Best Laid Plans, A Hindu Priest, And Three Blue Thumbprints

So, after consulting the Oracle, aka Susan Miller Astrology Zone and then determining that Saturday 21st April, resplendent with it’s New Moon, was an auspicious date to sign the contract for a 5 year lease on a Banana field on Bali, the Irishman and I flew over from Jakarta late last night in preparation for the great signing.


We’ve become big carbon footprint Island hoppers. During the week we live and work in Jakarta, but since March, Fridays now herald our exodus from the madness of the megalopolis Jakarta, and in just 1hr and 40 minutes,  it means that we can get to our Bali home at around midnight. Despite the week’s exhaustion catching up on us, there’s no way that we can head straight to our beds.  We sit up till 2am or longer, chewing the fat, listening to the fish jumping in the pool, and enjoy having a couple of beers, embraced by the perfect stillness around us as our heads slowly start to unwind from the stresses of the week.

I wake earlier these days. In Jakarta the call to prayer at around 4-4.30am has become my alarm clock, but here in Bali, beautifully peaceful though it is, I still find myself getting up, and putting the kettle on at around this time, and this morning was no exception. I checked my emails as usual, responded to some messages and then looked at Facebook, which I particularly love reading early morning Indo time, as all my friends in the Uk are then at that point in their evening when they are totally hammered and starting to write quite interesting things on their status’s. For whatever reason, I then decided to consult my Oracle; again

“This is a big month! Once the new moon arrives, April 21, you are about to see amazing good fortune in regard to home and property matters.”

Buoyed up with  confidence and totally believing that I was  in tune with the planets, our potential new landlords, who conveniently also happen to be our new neighbours, then kindly picked us up at 10am. Wayan, Wonder girl (famous, not only for her cuisine, but also for her Rock with your Cock out T-shirt, see ‘Indonesian Fashion. Rule Number One) came with us to act as interpreter as we all squeezed into the back of Ibu’s car and made our way to the Notaris in the next village. Irishman and I had both, I may hasten to add, spent a goodly time (as they say in Yorkshire speak) going through the English translation of the contract earlier in the morning and everything seemed perfectly in order for signing on the line.

Having robbed Peter, to pay Paul, robbed Paul to pay Peter back, and generally shuffled monies around to find the wonga to pay 5 years rent up front, nothing more was needed to be done than to find a BCA bank that could print out a large cheque to hand over to our new landlords and sign the contract.

MAJOR HITCH. What we hadn’t bargained on was the fact that no BCA bank on Bali is open on a Saturday morning for business. There was that terrible moment when you’ve talked the talk and tried to walk the walk and then when push comes to shove, clearly you just can’t deliver the goods. Our potential new landlords naturally looked a tad pissed off, in fact very pissed off, as we all stood outside the bank wringing our hands pathetically not knowing what to do. Meanwhile the Notaris was waiting in the office, for us to return, cash laden, to sign the deal.

Whilst we (Irishman and I) were having one of those ‘I feckin’ wish the ground would swallow me up’ moments, I gamely tried to make light of the situation by commenting on my potential new landlords interesting facial feature which was a lump of rice planted between his eyebrows, and another lump of rice close to his throat. I had guessed that it must have some religious significance, but I wasn’t entirely sure what it signified. There was a bit of a hush, NO, a huge hush, and then Wayan gently took me aside and explained that, Bapak was a priest, a very important Hindu priest from the temple. Well, there’s nothing quite like an idiot Ingriss wanita to bring things even further down.

Despite our faux pas, financial and otherwise, the Priest and his daughter were seemingly undeterred. They recognized that we were upset that we couldn’t do the deal, and they recognized also that we had put everything in place to get things done, albeit not very efficiently. They also knew that we had to get back to Jakarta for work on Monday, and so it was decided that we should all go back to the Notaris and see if the day could be saved.

The Notaris’s office was, well interesting. There was air-conditioning, which was a very welcome relief, and there were a couple of chairs. All around the office there were statues of Ganesha. It just so happens that the Irishman and I are big fans of Ganesha and we have a Ganesha shrine in our apartment in Jakarta but everything else was a little like something from the dark ages. Surly looking women, straight out of a Dickensian novel pored over our documents as we handed them over, one by one, whilst they earnestly checked, and then rechecked, that we had all the correct paperwork. Kitas, Visas, Certificate of Police Registration, our passports, you name it. One very ancient, and extraordinarily rusty typewriter sat on the desk, and once they were satisfied with our paperwork, this was then used to type out the title deeds for the field. Thanks to the World’s best interpreter, it was quickly established that we could do all the signing there and then, and then once the monies had been transferred on Monday, the rubber-stamping, the real deal so to speak, could begin.


We duly went through the process of working our way through the long, but relatively simple contract. It was read first in Bahasa Indonesian, and then read in stilting English. The Notaris was a sympathetic lady, with very little English skills, but despite that, she made it her business, via Wayan, to make sure that we understood perfectly what we were signing up too. Huge respect to the lady.


We duly signed. First the Hindu Priest, then the Irishman, then myself. Then came the piece de resistance….an inking box which was brought out from under the table, and each of us was required to ink the thumb on our left hand and leave a thumb print on the page by our signatures. Three, perfect blue thumbprints, stamped on an official document.

When we got back home, I decided to consult the Oracle again. I was sure that there was a reason for today not going as smoothly as I had originally planned.


“One stunning day for all real estate actions and all contractual, financial agreements will be Monday, April 23, when Mars will link home and financial matters into one beauty of a package.”


As long as we can get to the bank on Monday,  and do the transfer………….










11 thoughts on “Best Laid Plans, A Hindu Priest, And Three Blue Thumbprints

  1. Can I tell you how much I love reading these posts?! I’m so glad to have found you (through someone I can no longer follow). Wonderful!


    1. Hey Martha! Thank you! 🙂
      I’m loving your blog too! I keep laughing about Tom Jones and the knickers…I’m about to catch up with you hun, just seen you’ve got a new post too. Going to check it out right now. Thanks for your comment, always appreciated, as you know.


  2. Let’s hope that Monday definitely is ‘stunning’ and all goes well with the bank! I’m looking forward to hearing your plans for this field…


  3. Pam, it’s so exciting! I can’t wait to spill the beans. With a fair wind and all that we will be starting work on something soon. Finger’s crossed for us please! 😉


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