Since I have been here in Bali ( 14 days ) I have learned many useful things by myself, cross the street at your own risk you are invisible to traffic, don’t walk on the white tiles in storefronts when wet ( its like ice ). There are however a huge amount of things that newcomers like us can only learn from people who have been here for a while.
Jason and Mark have lived in Bali for a combined total of something like 40 years and their local knowledge is massive. Jason’s Indonesian ( Bahasa ) is of a very high standard ( local’s often comment on this ) and he is great at getting through to people.
Here’s some of the things Jason and Mark have told us and some of the ways we have acted on them.
1. We’d be better off living in Legian / Seminyak than in the middle of Kuta.
We’ve looked at places in both areas and agree. There are bargain basement places in the sticks, but its better for us to have close access to travelelrs and expats.
2. There are places where expats look / advertise houses for rent ( Krakatoa, Bali Land & Housing etc. )
We’ve visted them both and visted places, made calls.
3. Bali Advertiser is the expat paper.
We immediately picked one up. This really helped us to get a picture of what’s going on in the expat business community in general.
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4. Malaria is something that exists in Bali.
We immediately bought a couple of nets and used tape to glue them up.
5. There is an alternative to DEET ( the chemical used in mozzie repelent ). Jason has a bottle of stuff made in Singapore.
We’ll try to get some.
6. Get a safety deposit box at a bank.
We’ll get one today.
7. Rent a scooter by the month to start.
We’ll do this to begin with.
8. Be careful at some money changers. Mark told us they would count out the money, hand it to us, then grab it back to re count ( dropping one into their lap ).
The guy tried exactly this! I recounted and he then grabbed it back. I said screw you pal and took off with my dollars. Great tip and we were ready for any B.S.
9. The Balinese have a sense of humor that is different from us westerners.
I’ve watched locals interact and they seem to share quick comments and laugh often. Today at the breakfast table Sean, Putra and I got into a joking session. I said I liked Nasi Campur, Putra said ‘me too’ , Sean said ‘me 3’ Putra immediately came back with ‘me 4’ etc . I think this is the way its goes out here, there doesn’t have to be a big intro or punchline, people find humor in a moment.
10. Learn the language.
Observing Jason rap with the locals its obvious he’s got it under control and knows this environment. I have a lesson today at 4pm with Putu. This is my first step towards communicating outside the tourist scene and I’m looking forward to it greatly. I’ll probably never have Jason’s understanding or knowledge but am open to learning and sharing what knowledge I have.