The Reality Of A Tropical Home

Everyday life during an extended stay in Bali does have its challenges.  This villa is really more suited for short term glamping – glamorous camping, especially with the pool. What you see of the kitchen is everything except for a rice maker I never use and salt and pepper, etc. that are in the wood cupboard.  No oven or grill.

Open air cooking

The kitchen and living area are open and not screened.

Glamorous camping. The roof structure in the back is the Homestay kitchen next door.

Mosquitos are not a problem and I seem to have gotten used to the bites because they no longer itch on the odd occasion I do get bit.  The villa provides mosquito coils and fancy tin burners that catch the ash. 

Decorator mosquito coil containers

Of course, being tropical, there are roaches. Not out of control, and the ones I do come across are either dead or dying.  The poison is a strong neuro toxin and, since roaches eat their dead, it’s a gift that keeps giving.

Dead and still so ugly the resident tree frog won’t touch it.

The villa owner, Olivier, drove over from his home in Sanur because Made had reported my comment about seeing roaches and he became concerned especially because after my dinner at Café La Pasion, I discovered a fruit rat (sleek and grey and not creepy) in the wood cupboard over the sink. I had come home and the cupboard door was slightly ajar, so I closed it. While watching TV, I could hear  a scratching noise but thought it was the people at the homestay kitchen on the other side of the back wall (which I’m sure is the source of the roaches). But it wasn’t them making the noise. I finally got the courage to open the door and found the resealable bag from the almonds I had bought. It was all chewed up, but no rat.

I pulled the rice maker and the biggest part of the bag out (with the pointy end of an umbrella) and left the door open to see (at that time I didn’t know what it was) what would come out. Nothing, and because it was night, the light was poor and I couldn’t really see anything. I have a flashlight app on my phone, so I got it and started looking. Yes, I discovered the rat sitting on a partition at the top of the cupboard. To shorten the narrative, it jumped down the back of the kitchen wall and disappeared. The bag was empty anyway, because I had put the almonds in a plastic container and they were in the fridge (I keep everything in the fridge). I was saving the almond bag to put my coffee grounds in because of my fear of the roaches getting into the big garbage can. Made the handyman came and put a glue trap with poison bait inside the cupboard but all it caught was a mosquito.

Olivier the owner is very concerned since a bad review could kill his AirBnB rating.  But I think the rat getting into the cupboard was a one time thing. It could smell the almonds and, very clever, nosed open the cupboard door and dragged the bag in to shred at its leisure.

Olivier explained that the traditional roofs in Bali are great for roaches; they are made of half rounds of bamboo and the roaches like them because in the rainy season (now), their channels are damp and warm. He has the channels fumigated with a neuro toxin and that is why I only come across the dead or dying. The ants, in really amazing feats of organization, carry them off immediately which resolved me to stay abed later until the ants have carted away the carcases.  

I think the poison eventually kills the ants, too, because there are less and less of them. I keep no food out in the open and only cook breakfast here and then wash the dishes immediately. Lunch is usually snack type stuff; cheese, almonds or gazpacho. I go out every night for dinner. 

My best friends.

I don’t want to give the wrong impression. I am really enjoying my time here – TripAdvisor named Bali the #1 travel destination for 2018 – and spending time in other hot places, I knew the openness of the house would present some challenges.  Most people only stay at these villas for 3 days and then move on to other parts of Bali. They are gone exploring or to the beach most of the day, so don’t really see the things that I see because I’m here most of the day and staying for a much longer time. 

I also share the house with a tree frog that spends the day in my umbrella, a praying mantis, quite a few geckos of various sizes and a regular frog that sometimes needs rescuing from the pool.  The furniture and door frames have wood worms but they mind their own business and don’t get in the way except for the wood dust that Yuli has to sweep up each day.  I’m hoping I will be long gone before the place crashes down like the House of Usher.

Occasionally, a cat will climb over the wall and spend the night on the bed in the loft.  Yulie minds, but I don’t.  It is awfully thin and I’m sure Mr. Rat makes it a point to avoid the place when Cat is in residence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.