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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Random Notes in the Wee Morning Hours

Thanks to the abundance of mosquitoes in my room, I’m up blogging at 3.50am. Seriously, I was up for 30 minutes and within that time, I killed 9 mosquitoes, 6 of them were full with blood. Urghh!!

Thank god the World Cup is on. Italy vs. Germany. The game has been very exhilarating so far. Both teams have made fantastic tries for goal, the best so far from Germany; just inches away above the top beam. It’s half time right now, so I have 15 minutes until the excitement begins again.

Good God!! Why is the commentator from TV1 speaking like such a robot? Giller formal!! Loosen up man, its football!!

Wah!! Haji Zainal Abidin is in Dortmund watching the game right now. What I wouldn’t give to be where he is right now.

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I have 10 minutes left. I think I’ll jot down a few advice notes for friends and readers who might like to visit Bali.

TRANSPORT

Airport Taxi: Prices are usually fixed, but you can try to negotiate for better rates. You can tip the driver. Remind him not to drive too fast.

Bemo: Local basic transportation. If you want a taste of the local life, the bemo is the way to go. Cheap but crowded and noisy. Not to mention sometimes smelly. You’ll most probably be charged 5 to 10 times the local’s rate. Try to negotiate the price to 50%.

Bicycles: Cycling can be a cheap and enjoyable way to get around. Not sure about the rental. Remember, you DO NOT have the right of way. This is a very different driving environment than US or Europe.

Driving: Some people like to rent cars and drive themselves to tourist sites. Not advisable as road signs are a rare sight. You’ll probably get lost and spend too much time trying to get directions. Best to rent a car with a driver. Depending on the driver, you can pay him according to distance or pay him by the hour. Motorcycles are for those with an immortality pact with God!!!

Taxis: Make sure the driver resets the meter before you start off. You may negotiate on the price beforehand. Remember, if you want the driver to wait for you while you go shopping or have a meal, negotiate on a flat rate as the meter will be kept running.

HEALTH CARE

Bali Belly: Anyone not accustomed to the difference in cleanliness and bacteria in Bali should check out the “looks” of the restaurant carefully before sitting down. However, even the clean looking places can give you a problem. Sometimes Bali Belly is something you can’t avoid. If you do have a health problem, there are many pharmacies (called Apotik) that can provide you with medicine or help.

Drugs: Indonesia has very strict laws when it comes to drugs. If found in your procession, you may be facing prison or the gallows. Be careful, sometimes people selling drugs do not may not be who they appear to be.

Malaria: Bali is considered Malaria free but dengue fever is still a problem. Guard against mosquitoes and bring insect repellant.

Medical: Instead of calling for an ambulance, get a taxi instead. There are several western standard clinics in the Kuta area: BIMC (Bali International Medical Center) 761263 and SOS Medika (International SOS Clinic) 755768. Ask your hotel if you need help.

Tattoos: Temporary tattoos maybe harmful as many use a chemical textile dye that is not for human use. Henna tattoos are problem free. Chemical tattoos are very black while henna tattoos are not so black.

Water: Unless you want to be vomiting every hour or so, DO NOT DRINK THE TAP WATER!! Drink only bottled water and bottled drinks. Most ice is considered safe.

MISCELLANEOUS

Attending Ceremonies: Remember, these are very serious occasions and should be treated as such. Always wear a sarong and a sash, or at the very least cover you body when attending the ceremonies. Do not walk in front of people praying. Never sit higher than the priest. Women are not allowed to enter a temple during menstruation, same goes for anyone with a bleeding wound.

Culture: Try not to step on the offerings in the street. Yes, they will be everywhere so be aware. Walk around them. Do not beep your horn when you come to a religious procession. Be patience and wait.

Leaving: Reconfirm your flight at least 72 hours prior to flying. Airport Departure Tax is Rp. 100,000 for international flights (per person) and Rp. 20,000 for domestic flights, so don’t finish all your cash shopping. Arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight.

Moneychangers: There are two kinds of money changers: one that charges commission and one that doesn’t. The ones charging commission usually give a higher rate but the commission is taken off the total. We feel it is best to deal with the no commission charging moneychangers. Loom for a sign that says NO COMMISSION. Always count your money before you leave the place. Bring your own calculator if you can, sometimes the ones used at the places are “fixed”.

Petty Crime: Bali is relatively safe. However use your hotel safe if you have one. If not, carry all your valuables in a front pouch. On the street, you’re mostly safe but you should beware of people stealing stuff from your hotel room.

Shopping: Always bargain the price, starting at 50% or more. Department store prices are fixed, though.

Street and Beach Vendors: DO NOT LOOK! DO NOT ASK HOW MUCH. If you look or ask, you’ll be followed for miles. If they approach you, just say firmly you’re not interested. Some may be persistent, stand you ground.

The Beach: Surf and under currents are very dangerous along the Kuta Beach. Swim between flags only. Do not leave your belongings unattended on the beach.

Tipping: There’s no hard rule on tipping in Bali. However a minimum of Rp. 2,000 per person for a meal is much appreciated. Some hotels and restaurants already add on service charge amounting to 21% on top of the bill, so best check your bill before you add on any extra tips.

Tours: Many agents offer a variety of tours with guides, including a half-day trip or daylong tours including lunch and visits to shops, temples and performances. Try to skip the shops; the prices will be jacked up way high.

Walking: Be sure to look and listen while you cross the road. Crosswalks are pretty lines on the road with no actual meaning. Motorbikes never stop; they will weave around you so be careful if you’re crossing in a large group.

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The match is back on. 79th minute and still no goal. Some substitutes have been made by both team and some fabulous tries have also happened. I predict the game will go to a penalty shoot out, how boring.

Ballack is going to take a free kick in front of the goal. Alamak!! Too high!!!

Yawwwnnnnn…..I’m gonna be totally dead at work later on.

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Edited: OH MY GOD!!!! Italy just scored at the 118th minute!! Fabio Grosso just scored a beautiful goal.

OH MY GOD!!! Italy just scored again!! Allesandro Del Piero!! 120th minute!!! Italy is through to the finals!!!! Germany is in tears.

Oh my God!! I'm screaming and laughing all alone in the living room. For some bizzare reason, tears are running down my face. What a climax!!! Marvelous game!!!

I have 1 hour of sleep before I have to wake up and get ready for work. I'm too pumped up, there's no way I'm gonna sleep. Damn World Cup.

4 comments:

Syikin said...

hehe..along blh jadi pengulas sukan lah..yg last dok komen masuk gol tu buat saya excited sama.ahaks.

thanks for the bali tips tu

aapitz said...

aahahahaa....along tgk bola

aku tgk jugak, kenkadang lerr, yg mostly 9 - 11 game or 11 - 3

Tapi yg most remembered, time ghana vs brazil, dah expected brazil mesti menang, tapi at least i want ghana to score jugak at least 1...but i think they have tried their best

England - the first two games england main...boring giler...too careful ... tak xcited tgk, buang maser jer maser tuh....ehhehe

Tuh jer ulasan buat maser ini....

noresh said...

ehhh... where was ayam all this while??

masa tu, aku ngan bard were jumping up n down like two crazy kids. hahahhha... nasib baik parents aku bangsa yg tido mati..

Along said...

Syikin: Hahaha...memang terexcited lebih!! The best match I've seen so far.

Aapitz: Game2 lain somo boring, nak2 kalau England main. Sorry to say. Brazil pun, yg kalah ngan France, padan muka..main macam budak sekolah lagi. But this match (Italy vs Germany) memang fight dari awal. I salute both teams.

Noresh: Ayam - tidoq mati. Hehehehe..ingat nak kejutkan dia kot ada penalty kick, tengok2 Italy dpt 2 gol lak saat2 terakhir.