Twenty Signs You are an Ubud Expat

  1. You know at least a handful of drivers named Ketut, a few massage therapists called Nyoman and at least two dozen drivers who answer to the name Wayan.
  2. Since you are in regular contact with at least a dozen locals (men and women) named Wayan, your phone’s “W” contact list overflows with mnemonics: Wayan Landlord, Wayan Pembantu, Wayan Driver, Wayan Gardener, Wayan Gift Shop, Wayan Yoga, etc. If you don’t use this technique, your growing list of Wayans will become too unwieldy and you’ll find it nearly impossible to know which Wayan is which.  You’ll wonder why your so-called smart phone – the one you purchased last year in Bali – doesn’t give you the option to classify your contacts by gender.
  3. Your fellow expat friends are rarely known by their surnames; first names are usually sufficient to identify the person you’re talking about.
  4. You’ve been driving around Bali long enough to know the best shortcuts and detours for avoiding the daily ceremonial processions that grind traffic to a halt for up to hours at a time.
  5. You know that the best way to avoid those rabid Bali street dogs that leap out from doorways, is to slow your bike down to a crawl – even though it appears to be the most counter-intuitive and ill-advised action to take.
  6. You own a few sets of adat, traditional dress – kebaya, sarong and sash for the women, or sarong and udeng for the guys. One set is usually stored in your car or under your scooter seat – in case you stumble across a ceremony that you want to join or your friend Wayan Listrik suddenly invites you to his cousin’s tooth-filing ceremony… starting in 5 minutes.
  7. You don’t leave home without one or more of these items: helmet (even if it only dangles from your rear-view mirror), yoga mat, mosquito repellent, rain poncho, sun block, bottle of coconut water or jamu.
  8. You’ve tried your fair share of local Balinese (and Indonesian) dishes, including babi guling and gado gado; and you have your favorite spots for them all.
  9. You’re always on the prowl for the latest, newest, coolest, tastiest restaurants and cafés in town
  10. You get much of your local news from Facebook’s Ubud Community page.
  11. You know that, given the absence of an actual address at most destinations, directions are best given according to mutually-referenced landmarks; “right at the Arjuna statue,” “just before Campuhan bridge,” or “the same street as Bumi Sehat.”
  12. If you can’t find what you’re looking for at Delta, then you’ll head over to Coco and Bintang instead. When you get there, you won’t be entirely surprised upon discovering that the item you found last week in aisle 7 is now in aisle 2, and is likely to be moved again next week, perhaps to aisle 15.
  13. You know which organic markets take place at which location on which day – and you know to order your favorites ahead.
  14. You organize your spring itinerary around the Balinese new year, Nyepiand the Ogoh-Ogoh You’re either stocking up on food, snacks and drinks to enjoy the silence (and solitude) – or you plan your escape to places like Gili Trawangan or Singapore.
  15. When someone mentions the word visa, the first thing that pops into your mind is NOT a credit card; rather, you wonder whether your passport is at home or with your agent, and when you’re up for the next renewal.
  16. Conversation with friends often revolves around visa extensions, travel, the woowoo factor, travel, the next trip to the beach, travel, plastic bags, trash and travel. (Did I mention travel?)
  17. You’ve secured a favorite Balinese masseuse, who comes to your house by bike every week – and invites you to her family temple ceremonies.
  18. If you get sick, you’re less likely to go to a doctor than one of the following: Balinese traditional healers, energy workers, bodywork practitioners, naturopaths, Reiki masters or someone who specializes in… breath work.
  19. The noise from the resort construction project that just started next door is the perfect rationale for booking an extended family visit overseas.
  20. Your friends don’t live in a house; they live in a villa.

Text and Feature Image by Peripatete



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