I know so many people who think they can do it alone / They isolate their heads and stay in their saftey zones

  • The man who took my car battery last night said, in Indonesian, that the battery will be ready in the morning and that I should bring the car in to have it fitted. It took a couple of slow explanations (it may have been my fractured Indonesian of course) to point out that the 20km to his benkel might prove too far to push the hulking beast. A friend on Facebook said something about it all being very zen.
    This morning, as if to underline that, he turned up with a brand new top of the range battery to replace the older one we’d bought a year or so ago – free of charge. It wasn’t inside the warranty period but it seemed they thought it was the right thing to do, and at their cost. How often does that happen?
  • I’d forgotten that teenagers sleep so much. Did I? I guess I did. But I’m thinking that Isabella has my night-owl genes as she sleeps half to day, only to rise around noon to stagger to the computer to communicate (rarely with us for an hour or two unless it’s in snarls, it improves after food is administered). Myself, I think I used to crawl out and place headphones on at that stage, while mum pointed angrily at the festering pile that was my bedroom.
  • The madness continues … Indonesia, in its usual perplexingly irrational way, has tightened up the importation of alcohol to a frankly insane level. The argument from the lads in Jakarta is that there was so much untaxed stuff being smuggled in that something had to be done, so the license to import booze was all given to one company (just, funnily enough, coincidently like every other state defined monopoly, owned by one of the good old boys) in Jakarta, and the duty was raised to amongst the highest in the world. How to kill the higher spending end of the tourist market – while Malaysia and Thailand are pulling in tens of millions of tourists a year, Indonesia, even with Bali as it’s jewel, staggers towards 5 or 6 million.The end result, aside from bottles of AUD$7 Australian and Chilean paint stripper retailing for US$50 each is that we, in the past two weeks, have been to a Belgian Beer Bar that has no Belgian beers, and a Japanese restaurant that had no bloody Sake. Oh, and the smugglers, with the help of the rather inevitable little customs lubrication, are back at it with a very thirsty market. I’m rather over it and would do just about anything for a well-stocked wine shop (or restaurant) at reasonable prices. Or even a bloody Stella Artois….
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  • We’re moving – or rather have been forced out. The folks around us, the locals, have decided to build right to the boundaries – three of the four – a selection of gruesome concrete block monstrosities, all completely illegal of course but that’s neither here nor there in the gilded isle where the law will happily bend as far as your wallet will open.

Oh, and for good measure, a bunch of young guys have, joy, opened a motorcycle repair business – the sort where they take the mufflers off and rev loudly to show the watching young girls just how well appended they are – out the front. The serenity and peace of Bali. It’s time to move to Seminyak – at least I can stagger off to a beachfront bar to hide from it all. Once you step outside the tourist myths the concrete block and badly tuned motorbike are increasingly as close as you get to the real Bali.

  • I think I need a holiday

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