Why Indonesia is so Efficient

Yes, you heard me! Even though it’s a developing country…

In the Western world we think we’re so efficient these days. But on coming back to the UK I’ve noticed that somehow it was so much easier to get things done in Bali. In the UK try to achieve something and you’re likely to get stopped by red tape and bureaucracy, and the rest of the time we can’t do anything because of health and safety laws.

Bali should be in theory really inefficient…they turn their traffic lights off at night, the police are rather corrupt, there’s no public transport or NHS. But somehow it just works! These are some of the things I love about Bali.

Cheap available medicines

I really appreciate how readily available medicines were in Indonesia, and how much cheaper they were than over in the UK. I know there’s a reason we have to have prescriptions over here, but to be able to buy antibiotics for pennies over the counter when I really needed them made it so much easier.

Whatever it is, they’ll find a way to do it

I’ll tell you a story. My ex-boyfriend left his retainer in a hostel in Padangbai. Before we got on the ferry to the Gili Islands, we’d been offered some ferry tickets by a random Balinese man on his bike. When we got to the islands, my ex suddenly realised he’d left his retainer back in Bali, but assumed it would probably be thrown away or lost.

When he came across the man’s business card in his pocket, he thought there was nothing to lose by sending the man a text. Now imagine trying to explain to someone who doesn’t speak very good English what a retainer is. I think he described it as ‘plastic for teeth’ and offered the man $10USD reward if he found it. When the ferry docked in Padangbai three days later…sure enough, there the man was, waving around a retainer in his hand. “I have your teeth!”

Forget the AA when you break down

We broke down once on the motorbike, I’m a girl and I don’t know what was wrong with the mechanics, but within five minutes we were eating chicken satay by the side of the road whilst a man fixed the bike tyre using a pepsi can and a blow torch…

Now THAT’s efficiency for you.

They wear roller blades in the supermarkets

You know that moment when you get to the till and you realise you’ve forgotten to weigh your vegetables? The cashier looks at you with a disapproving face and has says over the tannoy ‘assistance please on till 3′. You’re left feeling red faced as you hold up other people in the queue at the checkout waiting for some shelf stacker to amble along and weigh them. In Carrefour in Bali they’ve solved that problem- someone whizzes along on roller blades!!!

Need to rent an apartment?

Tell a random Balinese person on the street that you’re looking for an apartment and 5 minutes later they’ll have rung all their friends and be offering you a ride on their motorbike to a three bedroom villa with swimming pool. Whereas in England there’d be forms to fill in and a deposit to hand over, in Bali hand them a wad of Rupiah notes and you can start moving your backpack in.

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3 Responses to Why Indonesia is so Efficient

  1. illank November 14, 2010 at 11:40 am #

    wow… looks like you have amazing experience in bali…… im indonesian people, thanks for the great review about bali…

    regards..

  2. Chris Wagner September 23, 2012 at 11:08 am #

    hey i’m still young and foolish, but i am extremey interested in learning more about what it’s like living in bali and also want to move there after studying. i’m a 16 year old surfer boy from East London, South Africa and can’t stand city life and need the feel of warm, soft sand beneath my feet to survive. if you could, please e-mail me at justchristhatsall@yahoo.com. i’d be greatful to get your insights as to how to go about moving to bali.

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  1. The good and bad things about living in Bali | Pommie Travels - January 9, 2011

    […] are some of the friendliest and most helpful people I have ever met. I covered in my blog before why Indonesia is so efifcient and the fact that if there’s anything you want, whether it’s renting an apartment, […]

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