The Frugal Balinist

Free Internet calls

Google Duo is a simple mobile app for Android and iOS which lets users make high-def video calls. This is computer to computer or smartphone to smartphone high quality telephone calling, different from WhatsApp and Skype because you don’t need a telephone number. You can also leave a video message if the person you’re calling can’t pick up. Especially convenient if you have zero cell service in your area but strong Wi-Fi. When you’re not on Wi-Fi or your Wi-Fi is spotty, there’s a bit of a delay between accepting the call and when the caller can hear you, which can lead to some confusion, but still the call quality is adequate. Very simple interface, no bells and whistles, just works well!


Easy gardening

Spring onions (daun bawang) keep well if refrigerated with the stem ends placed in a glass of water. Lemongrass (sereh) grows readily in almost any soil, it’s bulbs and leaves constantly multiplying. It’s easily grown by putting the stem end of a stalk in water until the roots appear, then it can be potted or planted out in the garden. All types of Basil (daun selasih) can be grown easily in the garden or pot by simply putting several stems into the earth, water well. With enough sunshine and water, the stems will very soon take root and grow vigorously.


Avoid high traffic fines!

  1. If the police stop you at a police roadblock (razia zebra) for a violation, don’t try to bribe (minta damai). There are now CCTV cameras everywhere. 2. The cop will take your STNK (vehicle registration) and issue you with a “blue slip” (slip biru). You get one portion and he keeps the other portion; both bear the ticket number (tilang nomor register). You will be sent a copy of the ticket to your telephone number the next day. 3. Access and type in your ticket number. The website will show the fine amount, the date and location of your court appearance (sidang pengadilan). 4. If you think the amount is correct and fair, pay the official fine (pembayaran maksimum) at an ATM (BRI Bank ATMs are the most numerous). Take the payment receipt to the POLRES police station that issued the ticket and they’ll return your STNK. 5. If you don’t agree with the amount, you may appear at court within 5-7 days. The court appearance date and location will also be shown on the website after typing in your ticket number. 6. At the court (Kantor Pengadilan), you’ll have an opportunity to question the fine amount, state your side of the story and argue (politely!) for a lower fine. You’ll most likely pay substantially less because you’ll only be paying for the violation(s) you were guilty of. 7. Pay the fine at the court and get your STNK back.


Shutting doors and windows blocks out the beautiful mild tropical weather – what we came here for! Typically, an a/c unit should only be used in the bedroom at night to lessen the discomfort from the heat and humidity and sometimes in the living room to initially cool the room down a little. It’s far cheaper and more planet-friendly just to use fans when sleeping at night to stir the air and keep the crawlies off. Then it’s just a matter of becoming acclimatized to the warmer temperatures. When it gets hot, jump in the pool or take a cold-water shower using a gayung (dipper) elephant-fashion. In your front yard, construct a mini water fountain (air mancur) run with an electric pump which will help keep the whole house cool.


Go Hipwee!  

Much can be learned from the way smart young Indonesians travel to Bali as exemplified by the wild popularity of the Hipwee travel site. Resourceful young Javanese, determined to experience the best of Bali on a very limited budget, spend as little as Rp500,000 (for two!) on 4-5-day visit. (Even less than Chinese tourists in package tour groups who each pay around Rp800,000 for a 5-day stay in Bali.) They team up to rent a scooter (which can ride two) for only Rp50,000/day. They book Rp50,000 to Rp90,000 single rooms in homestays and hostels and order a foam mattress (which at Rp20,000 is less than an extra single bed for Rp50,000) where the tariff includes tea, toast or Jajan Bali (snacks). They eat Rp10,000 nasi campur (takeaway mixed rice meals or bungkus nasi campur) at roadside warung. They shop for inexpensive souvenirs at Pernak-Pernak Ceking in Desa Wisata Tegalalang and Kaos Barong in Desa Beng near Kantor Bupati Gianyar, both with high concentrations of woodcarvers, craft stalls and workshops. Sign up for Hipwee’s newsletter at


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Copyright © 2019 Bill Dalton

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