• Maria Grzywacz

Bali in times of Lockdown

First things first, I hope everyone reading this is well, safe and healthy. Thank you for taking the time to browse through this piece. It is inspired by my family and friends reaching out, concerned about my well-being in times of global pandemic that has, of course, also reached Bali, where I decided to stay.

This piece is also a sequel to my previous article about Bali in times of Corona. A lot has changed since then, and rather than braid edits into the old piece, I choose to write a new post with new insights.


Practical info about travelling in Bali

As I am typing this, Bali is impossible to travel to (for tourists). The Indonesian government has locked down and is refusing tourists to fly into Bali, at least until April 20th. Neither the free tourist visa nor the paid VOA is issued any more. There are no official quarantine guidelines, but a strong recommendation to do social distancing. All events are cancelled, however, there are still some yoga schools that are open (and even lead teacher training courses!).

Neither Bali nor Indonesia have been announced as Coronavirus hot-spots, however, there is still a big case-number-uncertainty in Indonesia, as too few people are being/have been tested.

“So far, only 71 people on the island of 4 million have been tested by laboratories in Jakarta, which are taking a week or longer to deliver results, and around 40 flights are still scheduled to arrive at the airport each day from the capital despite the declaration of a state of emergency there.” Al Jazeera, March 23rd

The Indonesian government has officially agreed to start granting the emergency visa extensions. ALL nationals are eligible to obtain the Emergency Stay Permit. The emergency extension is for another 30 days, however, if you apply for it after overstaying your previous visa, you must still pay for the days you overstayed your first visa (regular fee is 1.000.000 Rupiah per day, I have not yet heard about the fee being reduced due to the virus, but it could happen). From own experience, I can tell that the Immigration office in Denpasar could be a Coronavirus epicentre in itself. There were probably hundreds of people tucked in a relatively small space, not everyone was wearing face masks, and I even heard and saw people coughing.

Safety measures taken in Bali during Lockdown

All tourist attractions and sites have been asked to temporarily close, however, local temples and wild waterfalls/nature trails/spots, of course, remain open.

People are advised against handshakes, hugs, any physical contact and Social Distancing is strongly encouraged.

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call the emergency numbers for Bali - 112 or 223333 (For Bali Area). bali.com

IF YOU NEED TO GO TO HOSPITAL, YOU WILL BE PICKED UP!

The Bali provincial government has assigned five hospitals to handle cases of corona virus infections. The Sanglah General Hospital in Denpasar, Sanjiwani General Hospital in Gianyar regency, Tabanan General Hospital, Udayana University Hospital and Bali Mandara General Hospital. bali.com

My life in Bali during the lockdown

This bit of the post will be personal - I moved out of the place where I stayed before, as it was hosting too many travellers. People were going in and out, and I observed that many (especially of the younger generation of travellers) did not take the necessary safety precautions. They would still go to gatherings, go on tours, visit places of interest, interact with other tourists, which made me insecure and made me doubt their insight into how dangerous (maybe not for themselves but for people around them) this dismissive behaviour could be.


I moved into a secluded resort, in the northern, much more quiet part of Ubud. I start my days with long walks in the rice fields, where I only pass a handful of local farmers. I still do yoga & meditate, there are both mats and yoga props here but also sanitizers and mat-sprays, so I can clean my space after practice. I started cooking more. I still do not do take-away. I see how people’s heightened focus on sterility and cleanness is pushing people back towards single-use appliances, plastic (or paper, but plastic-lined) food packaging and single-use plastic bags. It’s one of my values I don’t want to compromise, so instead of takeaway, I go to local restaurants (which are mostly empty, which breaks my heart because I see the local economy and small businesses suffer these days) and make sure to sit far from anyone else, and preferably outdoors.

After entering the restaurant, the first thing I do is to wash my hands with soap, and if the place provides hand sanitizer (good on you, Seeds of Life!) I gladly use that too.

My days are filled with nature walks, audio- and e-books (currently reading: Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza and Women Food and God by Geenen Roth), journaling, mindful eating, calls with friends and family members and some work. The entire Corona crisis is inspiring me to work less, but I am still very fortunate to have my writing gigs in times when people lose their jobs and major sources of income, so I am doing all I can to deliver valuable and time-appropriate content to my clients.


What now, Grzywacz?

Not much! As everyone else has concluded, it is my time to go inwards, to appreciate the small things in life, to go back to basics, to cook my own food, to examine the way I see food, and so on. I have no plan, and I love this state of limbo. It's exactly where I need to be. I want to learn how to be comfortable with the limbo. I think, actually, limbo is all there is, but we end up planning our lives excessively to make ourselves believe that we have control over the limbo. Control is a big deal in my world, and I feel that now is the time where I learn to let go. I still want to be of service, I still want to help and inspire. But I also see a lot of meaningless content being produced these days because people are... bored. Recently, an Instagram influencer that I follow, published, a post with the word "HELLO". I mean, it's great, but it didn't bring ANY value. It gave me ZERO. Sure, it inspired some thoughts on meaningful content by being an example of the opposite, but ultimately I want actually inspiring content in my life/on my Instagram feed.

So maybe for you, the times of Corona are times when... you clean up your social media? You're on your phone for 12 hours a day anyway these days, why not press the "unfollow" button a few times? No offence taken if I'm the one you end up unfollowing! I want what's best for you, and I might not have/be the remedy in this case! Stay Safe & #stayathome ♥️


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© 2020 by Maria Grzywacz