t come any cheaper than the Rp50,000 all-you-can-eat buffet at Veggie Karma in Ubud. *Warung Sukun, on the main road in Desa Les on the north coast, serves grilled fish fresh from the ocean at local prices. *If you buy books at Ganesha Bookstore, on Ubud’s main street near the post office, you can return them for a 50% refund or store credit. *For the cheapest and most delicious bungkus nasi campur in Sanur, order the Rp25,000 Rice Wrap Men Weti from an online motorcycle taxi service. Warung Nasi Bali Men Weti is always crowded but ordering online is faster. *Frame Your Posts! Even amateur candid shots on a smartphone look sharp in the Framebridge Instagram Mini Frame in Ventura. Pull a photo or a few off your recipient’s social media, or take some yourself of something they love, for an easy, inexpensive and very personal gift. *Because air cargo freight rates are so extremely high right now (increase of 300% in only 4 months), the cost of shipping an item now often exceeds the value of the item. It’s now cheaper to ship overland. *The Blue Sea Jet is an affordable high-speed full a/c catamaran that covers the distance between Bali and Gili Trawangan in about two hours from Padang Bai (Economy OW Rp600,000, Business OW Rp700,000) or from Benoa (Economy OW Rp700,000, Business OW Rp800,000). Book at tel. 0361-464 032/0812-381-9724.


Water tank tips

Bali’s water situation will become dire over the next several years. PDAM is struggling to provide water for the south. Even this year with almost continual rain and an almost nonexistent dry season, people living on the Bukit are drilling 150-m-deep-plus wells and all they find is salt water because of ingress of the sea. There’s already a lucrative market transporting water to expensive houses. A water tank (tangki air) ensures a steady supply of water for the household in case electricity is down, water pressure is uneven, the automatic water pump malfunctions or PDAM’s water supply is cut off. The tank sits on top of a tower that allows water flow downward at an even and steady pressure. Ours is simply a concrete tank supported by a 5-m-high tall tower constructed of concrete blocks (batako) with a roof over the top to keep out birds, leaves and rain. Even if you have a roof, lay a sheet of triplek (plywood) over the tank to keep the water from growing algae and to prevent dust, gecko poop, flies and mosquitoes from entering. Attach a ladder to the outside so you can clean the tank every month. If you have a plastic tank, paint it with a water-based paint to reduce sunlight penetrating inside the tank, stop algae growth and protect the plastic from strong ultra-violet light, thus substantially extending its life.


Tis the season of heavy rains, thunder and lightning

To avoid being zapped by lightening, get out of the Jacuzzi or swimming pool, keep a distance from electrical poles and high-voltage towers, don’t stand under a tree or in the middle of rice fields or gardens, don’t try to drive a motorcycle or car through a lightning storm (stop driving and take shelter inside a building).


Bargain camping

Kemah Bukit Asah (“Silent Hill”), Jl. Raya Ulakan near Desa Bugbug, Karangasem is a hillside camping and picnicking site that overlooks the Indian Ocean, offshore rock formations and small islands with distant views of Mt. Agung. If it’s clear, also views of Rinjani’s volcanic peak on Lombok. Located 30 min. from Candidasa (Rp250,000 roundtrip by car or Rp100,000 roundtrip by motorcycle) along a small coastal road. Just follow the signposts from the village of Bugbug. Entrance Rp45,000. The campground rents new tents (4 person Rp150,000) set up on platforms, which come with mattresses, blankets, sheets and pillows. Showers, toilets, lockers and firewood also available so you can light a fire at night. Small warung sell snacks, noodles and drinks or they’ll cook for you (or bring your own cooking gear). For superb sunrises, a hidden white sand “Virgin Beach” is 15-minute walk downhill or rent a motorbike to take you there and back. Rent lounge chairs (Rp50,000).


Airport KITAS desk

Those with a KITAS visa must report to immigration within 30-days of arrival in Indonesia. Without a valid KITAS issued in your name, you’ll be fined Rp300,000 per day, get deported back to your home country and blacklisted from returning to Indonesia for 6 months. To make it easier for KITAS holders, a special desk has now been established at Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport that eliminates the need to report to an immigration office. A KITAS can now be processed on-the-spot upon the holder’s arrival in Indonesia.


Know your satpam!

A satpam is a professional uniformed security guard, sometimes licensed, who patrols his employer’s property. Besides guarding against burglaries and robberies, satpam also serve to ward off policemen or fake government officials coming around for a handout or donation. They are sometimes permitted to carry a weapon, but more often are armed with a small knife. They usually arrive at around 9 pm and sleep in the house or in a small room on the property. Room and board are provided free and their salaries can range from Rp2,750,000 to Rp3 juta per month. (In the villages, if you know the family, one can be hired for around Rp2 juta per month.) You have to pay him extra if also drives. Westerners don’t usually hire a satpam from the same village they live in (because they could show favoritism) but prefer hiring one from another village. The best way to find out if a satpam is honest, which should be your paramount concern, is to ask him to provide: 1) a letter of good behavior (SKCK or surat keterangan kepolisian from POLSEK or POLRES); 2) his personal history (riwayat hidup) from the perbekel (kepala desa or village head) and klian adat (head of traditional   village law).


Travel alerts

Be careful where you park on Denpasar’s Jl. A. Yani, Jl. Cokroaminoto and Jl. Jepun where Illegally parked cars are now regularly towed away, their wheels locked, tires deflated or their windows covered with highly adhesive stickers. *Free transport is now offered to students and university students on Bali’s Trans Sarbagita public bus system. *In an underhanded way of raising air fares, Citilink, Lion Air and Wings Air have eliminated checked luggage allowance in their base ticket prices on domestic routes. In the recent past, passengers on these airlines were given an allowance of 20 kg included in the ticket price. These new checked baggage rules imposed by low-cost domestic airlines severely restricts the ability to bring back home gifts and souvenirs (oleh-oleh). *Flamingo Beach Club, Saba Beach, North of Sanur, managed by The Bali Zoo, is a kid-centered 1,500-m property with an ocean-side pool, playground and a collection of tropical photo spots designed for Instagram sharing with a backdrop of Pink African Flamingos. Weekend activities include painting, butterfly release and kite making. The admission cost of Rp100,000 per person can be applied against food and beverage costs.


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Copyright © 2019 Bill Dalton

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