Category Archives: Rollie’s Wrap

Rollies Wrap – September 8, 2010

Mother City Rollie, at the end of August, found himself winging toward Jakarta for no particular reason. He wanted to see some friends, do some shopping, and maybe just wander a bit and see the old gal. It is the second time he’s been struck by nostalgia for a city for which he has no real love. Jakarta was fun back in the day when he was flying in every couple of months on assignment, but it was completely different living there for a year and a half with a family in tow and trying to cope with its madness. ... [ Read More ]

Rollies Wrap – August 25, 2010

Saving Subak Sok Wayah The e-mail made it sound dire, as if the “last” terraced rice fields in Ubud were disappearing under the work of developers’ shovels and piles of batako, the standard local grey or black building block. And now, the writer of the e-mail said, a band of “worried people … rice workers, guides and young generation guys” were banding together to save the paddies of Subak Sok Wayah – anonymously for fear of a backlash from authorities and officials. A sign had been erected along the path. Flyers had been put out. At a meeting it had ... [ Read More ]

Rollies Wrap – August 11, 2010

Ubud Epiphanies It is always interesting to see how visitors react to the island with the world’s most upbeat press clippings, especially repeat visitors who may not have seen the place in some years. The last week of July was the third time elder brother Thompson had brought his family up from Perth, Australia, going back to early 2004, and the first thing they noticed was the increased tourist crowds. “We don’t remember this many foreigners on the streets,” noted the sister-in-law. Rightly so. Arrivals are slated to hit a record 2.5 million this year based on figures through the ... [ Read More ]

Rollies Wrap – July 28, 2010

There and Back Again Rollie says he is sure there are more contrasting comparisons – perhaps flying into Singapore’s gleaming Changi Airport from Sakhalin, Russia, or Dhaka, Bangladesh – but it is great enough from our own Ngurah Rai in Bali, and he’s not really interested in trying to find greater. He is not that intrepid. On the way over, even after an hour’s delay in departure and a late arrival in fair Singapore, Changi efficiency had Rollie in a cab in 30 minutes and he made his 1 p.m. appointment with time to spare. Coming back, it was the ... [ Read More ]

Rollies Wrap – July 14, 2010

Bali’s Continuing Crisis When the two brothers showed up at the notary’s office, one was drunk and the other could only think about getting his hands on all that cash we were to pay them for the land they inherited from their grandfather. At first, they hadn’t wanted to open a bank account to receive payment, although the good folks at Bank Mandiri finally convinced them it wasn’t a trick. That didn’t stop the one that could read and write from immediately taking about a third of the payment in cash. Everyone agrees the money, all of it, not just ... [ Read More ]

Rollies Wrap – June 30, 2010

The Dark Side of Paradise Tourists and expatriates often have a sanitized view of life on Bali, partly because of the reluctance of the English-language press to publish any stories that could kill the tourism goose that lays the golden eggs, and partly because of willful blindness to anything but the glossy myths in travel and lifestyle magazines. So it’s good every now and then to get out and see what goes on outside the regular haunts of the foreign tamu. Usually one doesn’t have to go far, and sometimes it isn’t pretty. Only a few kilometers from the fun, ... [ Read More ]

Rollies Wrap – June 16, 2010

Ubud Playground a Work in Progress It is often a fool’s paradise here in Bali, so on a holiday weekend we two fools – the wife and I – grab the kiddies, pick up some of the cousins and head over to Bali Fun World ( in Batuan in Gianyar. Turns out we are not the only ones looking for a spot to play; the indoor playground is packed, with the parking lot full, and cars lining the street out front. So then what to do with five boys, three of whom weren’t ours but that we had promised to ... [ Read More ]