Sitting with a friend, a German furniture manufacturer of some reputation here in Bali, a few days back and he was bemoaning the lack of precision in the country. The problem, it seems, comes from the Indonesian adherence to the centimetre as a the smallest unit of distance. The ‘Centi’ as it’s called here is the standard applied to all building and manufacturing processes. In much of the rest of the world (the USA aside, they’re still somewhere in the middle of the British Empire circa 1776, with inches and yards for gods sake) the millimetre is the defining unit, thus allowing for a level of precision that using centis prevents. I guess that explains the gaps in buildings all over the island. Indonesian architects may build fine multi storey malls and towers in Jakarta, the equal of any in Asia, but here in Bali, the builders and architects seem unable to make walls satisfactorily meet floors. Visit the newish Discovery Mall in Tuban (the link is worth a read..if their building skills are as good as their English, or their web design...), which just feels like its falling to pieces, and tell me it ain’t so.
However that said, I’m mightily impressed by the new footpaths that have been going down around the Kuta area over the past two years. They are well built, the stones fit snugly and they seem to be very disabled friendly, which is quite a step forward. In particular they all feature those yellow plastic middle tiles designed to aide blind folks navigate the streets.
However the footpath building spree seems to have ended, as most of the footpaths in the busy areas have been done and now, disabled or blind you can walk the streets of Kuta with increased confidence…..