If everyone haven’t been yet in Bali, everyone already thought to go there. This island paradise surrounded by even more heavenly islands, where everything is possible for French people like us…
Last year, in November, I decided, just sort of spur of the moment, to go in Bali with my friends. We bought a ticket from Brisbane. 5 hours flying, drinking lots of wine (actually no because we started to get merry with three glasses and the stewardess told us to calm down!) Everything was alright!
Arrived in Bali, we discovered the first negative point of this country : scams! Balinese people clearly jumped on us straight at the airport’s exit to offer rip off us with a taxi. Someone told us before to come in Bali to always and only take the « Blue Birds Taxi » because this company is the only one to drive with a mileage indicator (so less swindlers!) but the problem is they all say they’re « Blue Birds Taxi » and no one has any mileage indicator (we’ve looking for 30min!) Anyway… We had to be ripped off (even after bargain haha!) to reach our hotel and sleep…
From that point, we understood that was their culture to bargain everytime. First they offer a price three times highter than the normal price, like that european citizens we are split it by two which they accept and finally everyone’s happy while they’re winning! Well, they’re clever than us! It’s thus became a game for us to bargain as much as we could for each purchase, each petrol drop or even each bread crumb!
Although, it was at one point that we really thought they were really abusing our wallet…
Second day, we visited Ubud and temples that surrounded that typical village town. Because yes, Ubud changed a lot (we were told) and became as touristic and busy as Denpasar or Kuta. We were thus on the way to visit one of the most popular and mythical Bali’s temple : Besakih Temple. At the entrance, some girls were there to sell sarongs to visitors (an obligation to be allowed to come in the temple) and a kind of fluent french guide was given to us. Well, we didn’t want any guide but it was apparently included in the price… Anyway, we came in the temple with this guide and started the visit. Then 10mins later, we arrived in a supposedly prayer room. The guide set us up and telle us to pray. What we did! Ok, we found that funny and weren’t serious at all but we did! Haha! We apparently prayed for a God whose I don’t remember the name or the vocation, and we gave him flower petals as offering and thanks. Pray finished, the guide asked us to give a real offering to the God. A real offering? What are you talking about man? Yes, a real offering is money. WTF? We refused because we already paid the entrance, the sarong and the guide (pretty expensive though) and pretended we didn’t get any change and just big bills we didn’t want to use. And then, like a miracle, another guy appeared and said: « I can give you change no worries »! Whaaaaaat??? But where is this guy from? You know, is like he was here in the room and no one could see him, and BIM he appeared to rip us off again! We couldn’t believe that! So crazy! What a business! How can they make you believe that you’re in a religion and worship place whereas everything is fake and every single visitor is « manipulated »? They should put an ATM for that matter! Haha
And if I tell you it’s not the end of the « manipulations » you won’t be surprised! The visit goes, we
pass a ceremony wondering if that one was also fake you know, and we reached at the end, happy to leave this place and this guide! We saw again the sarong’s girls, hoping a « good bye » or « see you soon » from them, but then they started to run after us bawling «sarongs back, sarongs back »! Whaaaaaat??? We didn’t buy it? Haha Unbelievable! You should have seen our faces! That was enough!
It’s a pity that they have this notion of tourism because it really disgusted us and we did not want to visit other places because of that.
Therefore, we changed our plans and decided to discover Bali in our way. That meant scooters rental for the rest of the trip and free places and free access visits : landscapes! It’s even better and easier to see beautiful things!
We’ve been to the south of Bali. Seminyak, Uluwatu, Jimbaran, Padang Padang and also Bingin, we had a pretty cool lifestyle, like hippies but rich hippies haha and without scams! We slept in luxury resorts or private villas with private pool for the price of a night in a backpack in Australia. A perfect service provided, a unexampled cleanliness, what more could we ask for? That was really awesome! But there again, something troubled me. You’ll sell « fuck this girl is bitch and never happy! » No, really, I swear one thing offended me. Behind my super luxury villa with private pool and triple king size bed’s wall, was… an open pit dump, In which children came to search for food and things to resell. Surely the remains of my dinner the day before. That made me very uncomfortable. And I noticed these dumps in several places, really two steps from the luxury in which I lived.
It’s that big gap in between rich tourists and poor locals that made me ill-at-ease and made that I could not fully enjoy my holidays like these. I know they might be happy in their own way and they do not « need » much to live on but I didn’t like having that contrast in front of me.
However, I’ll definitely go back in Bali to explore the north and the east parts which I couldn’t visit that first time, and the surrounded islands. That country is really nice and has a lot to give us I have no doubt.
Well, everyone has a vision of things anyway!