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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

PARADISE LOST

BALI, INDONESIA

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

It was such a relief to return from Bali. Years of hearing nothing but good things about the island, my husband and I eagerly anticipated our two month trip there. From the beginning, it was a disappointment. Arriving on the Eve of Nyepi Day (the Balinese New Year), we were confined to our hotel for the full following day, under penalty of fine and/or imprisonment. Surely, we had the wrong impression of the island, so days later, we fled to the mountain town of Ubud, one and a half hour's drive from Kuta Beach. This is the cultural capital of Bali, and we expected an unhasseled week in lush green splendor.

 

Again, we were thrown off balance by what we encountered. Walking around Ubud proved to be somewhat of an obstacle course, as the sidewalks themselves seemed to be in various states of disrepair. Every few feet they dipped drastically eighteen inches only to abruptly rise again. Far too often, whole squares of the sidewalks were missing altogether, exposing the town's stinking open drains, filled with garbage.  One had to be careful not to step on the numerous street dogs who were sleeping the full breadth of the sidewalk. These dogs were so desperately ill that many walked with flopping broken legs or had large seeping sores. 

HINDU STATUE IN LILY POND

Monkey Forest Road in the center of the town of Ubud was jam packed with traffic that barely moved. Street side restaurants had the constant smell of diesel or garbage, and the sound of dog fights or pinging motorbikes.  In the nine days we spent there it was raining, fixing to rain, or it had just rained, and everything was drenched and flooded. 

 

Getting out of town for a tour of the rice paddies also pressed our patience. Averaging six miles per hour for four hours behind belching diesel trucks, these narrow roads groaned under the their current usage. The infrastructure just cannot support the traffic here. On our short trip out of town we saw chickens and pigs in the back of trucks going to market.  These animals were shoved and cramped into the tiniest of cages imaginable. Where the chickens stuck their heads out to get air, the feathers were all rubbed off their necks (how long were they IN there?) and some were even dead, hanging out the side of the cage...  I wonder, were those chickens sold for food also?  

 

TERRACED RICE PADDIES

Shopping in town proved to be unrewarding as well. Bargaining, of course, is common in many cultures. However, in the asking price, usually there is some semblance of reason. Here we found the beginning price of many items (shirts, watches, paintings) to be five to seven times what we paid in Thailand. Prices would also vary depending on whether I carried my camera or not. If we did not purchase, we were often harassed, with vendors following us down the street shouting at us. In quieter conversations with local Balinese, I found that they seemed to have an exaggerated impression of our financial situation. I wear no wedding rings, no jewelry at all, and only glass earrings. My clothes are quite simple. Yet these Balinese would ask me questions such as "do I spend a million dollars in one year?"  Outside influences seemed to have given them the wrong impression of life outside of Bali.

 

We found many hotel prices listed in U.S. dollars instead of the local Rupiah. These prices varied wildly from $4 U.S. to $140 U.S. per night. Often if we showed disinterest in the room due to its rate, immediately the price was reduced, sometimes in half!  Many times we felt "sized up" and then a price was stated. It was an unpleasant feeling, and I caution others to not accept the first price given, even by reputable places.

After nine uncomfortable, rainy days in Ubud, we headed for Kuta with the ultimate plan of leaving as soon as possible. Kuta was more developed than Ubud. Though there was still garbage in standing water breeding mosquitoes, and used syringes, plastic bottles and bags on the beach, it was much cleaner overall than Ubud.

Traffic was unbelievably congested with cars, trucks and motorbikes going two directions in alleys eight feet wide.  Vendors continued to harass us, and offer their outrageous starting prices. But the weather had at least turned sunny. It took us four days to arrange our leaving plans, and we were looking forward to our early return to Thailand.

Speaking for me, I was saddened. Rarely am I not able to adjust to new places and enjoy where I am. Bali seemed to be in an identity crisis, a temperamental teenager in a tantrum, refusing to clean up her room. Certainly she is experiencing growing pains, and she flatly refused to show us her charms. Yes, the people there are quite poor. 

GUEST HOUSE OWNER

That was not the problem so much as the filth being everywhere.  One can be poor and still wash their hands (fingernails were uniformly black), and pick up garbage in front of their store or home. 

If you still want to visit Bali, I would recommend finding a decent Resort Hotel with a swimming pool, and order Room Service.

Recommended Places to Stay

(Prices quoted in U.S. dollars.)

Most hotels in Bali include breakfast with the room rate. Be sure to ask.

Sri Ratu Cottages, Kuta Beach sriratuhotel@yahoo.com Cottages and single rooms. Clean. Swimming pool, air con, restaurant. Weekly discount. Rates $13.50-$35 per night. Ask for Lilis

Suji Bungalow, Kuta Beach Sujibglw@sujibglw.co.id Single rooms and bungalows. Clean. Swimming pool, air con, restaurant. Rates $17-$35 per night.

Oka Wati, Ubud Okawati@dps.centrin.net.id Single rooms, suites. Balinese art in the rooms. Clean. Swimming pool, air con, restaurant. Rates $25-$100 per night. Weekly and monthly discount available. Ask for Oka Wati.

Lotus Bungalows, Candi Dasa Beach (These are a chain, and a travel agent would be able to locate them easily.) Single rooms, cottages. Clean. Swimming pool, air con, restaurant. Rates $25-$50 per night.

About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurerís Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.

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