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Unusual Experiences in Bali – The Telephone Exchange

By admin On Sunday, February 15, 2015 | Comments (0)

Many years ago, during the transition from the Suharto Era to fledgling democracy, The Balinese had a few days of civil unrest. In the typically naïve fashion of the island, this took the form of cutting down a few trees and some minor destruction of property. One of these properties was the Kerobokan telephone exchange which connected all the lines for the private houses, businesses, hotels and villa rentals of Bali in the Seminyak area! Why anyone would want to sever their own lines of communication is still a mystery. Perhaps it was seen as a symbol of a repressive regime, perhaps it was just handy because an engineer had left the main gates open. Whatever the reason, it was a damnable annoyance for all concerned.

Very quickly a new telephone exchange was erected and over the next month, most of the telephone lines came back on; the Telkom engineers working feverishly to reconnect the burnt out cables and plugged them in to the new exchange. Still, my phone line and hence, internet, remained unnaturally quiet. Petitioning Telkom evoked a response of “It’s already connected. It’s working. Go away and stop bothering us.” So I would wait a few days then nip next door and phone them again. Still, my phone did not make a squeak!

Eventually, a member of the Telkom staff suggested that I go to the exchange myself and ask the engineers on site; which is what I did. Entering the main gates unchallenged I wondered around asking where the engineers were who controlled the phone line reconnections. As usual in Bali this was a circuitous pursuit until I came across a man with a big book. In here was a list of all the phone numbers and their corresponding circuit numbers. Come with me, he said, and we entered the mechanism of the exchange. Banks of circuitry rose above my head on all sides as we entered the canyon of its inner workings. This is somewhere where no civilian is usually permitted to enter, around me, thousands of phone lines carrying hundreds of discussions to all corners of the globe.

He asked if there was someone at my house, and there was as I had already anticipated needing to check the line! We rang the house and his instruments determined that there was no corresponding handset ringing. He asked me to try on my mobile phone and, again, his instruments said that there was no phone connected at the other end.

He looked back in his book, and then turned to the end where there was a small list of numbers which had been moved to a different circuit and mine was there! He connected the correct wires and voila, the phone was alive once more. An unexpected adventure into the heart of the Bali telecommunication network!

These days, most Bali villas have telephone lines (and internet connections) to enable guests to stay in touch with loved ones in all corners of the globe. A Bali villa is a great option for more than just a vacation. Many people choose to hold their wedding or wedding reception in villa rentals in Bali and renting one with friends can be a peak experience!

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So What's New in Bali - Villas in Seminyak are very popular right now. The area has grown considerably over the past 5 years and is home to some of the best dining, bars, clubs and boutiques on the island. Other popular locations include Umalas, Canggu, Seseh, Jimbaran and the Bukit Peninsular.
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