10 for $10

As a follow up to my “10 for 10,000” post, I thought I’d make a list of things I’ve paid about $10 for here. One dollar is around 14,000 Rupiah, so $10 is about 140,000 Rupiah. And without further ado:

  1. Fabric and a shirt. Around $10 gets me 2 meters of batik fabric (60k Rupiah) and a custom-tailored shirt (80k Rupiah).

    Featured here is my custom-made batik shirt and one of my students, Nurhalimmah, at a national English speech competition in Jakarta. More on that eventually…
  2. Tickets to Borobudur Temple. If you’re buying domestic tickets to explore this beautiful Buddhist temple, you can get tickets for a family with 4 adults and 1 child (30k apiece for adults and 15k apiece for kids under 6). If you’re buying tickets at the foreigner price, you can get half of 1 adult ticket (280k).
  3. Lots of photocopies. At 150 Rupiah per copy, I can get 933 black and white copies. And I’ve definitely made more than that over the course of my 9 months here.
  4. A bike as good as new. When I noticed my handlebar grips kept sliding off my bike, I let it go without a second thought. When I realized my brakes weren’t super great anymore, I reasoned that they still stopped me so there was no need to panic. When my kickstand ripped off, I said no big deal, a kickstand is hardly a necessity when you’ve got plenty of walls and fences and motorbikes to lean your bike against. But when my back tire went flat beyond repair I knew it was finally time to figure out how the hell to fix my bike. With the help of Bu Mul, we brought it to a bengkel, a mechanic. For a little over $10, I got a whole new back tire, plus new handlebar grips, plus new breaks, PLUS AN AWESOME NEW KICKSTAND!
  5. To Kill A Mockingbird. A few weeks ago, the school’s librarian approached my desk and in the mafia-est way ever smiled and suggested I give the library books. Though slightly unsettled, I loved the idea and looked for either classic American/English books translated into Bahasa Indonesia or English versions of classics. The selection wasn’t too great. I decided against Indonesian editions of Great Expectations and The Scarlet Letter because there’s a lot of cultural stuff wrapped up in both. Instead, I went with English versions of The Little Prince (which I know is actually French, but it’s a classic and it’s not Dickens or Hawthorne so that’s a plus), How To Train Your Dragon (great book and there’s a movie to watch to help you get the story), and To Kill A Mockingbird (it seemed right).
  6. Postcards to the United States. It takes four 3,000 Rupiah stamps to mail a postcard to the US. Postcards range from 3,000-5,000 Rupiah. So for $10, I can buy/send about 8 postcards.
  7. Bills bills bills. My combined monthly water (a flat fee of 46,500 Rupiah [though it used to be 37,500 Rupiah] and electric (around 120,000 Rupiah [though this fluctuates based on how much time I spend in my room with the AC on]) bill is about $10. I pay separately for drinkable water (17,000 Rupiah for a large water cooler gallon drum thing) and gas for my stovetop (I’ve only had to change this once and Bu Mul took care of it).
  8. My motorcycle helmet. An excellent investment because I wear it all the time.

    IMG-20151018-WA0008 (1)
    Above: me learning to drive a motorcycle in the school’s courtyard. I’ve developed a love of motorcycles, though I promise I’m not cheating on my bike.
  9. Wayang kulit and 10 eggs. A traditional wayang kulit shadow puppet made of painted buffalo hide for 120,000 Rupiah. There are over 400 characters and, even if they’re not all used in the story you’re watching (which will run about 8 hours, from around 8pm-4am), many are on stage flanking the playing space. One puppeteer (called a dalang) does his thing the whole time with a gamelan (a type Indonesian orchestra made up of lots of different traditional instruments) and a gaggle of sinden (female singers). It’s pretty spectacular! Eggs from Indomaret are 1,500 Rupiah apiece and you can get them in packs of 10 (not a dozen for some reason).
  10. This awesome batik map of Indonesia and 5 bottles of Coke. I found the map in the Jakarta airport for 118k Rupiah, and Coke is 4k a bottle (unless you buy it from this random store near me which charges an extra 1k for refrigeration).


Until next time,



One thought on “10 for $10

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s