Dear Sir

My wife, two children and I, like so many other families, wanted to build our dream home on the dream island of Bali. We sold everything in Holland and moved to find the perfect spot, driving all over the island looking for all those “Tanah di jual” signs. Along the way we heard “nice land, Boss,” “good location, Boss,” and “cheap price, Boss” more times than we could count.
Finally we were rescued by a friend, who introduced us to One Stop Solution (OSS), a company offering to supply everything we needed for our new life in Bali under one roof: knowhow, quality and reliable Western management.
Soon enough they brought us to a beautiful piece of land in a nice banjar, with miles of ricefield views and an ocean view to boot – everything we wanted. It felt almost too good to be true.
We were told, “The land is only for sale if One Stop Solution can do the construction” and “half the land is in a greenbelt area, but no problem.”
The “no problem” list went on and on: getting an IMB (building permit) – no problem; difficult neighbor – no problem; holy river on the land – no problem; exchange land with a neighbor – no problem. Architect, drawings, payments, starting construction before the IMB – no problem. Building without permission from the banjar; building on neighbor’s land – you know the answer. We thought this must be the best company in Bali!
Now, two and a half years later, our home; US$850,000 for the foundation and a lot of jungle.
The work has been stopped four times by the government, police and the banjar, and since the start of construction, OSS workers have been on site for a total of four months.
We paid around $180,000 for the purchase of the land and for the OSS commission. OSS has also received $600,000 from us for a foundation that cost no more than $60,000. Since promising our house would be ready 14 months after the first payment of $140.000, there has been no activity and OSS still haven’t even managed to organize our IMB. Of course everything is still “no problem” and of course they want to finish our dream.
I’m now trying to organize the IMB by myself, and have been told it will cost me Rp200 million ($20,000).
When we threatened to go to another contractor, OSS calculated for the foundation and a concrete pool and they will keep $500,000 of our hard-earned cash. “Didn’t you read the contract?” we were asked. “Oh, you can’t read Indonesian? Pity,” they said. However, the English-language contract seems to be totally different from the Indonesian one made by OSS.
So here we are dreaming about our villa in Bali, and maybe we will be dreaming for the rest of our lives.

André Idema
Pererenan, North Kuta


Re: Kitchen Creativity, or Lack Thereof; Once in a Bali Lifetime, October 10, 2008

Dear Sir

My husband and I recently spent a few days in Bali. When we first arrived, Ted thought he would be interested in taking a cooking class.
After the first couple of meals we had here, he changed his mind. Not only were only part of the menu items available, but most of the food was unremarkable.
We have spent time with Indonesian friends in Jakarta. Part of the time they prepared meals. At other times, we ate out. All was delicious. Bali is going to lose trade, methinks, if they can’t improve.
Thanks for your article.

Dallas, Oregon

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One Response to “Letters”

  1. Kendra Wishart Says:

    I would like to know why so many Muslim women solicit themselves to old caucasian men.
    Don’t they read or understand the Koran.
    I think it is disgusting.

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