As the pandemic spreads, we are certainly feeling its effect in Bali. After doing not much during the initial stages, the government seems to be taking this seriously. Recently, it decreed that all people need to wear masks when outside. The number of confirmed cases is still relatively low, but not many people believe them to be accurate. It’s hard to get real statistics, but this one is telling – funerals in Jakarta are up on normal monthly numbers by about 40%.
80% of the population relies on the tourist dollar so no tourists is catastrophic. A lot of people who worked in South Bali have migrated back to their villages in other parts of the island or in other parts of Indonesia. Many local charity organisations have tried to fill the gap by setting up food banks, or delivering emergency food packages and masks to families in need. Sadly, this situation is only going to worsen.
I’ve been self-isolating with my family. Surprisingly, we haven’t gone crazy yet! Our 7 year old daughter is happy seeing her friends during her online classes, while our 4 year son has always been a homebody, so he’s content! My husband and I tag team looking after the kids and working. It’s hard to be very productive when sitting next my daughter who is doing maths that I haven’t done in 20 years (and I don’t think I understood it then!). Hands up if you think all teachers deserve a massive pay rise? I think all parents do now!
What does a photographer do when they can’t leave their house? Family photo shoot!
At the moment, a formal lockdown isn’t in place (even though Bali is experienced at implementing a lockdown due to the annual Day of Silence/Nyepi celebration). Currently, people are encouraged to stay at home, but as is the nature of people, some don’t. The word on the street is that a formal lockdown is off the cards as it requires the government to pay for the basic needs of its citizens.
In the last build diary, I mentioned that something different was happening on our build – we are building up! Somehow, it feels more like a real home now that the build is above me. The columns are up and the workers have set up a maze of metal scaffolding in preparation for pouring the reinforced concrete that will be the base of the second floor. I didn’t expect it to move me so much, but I felt the same rush that occurred when we finished the slab and could see the individual rooms.
Now I have that same feeling of this-is-really-happening. I used to visit the site almost daily but obviously I can’t do that these days. Going once or twice a week, the changes are more dramatic each time I go. I didn’t expect the columns to mean so much to me, but suddenly I realise that I’m actually building my dream home!
I can’t see our architect Silvia as much as I did previously. However, instead of staying over in my home so we can talk for hours about the build, we’ll simply facetime from our homes instead.
2 level residence + offices and staff room + my double height studio
You may have noticed from our fortnightly build diary updates that we are building 2 buildings. However, our plans actually call for a third building .The main building is a 2 level living/dining/kitchen downstairs, and 3 bedrooms upstairs. Behind that is a building containing a couple of offices, storage and staff room. The workers have been focussing on these buildings so far.
Apart from the foundations and slab, not much work has been done on the third building – my double height photographic studio (Yay! I can’t believe I’ll have my own studio!). It will be in the access way that the trucks bringing in building supplies use, so we need to keep that part of the site clear. We’ll focus on the other 2 buildings structures first, and once they are up, we can do the third building.
A new pet?
The workers have adopted a cute Bali dog that they’ve named Crystal. She’s adorable and no doubt as soon as our kids see her, they’ll want her too. We’ve been thinking about getting a dog for a while. Bali is classified as a rabies zone, so they can’t be taken in or out legally. Of course, it’s still possible to do it, but it exposes the animals to numerous risks.
So we can only get a dog if we’re here for the long term. I had a dog when I was growing up in Argentina, and I would love the kids to have that magical experience. Plus, they are a great lesson in responsibility for the kids and also good for security. We love the idea of getting one.
But there’s a problem, Umi, our incredible nanny is a devout Muslim and considers dogs unclean. If she’s licked by one, she has to wash her hands many times to clean them. We absolutely adore Umi – Phoenix considers her one of his mums – and so we don’t want to complicate her life by adding a dog.
GoJek is one of the amazing conveniences of life in Bali. If you haven’t used it already, GoJek is basically the Uber for …everything! It’s an app that does it all. Need a ride somewhere, food delivery, someone to do your shopping for you and drop it off? How about tickets? Phone/electricity credit? Car maintenance, massage, a cleaner? GoJek has got you sorted. It really is a one stop shop.
After closing at the beginning of the outbreak, quite a few cafes are opening up for takeaway and delivery, including one of our favourites Milk and Madu . It’s fantastic that they can keep their staff working, and serve the community.
We’ve been trying to cut back on our costs to cover our build costs, particularly in this new world where I can’t leave my house, let alone go out and take photos! We used to GoJek regularly, but now we want to self-isolate. Nowadays using a delivery service creates possible contamination dangers, so we need to minimise how often we order in. We’ve gone very old school and are dusting off our old cookbooks to use as we prepare our own meals. We do a massive weekly shop, come home and disinfect all food and products (and us!), and then cook for ourselves each day.