June 28 – August 10, 2016
Our Air Asia 737 flew circles at 25,000 feet above Denpasar, Bali while mild turbulence bounced us up and down. Good thing air travel nowadays does not provide a whole heck of a lot of services… our tummies were empty. The storm outside prevented us from landing on the runway that juts out into the Indian Ocean until visibility was better. We figured the landing was going to be an interesting one, but thankfully as quick as the weather rolls in on these beautiful tropical islands, the weather rolls out and our landing ended up being just fine.
We were so grateful we pre-arranged a taxi ride with a driver we met from our first trip to Ubud. Wayan (in his ‘batmobile’) waited for us and we were able to walk by all the greedy airport taxi drivers asking 600,000 IDR (“good deal” they tell the arriving tourists) for a trip that is normally 300,000 IDR. He dropped us off at our homestay in Ubud at 1:30am and we snuck into our room to the sounds of crickets and frogs croaking.
Allow us to digress for a moment …
Merriam-Webster defines chai tea as a beverage that is a blend of black tea, honey, spices and milk.
Mark defines chai tea (latte) simply as a hug in a cup.
Christine defines chai tea (latte) as her most favourite drink… ever!
Now, back to the trip …
Super tired, we opened Mark’s backpack and were surprised with sugary chai tea latte powder all over EVERYTHING! Literally a last minute purchase in Perth, we thought we would treat ourselves to our favorite drink while hanging out in Ubud for two months. It seemed to be wrapped well, but this was not the first time Air Asia baggage handlers had broken something. We were too tired to deal with it, and since we were moving to our more-permanent Ubud home the next day we let the powder “fester” for the night.
The following day, we picked up a bunch of supplies for our new home (rubber gloves, bleach, vinegar, Mr. Muscle – hey, even if it is toxic, sometimes you have to kill the germs, especially if the germs are in a warm, humid, wet home that we have never stepped foot in before). Then we grabbed our backpacks, jumped in our taxi, and went to our home for the next two months, the ‘Made Yoga House’ (pronounced mad-ay).
So much to clean and get sorted that we left Mark’s backpack on the patio for a few hours. When it finally was moved… there was a swarm of ants underneath and inside his backpack.
Ants everywhere drawn to the humid, sugary powder!
Mark stripped everything out and threw it in the tub… As ants attempted to tread water, Mark cursed and sent hundreds, maybe a thousand of the medium size ones down the drain to their demise.
This is one time Mark felt no sorrow for taking the life of an insect.
Everything had to be washed and then washed again. Some items were just abandoned and thrown out. Lesson learned!
Marks new definition of Chai tea (latte) is a dreadful processed drink that is brutally bad for you, that smells disgusting and should only be consumed by human beings if made from scratch in fresh batches.
Our place was ‘cleaned’ before we moved in… but ‘Bali clean’ is not our clean! Dishes covered in gecko and other insect poop had to be bleached, toilets and showers scrubbed, floors washed and windows cleaned .
The kitchen sink leaks into a container already in place to catch the leaks – and likely attract rodents. Mark, being happy to repair the sink, asks for a part. The response is that the sink is cheap and needs replacing, so we just empty the drip container every day!
Mark washed the floors and bathrooms to make them all shiny… but, lost in translation, this Mr. Muscle is a window cleaner in Bali, not a chemical disinfectant!
Not eager to have squeaky, shiny butt skin, the toilets had to be re-scrubbed and disinfected.
Not so luxurious bath towels, one each, came with the home. The hole in the dirt bike towel frames the bum beautifully – discovered by accident! (We have a great picture of Mark’s bum through the tear/hole in his towel… sadly it was edited out).
And don’t get Mark started on the pillows. They are old, stinky and beep, beep, beep. For a 260,000 IDR pillow investment at the local store we are able to lay our head to rest without catching MRSA, VRE, Enterococcus faecalis, E.coli, Yeast, Staphylococci, Klebsiella pneumonia, Bacillus species, Gram-positive coci, and/or diphtheroids.
Traditional Bali living is outside. Only the bedroom and bathroom have a door on them. The kitchen and living space are all outside, under a roof but fully exposed to nature. Awesome! But takes a bit of getting used to!!
First night: Geckos poop everywhere, Mark walks into the bathroom to shower only to have a large Tokay gecko (up to 35 centimeters long) scare the begeezes out of him – thankfully, he (Mark!) did not leave any poop on the floor.
Second night: Big frog comes for a visit. Mark has to kill 3 large black bees so Christine will go into the bathrooms (1 in 1 bathroom and 2 building a large nest under the sink in the other bathroom).
Third night: Fireflies came to great us. Very cool!
Fourth night: A different frog, and larger gecko watched over us while we ate. Even a teeny frog smaller than a pinky toe that could jump 6 feet.
Fifth morning: Sitting have breakfast and a large rat came happily bouncing in front of us.
Check out this video of a few playing in our garden.
By the fifth evening, we do not even flinch when a cockroach goes walking across the counter.
The really large gecko (over a foot) that hangs above our bed is still a bit creepy! If not the whole body, you just see the tail. The mosquito net above the bed protects the bed from droppings the size of a quarter. Only problem is … the mosquito net is too hot to sleep under (no air conditioning) – we tape our mouths shut while sleeping 😉
And more creatures all the time! Really big grasshoppers. Ants rule this world. Small lizards all over the yard. A small and larger snake. Both “not dangerous” we are told.
Unless the snake is green. A bite from it and it is an immediate emergency trip for anti-venom – if you can survive the ambulance ride!
Two centipedes so far… those can bite. Oh, and rice field rats. They were playing in the garden. So cute compared to the large, filthy city rats. Christine tells herself they are like big mice. So far, they stay in the garden… but remember… we have no walls!!!
A fantastic experience! We have an outdoor ‘movie theatre’ complete with a mighty 11″ screen. Our blue tooth speaker completes the surround sound experience that George Lucas only wishes he could re-create. Our 600 ml Bintang Indonesian beer keeps our thirst at bay while we sit on the patio watching the movie, fireflies and listening to all the nightlife watching and waiting for us to turn in for the night. (Christine keeps her headlamp with her at all times to scope out the noises!).
There is even a papaya tree out back providing us with fresh papaya on a regular basis. Here is a short video of a delicious papaya coming our way.
Our landlord’s wife, Nyoman, drops by in her stealth-like mode almost daily to bring the customary offerings and keep the evil spirits away. Our investigative skills have taught us that if we are home between 3:00 and 3:30pm, we must be dressed, decent and presentable to prevent any sort of embarrassing moments.
We are truly loving our little “Made Yoga House” as we explore Ubud, meet great people and make new friends.
…Mark and Christine … doing a little less roaming… at the moment.
Sample Costs, living in Bali
Rent – 7,000,000 IDR or $700 CDN per month. 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 2 bum gun villa approximately 1200 square feet nestled in the rice fields. No neighbours… so peaceful.
Water – 20,000 IDR or $2 CDN for the big jugs (18 gallons). Need more? Text Ketut and he delivers on his scooter!
Electricity – 200,000 IDR or $20 CDN for about 2 weeks. They prepay here so when the money runs out, the lights go off! No warning. Need more? Text Ketut and he loads it up.
Gas for the 2 burner cooktop… so far we are using the old tank here when we moved in.
Transport – Need a van back from town $5 – $7 CDN depending on which part of town you are coming from. So we walk, with our groceries. We have taxi’d twice so far. If you get on the back of a local’s scooter it is $4 CDN (no helmet!).
Laundry – A 10 minute walk. 2 sheets, 2 towels and 3 pillow cases is $2.40 CDN