The Frugal Balinist

Back to school tips

Be warned that stalls that set up on school grounds or on sidewalks outside schools hawk teh gelas, chocolates, puffed corn, rice snacks and sugary powder drinks with high levels of fat and sugars and zero nutritional value. Bali’s international schools have their own canteens which serve healthier fare. *From mid-June to mid-July is the most expensive and most crowded time to fly around Indonesia. Avoid traveling during these hectic months altogether. *Pertinent discussions about schooling in Bali can be found on the Bali Expat Forum website.*Copy shops around schools tend to have the best prices for copying and scanning. *The cheapest food stalls (warung) are found around schools. If the parking lot is packed with motorcycles, it means the place is full of students from nearby schools who go there for the discounted pop mie (Rp2000), bakso (Rp5000), mie ayam (Rp5000) and drinks (Rp1000). *The best time to buy a pig or used motorbike is during school enrollment time when families are stressed paying out for school fees upfront.


Back to the garden

Build a strong animal and fowl proof fence that can be made cheaply and easily from local resources such as sticks and earth bricks or buy pagar kawat (wire fencing) or pagar kawat kasa (mesh fencing). A water source is needed nearby. If it’s too far, your housekeeper may not have the desire to water the plants. Build a garden at the bore-pump (sumur bor) to make use of the wastewater. Buy only non-hybrid open pollinated vegetable seeds indigenous to the area, which are more resilient to pests and local conditions. Hybrid commercial seeds from farmer’s stores are weak and require chemicals. Use flat topped raised beds as wide as two arm’s length, allowing the gardener to reach the center of the bed without having to step on the bed and compact the soil. The harsh sun damages open soils, so mulch all soils. Mulch turns into nutrients in the soil. Mulched soil is more productive, more pest resistant, conserves moisture in dry periods and protects the soil from erosion in heavy downpours. Fertilize gardens weekly. Use animal manure to make compost and liquid fertilizers. Mulch crops can be grown nearby to cut and refurbish the garden’s mulch. Grow food everywhere. Climbing vines can be grown on a fence, shade tolerant plants can grow under tree canopies. Wastewater can irrigate a pumpkin patch.


Travel sense

Domestic air travel has become costlier. Direct tickets from Jakarta to Bali: Garuda Rp1,951,100; Citilink Rp1,610,000; Lion Air Rp1,126,000; Sriwijaya Air Rp1,732,500. You can lower these airfares by changing your departure times and routes. Additionally, Indonesian domestic airlines have abolished checked baggage allowances and have limited carry-on luggage to just 7 kg. Substantial charges are now applied for checked baggage. As a result, different types of land travel are now becoming popular because it allows passengers to bring more luggage on their journeys. *On the upside, many of the Bali’s hotels offer rooms at 50% off what they cost in July and August. Spring is also the best time to head to Europe without the crowds. Airfare is about 20% cheaper in March, April and May versus June, July and August, – savings that can add up to between $160 and $210 a ticket. *Procedures for processing a 10% VAT tax refund has become more user friendly at Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport. Instead of spending a minimum of Rp500,000 at a single shop on a single day, travelers are now allowed a refund if shopping receipts from a (limited) number of qualified shops across a number of shopping days totaling Rp500,000.


Finding the right school

There is a wide variety of preschools, neighborhood kindergartens (taman kanak-kanak or TK) as well as international standard (sekolah bertaraf internasional) schools (Gandhi, Dyatmika, Taman Rama National Plus School, Bali Island School, Asian International School Bali, tri-lingual Chis School, etc.) offering international curriculums at a cost less than foreign international schools. To find the one most appropriate for your child, first ask friends and colleagues what schools they recommend. Visit at least three schools to meet the principal and teachers and assess the environment and atmosphere. Computers and flashy toys don’t make a school; what matters most is your child’s experience. How long has the school been operating? How much schooling do members of the teaching staff have? What is the child-to-teacher ratio? How clean are the bathrooms and cooking areas? Where are diapers changed? How good are the school’s fire and building safety standards? Check out the library? Do the kids appear well occupied, healthy and well cared for? Are the toys accessible, safe and appropriate for their ages? Is the school van safe?


Open for business!

Denpasar’s newly rebuilt 4-storey Pasar Badung, Bali’s largest public market located it the heart of its capital city, now opens every morning at 4 am. Though still retaining the charm of a traditional market, it has been updated to modern, hygienic standards with escalators, handicap access and tabletop vendors and enclosed kiosks selling fresh meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, spices, herbs and flowers at local prices. Now there’s a children’s play area and an adjoining river walk that is popular with anglers (closes at night). Wear good shoes as the potholed pathways as you wriggle your way through the chaos can be muddy and slippery. At the Pasar Seni Kumbasari across the river, entrance is free and the prices are half or a third cheaper from normal tourist souvenir shops; open 6 am-12 am. Even parking a bicycle can be problematic due to the lack of space, so the cheapest and easiest way to go there is by using Grab (Rp100,000 for two from Kuta). *An even bigger produce market is the 24-hour indoor-outdoor Pasar Badung Baru in North Denpasar on Jl. Cokrominato near Ubung. Vendors start setting up the open-air stalls at 6 am. Dirt cheap prices!


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Copyright © 2019 Bill Dalton

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