Day #185 in lockdown in Mumbai, India hotel…Six months in confinement…Package hell…

Sunset reddened clouds reflecting in the pool at our Bali villa.

Today’s photos are from the post on this date in 2016, while we were living in Sumbersari, Bali, Indonesia. For more on this date, please click here.

When there was no post on this date in 2013 in Kenya, I scoured each year on this date and landed on our time spent in Bali in 2016. Seeing the above photo of the exquisite infinity pool in the villa overlooking the sea sent my mind into a tailspin. Oh, would we appreciate that now!

Many passersby carry needed supplies along the beach.

The total four months we spent at this villa were divided into two separate stays;  after the first two months we left and headed to Singapore to visit three embassies to acquire much-needed visas;  then from Singapore to Vietnam and Cambodia on a Mekong River cruise and land tour. From there, we spent 42 days in Phuket, Thailand, returning to Bali for the second two months.

We loved the villa in Bali, especially the veranda, pool, and cabana where we spent the majority of our days, lounging, talking, laughing, swimming, and watching a wide array of activities transpiring on the beach. Each new day presented unique and interesting scenes, unlike anything we’d seen on any beach in the world.

Gede explained that these plastic coverings are to protect watermelon from the hot sun.

Whether it was buffalo walking along the shore guided by a child with rope, no more than 10 years old; white horses on a walk; locals dressed in local garb walking along the shore; people bathing in the sand and rinsing in the sea; and children playing naked in a river that meets the sea only a short distance from us;  We were amused, entertained and motivated to take photos.

Today is the six-month anniversary of the date we checked into this hotel on March 24, 2020. During the first month, we were able to have our meals in the hotel’s dining room. But, in no time at all, India’s government banned dining in restaurants and room service was our only option for our two daily meals which has continued through today.

A typical small business building found in a village.

Purchasing and serving alcohol was banned for several months. Now, alcohol may be purchased and delivered, but with taxes at 38% plus delivery fees, the cost is outrageous. The hotel cannot serve alcohol and, with their upcharges on drinks plus taxes and tips, it makes no sense for us to imbibe at all. Also, neither of us has ever enjoyed having drinks in a hotel room. We’ll wait until we get to our next location, wherever that may be.

On another note, we ordered a package of supplies from our mailing service in Nevada, which includes our new passports, contact lenses, snail-mail, and odds and ends we can’t get in India. The package, along with a second item, a replacement credit card (due to fraud) was shipped at the end of July 2020 and we’ve yet to receive either item.

Rice is a huge staple in the Balinese people’s diet and is exported to many parts of the world.

I desperately tried to reach a human at FedEx India’s multiple phone numbers, but either the line was busy or no one answered. We each sent no less than a dozen email messages asking for assistance, always including the two tracking numbers and the urgency of receiving these two items. The replies always stated the same thing, “We’re working on it” or some variation thereof.

Finally, a few days ago, Tom received a reply from an upper management person with instructions as to how to receive the packages. It required that we send in copies of our passports, both bio pages and back pages, and our e-visas.

Not so quick. The trick was to get their website to work in order to be able to upload the documents. Once I did everything as they suggested, the photos in small-sized jpegs wouldn’t upload. Only a few would. I kept having to take the photos over and over again, to finally get them to upload.

Crossing a bridge over a river.

A few hours later, we received two emails stating we hadn’t sent incomplete files. They needed two letters, signed and sealed by the hotel manager, one for each item, stating we are staying here and can receive the items. That became quite a challenge when by human error, the tracking numbers and “case” numbers somehow got mixed up. The letters had to be redone.

After spending the entire afternoon on this, the system wouldn’t let me in when entering the “captcha.” Actually, the captcha was easy, only four clear jiggly letters but their system wouldn’t accept the login after I entered it. After five tries I was kicked out for 24 hours. Today, at 4:00 pm, I will have to start over once again. Ah, frustrating. We’ll report back on how this goes.

A Muslim holiday celebrated on the beach.

Based on the above circumstances, yesterday I never finished my walking, only accomplishing 5000 steps instead of 10000. I hope to do better today. Also, I hope to get back to work on the 2000 word post #3 sometime today. Our entire routine has been turned topsy-turvy by this package business.

OK. That’s all there is today, folks! Have a good day!

Minutes before the sun descended from view. Before dark, the security guy visits our villa turning on outdoor lights, returning at sunrise to turn them off.


Photo from one year ago today, September 24, 2019:

This was our holiday rental, Pond Cottage in Devon, England at night. For more photos, please click here.

Part 2…What does it cost to own and maintain a gorgeous vacation villa in Sumbersari, Bali? Photos, pricing and expenses!

View from the veranda of the second floor of the new villa presently for sale.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

Fisherman near the shore fishing with nets.

Today we are delighted to continue sharing the final photos and expenses for the new villa of Gede and Egon on the road to our villa in Sumbersari, Bali. If you have any additional questions, please contact Gede by email at

Lounge at the second floor.

As mentioned in yesterday’s Part 1 of this two part post, today we’re including estimated expenses for owning this villa, comparable to expenses owners may incur for similar villas in this area. These totals can change according to the individual use of public services.  

Top-level lounge in the new villa.

As reported in yesterday’s post, the asking price for this private villa is IDR 3,616,896,723, EU 249,000, US$ 279,017.

Credenza, wiring and space for TV and audio equipment in upper level living room

Estimated monthly expenses for the following:
IDR 3,000,000, US $230, EU 205:  Household staff of two, including one cook/cleaner and landscape/pool maintenance staff member.
IDR 2,000,000, US $153, EU 137:  Electricity, well water, bottled gas for stove.
IDR 6,000,000, US $460, EU 411:  Internet, satellite (TV) services.

Estimate annual expense
IDR 200,000, US $15,  EU $14:  Annual property tax (This is not a typo.  Property taxes are paid at the time of the purchase of vacant land).

Estimated income for vacation/holiday rental (per night)
IDR 2,000,000, US $153, EU 137 (a 5% governmental rental tax is payable).

Outdoor dining area in villa’s upper level.

A prospective buyer must be prepared to either pay cash for the purchase of property in Indonesia or arrange for financing outside of Indonesia. No mortgage funds are available for foreigners unless its under special circumstances.

Bean bag chairs for lounging on the second story veranda.

For those seeking an affordable vacation home in a beautiful, peaceful and safe location, this villa may be worth considering. One can only imagine the excitement and pleasure of owning such a property in this lovely area.

Master bedroom on second story with en suite bathroom.

As an aside, we’d like to thank and give kudos to our mailing service, MailLinkPlus in Nevada. Eric, our loyal and diligent representative of the company, has proven to manage all of our packages and snail mail with the utmost of confidentiality, attention to detail and professionalism. 

En suite master bath with double sinks, huge shower with tile, stone and wood finishes.

Often responsible for opening certain confidential pieces of mail to scan and email to us, plus sorting and securing all mail until we request a shipment and then, the eventual packing and shipping of items we’d like to receive in any given country, the service has been impeccable.

Alternate view from second level.  Java is located at the horizon.

With this month, the four year anniversary of our annual contract with MailLinkPlus, we want to thank Eric and his staff for handling our snail mail with the utmost of integrity. Today, he shipped a large box of supplies to us here in Bali, which we expect to arrive within a few weeks, in ample time before our departure from the villa on the 29th. 

The cost for the shipping via USPS was US $181, IDR 2,358,701. I asked about insuring the package, but Eric recommended we do not insure it to reduce the risk of theft. Had we insured it, the likelihood of being able to collect the insurance would have been a time consuming and difficult process, not worth the contents. 

Pool views from second story.

We sit back and keep our fingers crossed it will arrive safely and in time. Most likely, the contents will be checked upon arrival and we’ll be subject to pay customs fee. Gede explained this can be negotiated at the time. We shall see and report the results here at the time.

As for what’s transpiring otherwise, we’re doing very well. The Minnesota Vikings won yesterday’s football game. Tom was thrilled. They’re 4-0 since the regular season began, weeks ago and we’re optimistic for the remainder of the season. 

View toward the security/common party building located to the right of the paved narrow path to the beach.

With only two more games until we board the ship on October 31st, we’re hoping for a strong enough signal on the ship’s new Wi-Fi system, ZOOM, to be able to stream the game using the NFL’s GamePass app which Tom’s purchases annually. 

Today, sunny and hopefully a little less humid, we’ll spend most of the day outdoors. It’s rained quite a bit these past days since our return from Lovina but part of each day has been clear. 

Exterior view of the entrance to the villa.

Tonight, we will anticipate one of our favorite meals perfectly orchestrated by our two excellent cooks, Ketut and Ketut. Once again, they’ll prepare the spicy Balinese chicken in a sugar and starch free sauce along with a big bowl of locally grown sautéed spicy organic vegetables.

Tom will have coleslaw and white rice as side dishes while I stick to the main course of chicken and veggies.

May your taste buds soar over a tasty meal and may your day be bright and sunny.

Photo from one year ago today, October 5, 2015:

Seeing Vanua’s Levu Blue Lagoon in Fiji was pure pleasure. The color was breathtaking. For our story on local culture, please click here.

Part 1…What does it cost to own and maintain a gorgeous vacation villa in Sumbersari, Bali? Photos, pricing and expenses!

The front of the property is located at the end of the road, resulting in no passing traffic. This villa is priced at EU 249,000, US $279,017, IDR 3,616,896,723.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

Local boys playing soccer at the beach use a floating fishing net instead of a balloon.

While living in vacation homes around the world, we are often curious about the cost associated with ownership in the area. No, it’s not that we’re interested in a possible future purchase for ourselves. We’re not. 

This tree in front of the house is called a “palm bottle” based on his bottle as form.

However, from time to time, we hear readers asking if a particular place would be ideal for their eventual retirement and/or vacation/holiday home. With the prospect of renting the property at certain times of the year as an adjunct to their personal use, it’s an appealing concept for many.

This permanent sign posted on the exterior of the villa illustrates the villa is licensed as a vacation/holiday rental.

As we have observed, prices are generally more affordable in the most remote locations such as the scenarios here in Sumbersari, Bali. Buyers can pay up to 40% less for a property in a remote location than for those close to major cities and more populated tourist places. 

View from the veranda to the sea. Gede explained that the unused satellite dish depicted in the photograph will be removed.

On the flip side, holiday/vacation villa renters in remote locations often pay less for their stay than in the more expensive resorts and homes closer to the airports, bigger cities and popular tourist areas. There are always compromises of some kind.

Pristine pool ready for its first swimmer.

We’ve obviously discovered there are many benefits of being “far from the maddening crowd” resulting in more opportunities to blend into the local flavor, shop in their more affordable shops and markets and experience a wider range of cultural experiences which may not necessarily be geared to the average tourist.

Outdoor and indoor furnishings are included in the price.

When we attended the local buffalo races, we didn’t see any tourists. When we’ve shopped in Negara, we’ve yet to encounter a tourist (from what we’re able to determine) while having difficulty finding a single English speaking person who could tell us where to find olives. 

We like these nuances. Some of our readers can’t imagine why we’d live without air con all day in the heat and humidity with insects swarming us at times with sweat pouring down our faces. Many resorts have multiple air conditioned areas for the needs of the resort crowd and have insect control procedures in place.

The villa has 3 1/2 baths (half bath on main floor), one en suite bath in each of its three bedrooms.

This life isn’t for everyone. Knowing we’re able to wander indoors to turn on the air-con in the bedroom for a cooling break or merely jump into the pool, it easily makes the occasional discomfort dissipate.

The bunk beds, bedroom  (with en suite bathroom) is located on the main floor as well as an other larger bedroom which could be used as a master bedroom with en suite bathroom. On the second level there’s a living room, master bedroom and en suite bath.

A few weeks ago we had two wonderful visits with Pia and Thomas, neighbors down the beach, (originally from Germany), it was easy to observe how they’ve adapted to the minor discomforts as we have over these past months and years of world travel.

Dining area on the main floor next to full service kitchen. Note bunk bed bedroom (with en suite bathroom) in rear with additional half bath to the right.

Most likely this would be the case for the majority of travelers who eventually decide to purchase a vacation home in a more remote location. Get over the four or five hour harrowing drive (we’re working on it)! Get over the ants, flies and mozzies at sunrise and sunset!  Get over the relatively slow Wi-Fi (we’re finally there)! 

Then, get down to enjoying Paradise, which in itself supersedes any possible necessity to adapt required to live in a more affordable, more private, peaceful and less crime laden location. We’re loving it. Many others do as well. 

Well appointed granite countertop, kitchen with stainless steel appliances. Dishwashers generally aren’t used in Bali when most villas employ household staff.

After staying in the lovely Puri Bagus Lovina resort last week, we certainly grasp the easier and simple life of a tourist after living in a vacation home. But, the cost is prohibitive over the long haul when one decides to make Bali their “home away from home.”

Main floor laundry/storage room with laundry hookup.

Today, we’re sharing half of the information and photos of a new, never-lived-in villa that Egon and Gede built that is now for sale. Yesterday morning, we walked with Gede down the road in front of our villa to the property which we then accessed via a stone stairway providing the new villa with expansive ocean views.

There’s an easy access road directly to the villa from the highway.

Located directly off the kitchen this ample space is ideal for kitchen and food storage.

The beautiful new villa is not only situated atop a hill with expansive ocean views, it exhibits fine quality workmanship and design befitting even the most particular of holiday home buyers and ultimately, if chosen to accommodate the needs of future renters as a holiday villa.

Quiet lounge area off the kitchen on the main floor.

Tomorrow, we’ll include the remainder of the photos and costs for utilities and property taxes and staff, including cooks/cleaners and groundskeeper/pool man. Please check back for more.

Double sink, bathroom with large shower located on the main floor in the second bedroom.

For more information on this property, contact Gede at his email address at allowing 12 hours for a response to the time differences from most parts of the world.

Main floor bedroom with en suite bathroom as shown above.

At the moment, as I’m preparing today’s post, we’re watching the Minnesota Vikings football game which started at 8:30 am (Tuesday) and is shown in the US at the new Vikings stadium at 7:30 pm on Monday Night Football. Go Vikings!

Photo from one year ago today, October 4, 2015:

Ratnesh, our driver in Bali, took us on a drive to tour some interesting natural scenery in Vanua Levu, Fiji. This area of rock formations was one of the stops. For more photos, please click here.