My Bali Ex-Pat Life – Shopping Adventure

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There are essentials and then there are things we want. I wanted a yogurt maker.

First of all, the machine would support the eating habits I’ve embraced as I age. Healthy food is more important now that I can’t take my body for granted. It complains loud and long if I violate its delicate balance with things like coffee, sugar, gluten, dairy, and dairy was the culprit I intended to sabotage with the yogurt maker. My friend uses coconut milk. I love the taste of coconut; can’t get enough.

Second, it was cute. The little machine had attitude and I wanted it sitting on my kitchen counter. I have very few such accessories and I took an immediate fancy to the cheeky squat appliance.

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A search of the three supermarkets in Ubud turned up scores of rice cookers, blenders, and a lone waffle iron, but no yogurt maker. I complained to my friend who had brought hers from Australia. That afternoon she sent an email with a link to the Lazada online shopping site. She’d found one. It was exactly what I wanted for $34.50, shipping included.

Even though the ordering instructions were in Indonesian, I was 85% sure I knew what I was doing. There were blanks for various addresses. I assumed one was the person ordering, one was ship to, and the third said international. Which of them would be matched to my credit card, I wondered? I entered all three and hit the pay button. The Visa that I use to buy airline tickets never fails. But this time, DECLINED appeared in red letters. I tried the debit card that connects to my checking account in the U.S. DECLINED. Then the Amazon card, DECLINED. Apparently Lazada did not like American credit cards. So now what? There was a bank transfer option. I pulled up my Indonesian bank account and hit the button to Transfer Money. A message flashed: You must have a token to complete this transaction. Please see teller. By then the page had expired. At this point I began to take exception to their advertising tagline:
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Mild frustration set in but I really wanted that yogurt maker so I repeated the laborious task and placed my order once again. This time I chose PAY ON DELIVERY. The reply was instant and clear: This option is not available in your area. Right. There were other icons in the payment window that meant nothing to me.

Desperate and a little angry, I messaged my friend. How do you pay for your Lazada orders? I’ve tried credit card, bank transfer, and pay on delivery. Nothing works! She called me.

“I pay at Indomaret.”

“You just walk up to the counter and say, ‘I want to pay for my yogurt maker?'”

“Yup! Be sure to take your customer number and order number and the cash with you!”

“Seriously? I can pay at the convenience store?”

“I do it all the time.”

I’d run out of steam. The next morning, refreshed, I faithfully returned to the website. Back to square one, I re-entered my order, clicked the Indomaret icon, and got an instant email with my customer number, order number and amount. Good for 24 hours, it said. I carefully copied the information on a sheet of paper, enclosed my payment, and set out for the Indomaret convenience store a few blocks north of me. I walked and walked, scouring both sides of the street. There were Deltas, Circle K’s, Mini Marts, but no Indomaret. Where was it? I knew I’d seen that sign.

Hungry, I stopped at a familiar restaurant and wailed the story to Iluh, my favorite server, “Oh Ibu,” she laughed. “That Indomaret already gone two years ago! Now must go to only one in Sanggingan.”

Have I mentioned that I really wanted that yogurt maker? After lunch I hiked the extra mile up the hill to Sanggingan and there it was: Indomaret. I approached the cashier.

“I would like to pay for my Lazada order,” I said, and slid the paper toward her. She entered the letter/number combinations.

“What’s this?” She pointed to a V that might have been a Y.

“Yay,” I said. That’s the pronunciation for Y in the Indonesian alphabet. She keyed in a bit more information and clicked her maroon fingernails on the counter while people queued behind me. Finally she looked up and smiled.

“Sorry, expired.” I wanted to tell her it couldn’t be, that I’d just placed the order that morning and it said I had 24 hours. Instead I thanked her and got out of the way. In a deserted corner of the shop I found the order confirmation on my cell. The letter was V. I got back in line and when my turn came I handed the phone to her.

“I’m sorry. This is the information. Could you please try again?” That time, glory hallelujah, it worked! My phone bleeped. The email said my Lazada order for one yogurt maker had been received and it would be delivered between 22 and 27 July.

That’s why I love my ex-pat life. I can never take things for granted. If I fall into that dangerous frame of mind, something like this comes along to snap me out of it. Who would have thought that ordering a yogurt maker would prove such an adventure?

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Diana Brabdt
    Jul 23, 2017 @ 16:27:38

    I was hoping it wouldn’t work for you because I had another tip for you.
    I buy kefir yogurt granules from a supplier in Sydney called Maria Hunt.
    I make my kefir yoghurt weekly without a yoghurt maker and the claim is that it contains so much more probiotics than ordinary yoghurt.
    Anyway if you want info, just email me.
    Good luck with your yoghurt.

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  2. shanemac
    Jul 23, 2017 @ 16:43:49

    Sherry, your upbeat story about buying online does me good. Next time I’m trying to buy online I’ll remember this and stay calm.

    Diana, do you mean just the regular kefir grains? I make kefir probably every other day but I’ve never tried to make it with coconut milk. I wonder if that would work.

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  3. Still the Lucky Few
    Jul 23, 2017 @ 20:39:29

    The great thing about your current lifestyle is having an abundance of time! In this case, it all worked out, and I hope you enjoy your yogurt maker!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. sageblessings
    Jul 24, 2017 @ 02:24:40

    There’s a reason the researchers say that travel is the best preventive for Alzheimer’s! Let me know how it works. I have made yogurt stove top but a bother. I love yogurt but not some of what they put into it. Fun read.

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  5. Cathy
    Aug 01, 2017 @ 08:44:08

    Sherry, I actually have a question for you about being a Grandmother. I am wondering how it is going for you to be so far away? I love my grandchildren but don’t want the role of being the babysitter, I spent so much time raising my daughters (loved it!) but now I am relishing my free time. But guilt sets in. I’m now 65 with my husband of 11 years and we are considering moving to another state-much cheaper than CA!! Not sure what I’m asking, but how do I get over the guilt?
    Thanks!

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Aug 01, 2017 @ 09:14:29

      That’s a great question, Cathy, but not an easy one. If we still had only letters to depend upon for communication with loved ones, I don’t know if I could manage to be so far away. But the internet, free Skype calling, e-mails, Facebook, the ability to send photos and videos instantly all tend to shorten the distance and ease the feeling of separation. I awoke this morning to pictures of my 1 year old granddaughter in a park, swinging, mouth wide open in utter delight. It was sent via Whatsapp. I wrote an article about this very GUILT thing for Sixty and Me, an online publication for those of us in our retirement years. If you want to read it you can access it here:

      http://sixtyandme.com/do-mothers-and-grandmothers-ever-stop-feeling-guilty/

      But its a different decision for everyone and I don’t pretend to know all the answers. What works for me, really works! I’m healthy, happier than I ever imagined was possible for a human being, and I get back to the States at least once a year to see family and friends. But the key is to take life moment by moment and enjoy the NOW to the very fullest. We have no promises about tomorrow. We earned our independence by being good parents to our children. Our culture in the US is not communal like it is here in Bali. We are encouraged to strike out on our own, ‘try our wings’ and be independent creatures. No one but you allows guilt to enter in. If others cast shadows over your decisions, know that they’re probably jealous. They see you doing what they wish they could do and unconsciously want to hold you back. Don’t fall for it! We get one chance (well, as far as we know) at this life and I don’t want regrets at the end. It’s important to figure out what’s right for right now. You don’t have to know all the answers, just be true to your own heart as the path opens before you.

      Thank you for your question! I’m wising the best for you!
      Sherry

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