Indonesia is where one can easily become a millionaire. At the rate I'm going, I'll reach the point of becoming a billionaire in no time. On average, I pay about 10 to 15 thousand rupiah for a cheap meal. Last time I spent 7000 rupiah for a can of coke and my friend Sally said that it's "mahal" or expensive. I was paying the "bule" rate. (Speaking of the word "bule," in every non-western country I presume, has a word for the white man. In Thai, they are called "farang," in Cambodian "marang," in Spanish, you call them "gringos" and here in Indonesia, they are "bule.")
Every time I leave the country, I have to pay a million rupiah fiscal, quite outrageously expensive. Also over here when renting an apartment or a house, people pay for a year or two in advance! (I often wonder how on earth can they save up that kind of money. Or maybe Indonesians know something about the value of savings that many of us westerners or westernized younger generations may not.) Not only that, sometimes rent can be as expensive or more than in the US, depening upon the kind of living situation you prefer. Do you want an apartment, a house, a mansion, or a castle? Take your pick. A lavish lifestyle is easily accessible by many foreigners.
However, I've adopted to live the ways of the locals by taking buses and eating local food. I figured since I already had food poisoning, by now, my stomach should be as strong as steel. I definitely don't want to miss out on the tasty Sundanese food that tastes much better if you dine with your hands. (Adding to the taste, of course, are the raw elements coming from your hands!)
On another note, I guess I could have lived high on the hog but then again, I need to save money for more traveling in the future and am still paying back that thing called "student loans!!!" It's actually not all bad living like the locals. For instance, taking a bus here is definitely a thrill that doesn't figuratively cost an arm and a leg, but it may literally do so. Still, I like it because it reminds me of riding on a roller coaster.
"I think that travel comes from some deep urge to see the world, like the urge that brings up a worm in an Irish bog to see the moon when it is full." ~Lord Dunsany