Kev There are quite a few smells but the one most memorable to me was the burning of the rice stalks at dusk which made the whole place smell like a Zepplin concert circa 1974. See my previous post about the dogs. The hawkers will back off quickly if you answer them, Tidak, terima kasih. By answering them in Indonesian it tells them you are not just another tourist and if you want or need something youll ask. Also many of the hawkers are Javanese coming over to cash in on the tourist trade in Bali and dont posess the politeness of the Balineses. Not to sure about what is going on with the litter.
Update and Some 3rd World Realities
My walk around the Gilli T island was pretty cool, but after that I was kinda ready to head back to Bali, and ended up having about 4 extra hours before the boat left…I ate and did a little internet, then just waited!
I left paradise and took a shuttle back to the madness of Kuta/Legian to grab a hotel for the night. Arriving at my hotel was a huge let down from where I was! I was paying the same amount and yet a much lower quality place, and in the thick of busy-ness.
The next morning I walked to Seminyak, a nicer area, and found a nice hotel near the beach and decided to pay a little more for a couple nights in a nicer place while I re-group.
Yesterday I walked probably like 10k in the mid-day sun! I found this authentic Indonesian restaurant where I had lunch (I was the only white skinned tourist in the place!). They only had one thing for lunch- “Chicken and rice”. Sounded boring, but the Lonely Planet recommended this place so I went for it. It was actually a huge lunch! And, I got to try some new things. It came with chicken, chicken liver, and….chicken feet! I was feeling adventurous, so I gave it all a try. The liver was good! The chicken feet were just too crispy/overdone to really get excited about. But, I was proud of myself for trying new food- and, nothing bad happened! And, it was a whopping $3 (although I think that was tourist prices, the local guys were probably paying $1.50).
By the end of the day I was exhausted, but I dragged myself to the beach for sunset, and sat on a bean bag under an umbrella, had an ice cold Bintang and took about 17,000 pictures of the sun right before it set. Sunset seems to be a popular thing here in Seminyak, and people around me were from all over the world.
So one thing that people don’t like to talk about with tropical paradise islands like Bali are the 3rd world aspects. Here’s a list of some of the things that suck:
-At least 3 times a day, no matter where I am, there’s this horrible smell that drifts into my presence. It’s kind of like bad cheese and poop combined. I still have no idea where it comes from, but I intend to find out!
-The sidewalks. No matter where you are, if there are sidewalks, they are crumbling apart- and this includes gigantic holes in the ground that would be easy to fall into if you were not paying attention.
-The dogs and cats. They are so unloved here. Most of them look depressed and beaten down, underweight, and they’re all DYING for food. They seem miserable and some of the dogs just bark a lot for no apparent reason, and the cats all have this scratchy meow that lends me to be more annoyed than sympathetic!
-Many of the beaches are littered with litter! It’s like people just throw stuff out in the ocean, and nobody bothers to clean up. I did see a hotel staff yesterday cleaning their portion of the beach, which is nice. Still, I question why nobody bothers to clean the beaches here. In San Diego, the biggest trash day of the year is July 4th, and the place looks like hell at the end of the day, but at 8am the next morning, volunteers get together to pick up trash, and by mid-day the place is immaculate!
-The hawkers. You can’t really go anywhere without people yelling at you: “Massage sir? Taxi! Transport? Boss, what you want?” It’s constant and gets old after a few times. If you even glance their way, they will get all excited and run up to you and try to get you to buy! One caveat to the hawkers is that, if you want something, they will get it done for you, or find someone that can! And, there doesn’t appear to be any resentment if you don’t buy and just want to ask a question (unlike Tijuana!).
So I’m here in “glitzy” Seminyak one more night. I’m getting together (finally) with my friend Dan later today, who lives about a 20 min walk from where I am. Not sure where I’ll be going tomorrow. I’d like to find waves. There’s a beach here and I was going to rent a board and surf this morning, but the water was a yellowish-brown color after a lot of rain last night. I’d rather not acquire some nasty disease at this point, so I skipped it. I may head north, or south back to Ulu Watu, or I’m even toying with the idea of going back to Ubud for my last week.