So, here we are, looking for a house again. This will be the fourth house we've lived in since 2010. They like to rent out houses here by the year, during which time, their obligation as landlords is nil. Does the roof leak? Is a water pipe broken? Is there a hole in the wall. Well, fix it then. Not the landlord's problem.
Anyway, our contract here in Biaung is up, and we are looking to move closer to Denpasar, where my wife works. But this is not an easy task. You have no newspaper advertising houses here. You depend on word of mouth, cardboard signs you might see on the street, or, as a last resort, the help of an "agent".
It is a curious process, and usually a confused one. My friend, Mike, looking out for a house for us, happened to run into a Balinese acquaintance. She told him that she had a house for rent and that he should send me right away. So I met the woman, exchanged some talk, and waited for another party, a man, to pick us up.
We drove away, towards the house, as I thought -- but no, we stopped to pick up another man along the way. While we waited in the car, I asked the woman about the price of the house.
"I don't know," she said. "It's not mine."
So the third party, the man, jumps into the car, greets me happily and says, "So you want to buy a house!"
Hold on. Who said buy? I said rent. We want to rent a house.
This causes him to pull a very long face. "Oh. No want buy?"
"No want buy."
"No lease. Rent."
How unfortunate. He has no house for rent.
But we go to look at his house anyway. Or rather, the house for which he is acting as an agent. Who really knows who owns the thing.
The man pushes open a castle like gate, letting us into a villa property, complete with swimming pool, upstairs and downstairs, full size kitchen, three bathrooms. He's smiling from ear to ear. It's a beautiful property.
"It's very nice," I say, feeling embarrassed about not being a millionaire. "But, of course, it's too expensive."
"Ohhhh. You sure? If you rent for two years, I give you deal."
I really don't even know what I'm doing here. It's confusing and weird.
"I'm afraid there was a misunderstanding. I want to rent, not to buy. The most I can pay is 40 million per year (that's 4000 dollars, folks).
"Ohhhh." He seems very sad.
"Sorry, Do you have anything else? A rental."
"Oh, nggak ada." Don't have.
So the four of us trundle on back to the woman's house. The driver apologizes again for the lack of air conditioning in the car.
This is how it goes, sadly enough. Over and over. The same woman calls me again the next day. Suddenly she has a house in our price range. Really?
And then she gives me a number for her daughter, who just recently got a job as an agent.
Anyway, it's discouraging. It's gonna be a long road. And yet our time is short. We only have until April to move.