Week #21 — brick walls, “finishes”, and stairs

Finishes means applying or installing elements of the house that the guests will experience directly. Gone are the pipes and wires and unfinished surfaces.

As the building continues to rise we are starting to see brick walls where air used to flow, and even concrete smooth finishes that cover up the brick. There’s even cutouts for future windows and doors!


When you don’t have a fancy concrete pump truck

Let’s say you want to pour a concrete floor. The best solution is to use a cement mixing truck and then pump the resulting concrete with a pump truck like this one:

In the above photo you can see a crane supporting a red hose that’s used for pouring the concrete from the cement mixer. It’s a fabulous solution to the problem of moving very heavy materials smoothly and quickly. The only drawback is the cost.

In Bali there are most likely a few pump trucks that are used for large office and hotel construction. But in general it is prohibitively expensive. Instead, the Balinese use an amazing combination of human and machine power to accomplish the same goal: pour an entire concrete floor in one day so that the floor hardens properly.

The above concrete lifter is connected to a large lawnmower-sized engine. A temporary chute made of wood and corrugated aluminum serves the same purpose as an expensive first-world, crane-powered hose.

Women move buckets of rock, sand and cement to the portable cement mixer. Yes, women, who may have worked the rice fields, move the materials to the mixer.

Initially the chute runs to the far end of the wooden framed, re-bar beamed, wire meshed, and bamboo-supported floor. As concrete is filled in and raked into place by the men, the wooden and aluminum chute is slowly dismantled.

Above you can see a zigzag pattern for the aluminum chute as the wooden frame gets smaller and the team moves across the floor.

Typically the workers are from a single Balinese village, similar to construction crews that live on site. In this case it is a roaming crew of workers, moving from one concrete-pouring job to the next.

The crew works quickly, takes regular but short breaks, doesn’t complain, and gets the job done at an affordable price.

Week #14

This week we were able to get most of the forms and beams in place to pour the first floor of the residential side of the building. In addition, all of the columns for the first floor of the guest side of the building have been set in concrete.

We also set two 70 centimeter concrete platforms for planter boxes directly above the basement and will have two more levels of planter boxes as we go vertical (between floor one and two, as well as the rooftop).

Off the rear of the building we set a platform for a concrete landing for steps that will lead to a rear corridor. From there guests can climb to two bedrooms and bathrooms above our living area or continue to the rooftop bar.

(The red arrow shows the concrete platform that will lead guests to a rear corridor.)

We also set two septic tanks in place but had to lift one back up 15 centimeters in order to create a gravity feed from the tanks to the rear waterway that feeds off of rice field overflows.


Week #07

A LOT of dirt was moved around the property over a period of three days, in preparation for an open basement / parking area. Due to the limited size of the property we decided to be as efficient as possible with vehicle parking, and even though it costs more to both dig into the ground and then raise the building up to accommodate the higher base level of the living space — it will prove to be worth it.

After the excavator work was finished we were hoping that the hole digging crew for the foundation would return the next day, but unfortunately the timing was such that the land was quiet for two entire days. The resident building crew returned to their village for a prayer week and will be returning tomorrow. They will probably be surprised that the place looks a bit like a meteor hit it.


Want an authentic Indonesian experience? Try Go-Jek

Although it may sound like it, Go-Jek is not a strange type of tropical fruit. In fact, it’s a full-blown, born in Indonesia unicorn that made it to Fortune’s 2017 list of 50 Companies that Changed the World.

In 2010 twenty motorscooters armed with an Uber-like app hit the Jakarta streets. Eight years later there’s over 1,000,000 drivers and 18 app-based on-demand services that’s dramatically transformed Indonesian life:

Uber can offer you a car, or supposedly a car with a pool (ok it’s just a bunch of people without bathing suits in the same vehicle). Go-Jek offers you the rear half of a crazy scooter driver’s ride, a car without pools, a taxi-type service, and this:

Plus 15+ other services. If you’re staying in Bali for at least a week, it’s worth downloading the free app.

You want breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a late-night snack delivered to your door? No problem. You can choose from the full range of food types and styles, explore menus, and get it all with an almost imperceptible additional delivery cost. Give yourself 40 minutes or so for your order. Relax. Your Go-Jek driver will most likely call to confirm the order. Even if the driver doesn’t know English you can just tell him, yes Go-Jek order, please deliver. Thank you

Want to stock up on a week’s worth of groceries but you’re nervous about piling lots of bags onto the limited real estate of your rented scooter. No worries:

Want a private massage without leaving the comfort of your villa or hotel, at 1/2 or 1/4 of the cost? Try Go-Massage:

The top button tells the service if you are a man (Pria) or a woman (Wanita). Then choose the duration of the massage (60, 90, or 120 minutes). The cost of each is listed in rupiah. For example a 90 minute massage is 90,000 rupiah or $6.47 USD. Then choose whether you want a man or woman masseuse, or whether you don’t care (Tidak Ada).

The degree to which Go-Jek is integrated into the bedrock of Indonesian life is remarkable. To open a warung (small restaurant) without listing yourself on Go-Jek would be instant suicide.

An anecdote: Shelly and I were on our way to the airport a few weeks ago and when we stopped at one of our favorite restaurants, about 75% of the way to the airport, Shelly realized she forgot her phone. We instantly freaked out and I thought, oh well there goes the vacation. Then Shelly says she’ll send for it with Go-Jek. We called the manager at our villa. He handed the phone to the Go-Jek driver when he arrived (having wrapped it to protect it while waiting for the driver — a nice touch). Forty minutes later it was back in Shelly’s hand. We arrived at the airport with time to spare. The cost to get the phone back to Shelly: 25,000 rupiah ($1.80 USD).