Back in Bali II

I wrote back in June that we adopted a kitten that we found on the road in Sumbawa when we were making the move back to Bali. Well, the kitten has become a mother. She has been poking around my bookcases up on the third floor since I returned from Sumbawa, and I could tell she was looking for a good place to have her kittens, but I have electrical equipment and old photographs stored in the bottom of the bookcases so I kept trying to redirect her interest to other potential birth sites like a box in the kitchen, a box in my closets, and a box in the bathroom. She persisted in trying to get into the bottom area of the bookcases. Last night, she kept waking me up trying to open the doors to the bottom of the bookcase by my bed. I tossed her out of the room three times and finally made it to sleep. This morning while I was checking emails, I heard some noise in the bookcase and only then noticed that a bunch of photos were on the floor outside the bookcase. I slowly opened the doors to the bookcase, and there was the cat along with two kittens. I found her just in time to see her deliver her third. The family saw all this as another sign that I have some affinity with animals. They were quick to point out that the goats and dogs waited until I was at home before they delivered. Well whatever, as some former students would say. Anyway, we have three new kittens.

Raya giving birth

Raya giving birth

The alcohol shortage/price increase continues to be a problem here in Bali and around Indonesia. If you haven’t read about it, the government has cancelled the license of one company that was allowed to import booze, and raised the import costs by 300%. Thus, we have a shortage of alcohol and outrageously high prices for the imported liquor that is available. A bottle of Johnnie Walker Red Label now runs around Rp. 620,000. Three months ago, it was around Rp.160,000. At current exchange rates that means that a bottle of scotch that should cost somewhere around USD20, now costs almost USD60. As much as I love scotch, I won’t be buying any $60 bottles of scotch. The governor of Bali has talked to the Indonesian president about the situation, and things have been relaxed a bit so the supply seems to be returning, but the price remains at unacceptable levels for all but the rich and the desperate. It seems like we have another case of Indonesia shooting itself in the foot. If you want to have an economy where tourism is a major component, you have to be ready to make the country attractive to tourists. Turning Indonesia into another Pakistan where alcohol is unavailable is not going to help the country compete with Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia and Singapore. At some point (and I hope that it is soon), the government is going to need to decide whether the country is pluralistic and multi-cultural or if they intend on imposing conservative Islamic values on the whole country.

Probably the biggest thing since I’ve returned has been the continuing saga of the jerangkong or the hantu. More on this tomorrow or the next day.

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~ by drbrucepk on December 23, 2008.

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