Sunday, June 15, 2014

Banjar Hills Retreat is now under German management


My favourite hide-away in the cool hills of northern Bali has been for many years the small Banjar Hills Retreat - read here how I first discovered it.

It has recently come under German management. Ralf Pelzner and Anke Sawalies came to Bali for the very first time five months ago. Back in Germany they had been waxing bodies - see here - , now they are waxing lyrical about Bali. After just one night's stay, they had fallen in love with Banjar Hills and leased it for the next two years with an option to buy (of course, no foreigner in Indonesia can "buy" real estate which is something else they've yet to discover - click here).

As they don't speak the local language, know nothing of the local customs, and, most important of all, have not yet been confronted by the everchanging imigrasi rules which require them to maintain valid residency permits and working visas, they're facing many problems, all of which reminds me of this little story:

The Devil appeared to a man on his deathbed. “I’m going to give you a choice between Heaven and Hell,” he said. “And just to make it fair, I’m going to let you see them first.”

And there it was, Heaven, just as it was supposed to be: halos, harps, the lot; pleasant but dull.

Hell, however, looked terrific: drinking, music, dancing girls.

“I’ll take Hell,” the man said.

After he had died, though, Hell turned out to be exactly what you would have imagined it to be in the first place: flames, screams, demons, pitchforks.

“Wait a minute,” the man complained, “this isn’t what it looked like before.”

“No,” the Devil said, “but then you were a visitor; now you're a resident.”

I had blogged about their potential problems but was immediately shouted down by them in an email full of capitalised letters, even though only a few months earlier I had given them a well-meaning recommendation on Well, it didn't assuage Ralf's fierce Teutonic anger. "UNVERSCHÄMTHEIT!!!" (impertinence), he screamed in capitalised umlauts and demanded that I IMMEDIATELY take down his facebook photo which, even though in the public domain, is, according to him, "VERBOTEN" under German law to be shown anywhere else.

Well, Ralf, as an "inn-keeper" you had better get used to being a public figure who can no longer invoke Lèse-majesté! However, I do realise it's time for me to find myself another Bali hide-away, one that is run by charming Balinese, and leave Banjar Hills Retreat to those Germans and their laws! Which is just as well because Ralf has already put up the room rate by 30% to 450,000 - that's rupiahs not Deutsch-Marks!