Indonesian business skills

A taxi driver with a sign “Do you need a taxi for today?” in Ubud. “No”. The guy promptly shows the reverse side, which says: “How about tomorrow?”

Walking back home after having a dinner on Gili Air. Another restaurant’s door-man: “A dinner?”. Me patting on the stomach: “Already had one”. “How about a second dinner?”

Kuta Beach. Drinks hawker pointing at a basic plastic chair in the shade (one of hundreds on the beach): “Hey have a seat in the romantic chair.”

Padang Bai. First trip outside after my sunglasses got broken. It took less than five minutes for a hawker to appear out of nowhere with sunglasses for sale. Sold.

“YES! Shopping?”


Almost everybody tries to sell you something. Transport, a massage, show tickets, a room, food, drinks, batik, sarongs, jewellery, mushrooms, a motorbike for rent, stuff you don’t really need and what not. Even if they don’t sell, they almost certainly know somebody who is selling. Buying does not get easier than this.

Sometimes it feels like Indonesians are able to read thoughts. They almost certainly know where we head to and offer transportation accordingly. After Ijen we were going to Lombok, but every local assured us we were going to Bali instead. Turned out they were right, we ended up in Ubud. When looking for accommodation, it does not take long for someone to offer you one. Backpacks are clearly a giveaway, but it is still impressive. Many locals correctly guess that I am Russian without hearing me speak my mother tongue. I hear locals shouting my name “Roman” on a constant basis. It probably means something else in Bahasa (can someone solve this mystery?), but it feels like my name is public knowledge. Amazing.

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