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Nice. Cheap, one of the best places to surf (the waves, not online) in the world. Decent, warm climate. Sunny.
Seaside: no more than an hour away from anywhere on the island. Most live some 1-20 minutes away from the beach either by car, or on foot.
Kind. Caucasians have a certain high status by default here. They will try to cheat you if the opportunity arises, but without aggression. It easier to see that as wishful action. Somebody wants to dupe you into buying something for 500, when it really costs 50. It is just a dream that person has, he voices it, should it work – great, if not – so be it, you pay the 50.
Kind and smiling. They have their own way of life with a great number of ceremonies. That is very important to them. Locals are more spoilt in touristy places. Locals form banjars (social groups comprising neighbors from 1-N blocks). Picking a fight with somebody leads to a quick arrival of others, which cannot be good. Thus, it is better not to pick fights with locals (locals themselves are quite calm, however drunk tourists are a different story).
+25-35C year-round. High season year-round. No weeklong rains. Russian November weather can be found in the hills.
Local education is of low quality. There are some Australian educational institutions, but the quality isn’t that good and the costs are high.
There are kindergartens and pre-school for kids. But it is better to plan for school in a more suitable place.
There are several large hospitals for foreigners. The level is the same as in Australia. Expensive, but fine if you have insurance.
Bahasa. English is also fine for communication with the locals. The more tourists in the region – the more suitable it is. The young know English better. Thus, if you see a 40-year-old and a 10-year-old kid – ask the kid.
The roads are so-so, lots of narrow ones.
The following phenomenon is quiet common: you are driving on a nice paved road, enjoying the rice fields around, and then the road just ends, right in the middle of those fields. And there is nothing around, no buildings or paths.
Drivers are calmer than in Russia. It is normal in the center for all the cars to wait while somebody parks or tries to fit into a tight turn. Everybody just waits. The general rule is that the bigger one’s car is, the less one cares about other road users. Locals like driving with one wheel in the oncoming lane, and are generally fine with speeding in the oncoming lane.
Public transport is undeveloped. It works, but infrequently and irregularly.
Going abroad: easy since you can travel all over South-East Asia for years from here.
Everything is quite cheap.
Petrol costs 0.7$ per liter (the price has risen recently, it was 0.5$). Renting a scooter costs 50$ per month.
A nice meal for two in a restaurant on the ocean shore costs 50-60$ with alcohol included.
Alcohol is expensive.
There are some jobs, mostly in tourism, surfing and administration.
A 2-bedroom villa (+ a living room and kitchen) with a garden and swimming pool in a nice neighborhood, 5 minutes away from the beach by car costs around 700-800$ per month. Cheaper lodging can be found without the swimming pool.
There is a discount for a yearlong rent, but it is customary to pay the whole amount at once. An agreement can be reached to make monthly payments, but that will be considerably more expensive.
There is some crime, mostly perpetrated by workers from other islands (Java, Timor, etc.). Sometimes, single travelers can be thrown of motorcycles at night and robbed.
Unsuccessful attempts at rape have been know to have been made.
Recently, some guy brought home a one-night-stand from a disco, and found his 3-year-old son missing in the morning. Thankfully, the kid was found in a couple of days, but I am horrified to imagine something like that even for a moment, being a father myself.
Locals are very nice towards tourists and are, thus, actively against the crimes committed by those from other islands.
Being minimally vigilant and not letting the exotic locality get to your head should be enough to stay safe.
Locals resemble pandas, small and pudgy. There are many portly Australian women. Even fitness fanatics look somewhat scary. There are still quite many female tourists from France, Italy, Germany and the CIS countries, so it isn’t that sad.
That’s the main problem here. It is very, very, very bad. There is no unlimited data plans whatsoever. Heavily depends on the neighborhood. Some lucky ones have a speed of several Mbits, sometimes the speed is 200-300 kbps like I am getting right now. Meanwhile, the slogan of my service provider is “I hate slow”. B*tch.
The situation is improving, but very, very slowly.
Crisis is absolutely unnoticed.
http://www.thor.ru/ (yep, the domain is trendy, but there hardly anything there)
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