Bali Kuta Indonesia
Up Surabaya Indonesia
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Kuta Bali Indonesia: On the beach at Kuta: Outrigger canoes.

Kuta Bali Indonesia: Daily offerings to the good and bad spirits: called Canang.

Kuta Bali Indonesia: One of the "priestesses" preparing the offerings.

Kuta Bali Indonesia: On the beach at Kuta.

Kuta Bali Indonesia: One of a pair of sculptures guarding the entrance to the beach at one point.

Kuta Bali Indonesia: Welcome to our hotel. Do come in.

Kuta Bali Indonesia: Cafe patio next to the Hotel Bali Summer.

Kuta Bali Indonesia: This is Kib Roby.


13-18 September 2002

Greetings from Bali Indonesia

Selamat pagi, that's "hello" from Denpasar Indonesia located near the south central part of the country on the island of Bali. Forget the Bali of your dreams; that no longer exists, having been replaced by unplanned development catering to Australian surfers and "sex tourists." The crowds of boisterous Australian, Japanese and British visitors give the place a swap meet atmosphere. The pristine beach is still there... and the "girls of previous decades" offering massages and manicures... now vintage ladies of long experience. Craft vendors wander the shady parts of the beach offering hand crafted mahogany blowpipes at prices ranging from $10 ("very special morning price for you") to $50 (for the rich Japanese tourists). Foreign visitors, obvious in their shorts and cameras stroll leisurely along the shady sand paths near the water. Outrigger canoes fight the surf or sit idly under the shade of coconut palms waiting for customers.

As usual, I've walked too much and discovered big blisters on both feet last night; there will be little walking for the next few days. Hotels right on the beach at Kuta tend to be of the deluxe, five star kind justifying rates ranging from $60 (my first night) to $250 (Hard Rock Hotel & Cafe). My new $25 a night Hotel Bali Summer is not bad... not wonderful either, but more than adequate. Already I am planning to alter my starting itinerary by skipping the flight up to Jakarta by way of the KL hub. Kuta is another one of those places where motorbikes rule the roads, racing in and out of slower traffic, squeezing between anything wide enough for the handlebars. Alter the pace of your walking while crossing a street and a collision is inevitable.

I've taken a few pictures, but haven't attempted to process either camera yet. This cyber cafe operator says they do not object to my trying to do so. The equipment here is not the fastest or latest, but a lot better than some I've used in my wanderings. I've found access rates ranging from a low of ninety-five cents per hour (no air conditioning) to as much as $3.60/hr for thoroughly modern equipment in air conditioned comfort.

Mosquitoes dine on American tourists, but leave no welts! As there is supposed to be no malaria in this part of Indonesia I only today started taking doxycycline. The generic versions costs a mere $18 for 100 capsules in the local drugstore: no prescription required.

I've met several Muslims on this mostly Hindu island and all have said they are disgusted by the actions of the few fanatical extremists who currently are bringing so much shame on the name of Islam in the West. I just hope these views reflect to true majority attitude of the others in this country where ninety percent profess the faith.

Here in Bali the Hindu majority seem to be very devout. Daily ritualized offerings of flowers, incense, token food, and sometimes small money sprinkled with holy water adorn the walkways at the entrances of most stores around town... and the hotels. Young women hired by those too busy to do it for themselves manage the preparation and placement of the offerings. I learned from multiple sources that these offerings, called Canang have many functions: reflecting as they do the dual nature of man... both good and bad. The contents of the six inch square bamboo leaf dishes remind believers that life is temporary: fire symbolizes birth, holy water the flow of life, and wind symbolized by the incense smoke death. The presence of Canang at a store's entrance discourages shoplifters and encourages shoppers to come into the store: the same with good and bad "spirits." Most ordinary people are gentle and friendly; smiles are quick and genuine. A friend of mine in Santa Barbara put me in touch with an American ex-pat living in Bali since 1991. Kib Roby and his Balinese friend Nyoman joined me for dinner at their favorite local restaurant and filled in many blanks in my knowledge of the island's religious heritage and practices. The dinner bill in our upscale restaurant for the three of us came to about $16... easy to be a "big" spender in Bali!

Hustlers are as thick as flies around the areas frequented by foreign tourists. During the day they are selling "transport" and during the night they are selling "women." During an hour walk my first night in Kuta by the beach, "sex hustlers" approached me at least twenty times! While persistent and numerous, they seldom are obnoxious. Taxi fares are cheap by my standards, seldom running more than $5 for the longest 45 minute trip across town; flag fall is about thirty-five cents.

I'll be taking an over night deluxe "VIP" bus tonight up to Surabaya; fare is $8.40 for the 10 hour ride... and what a bargain. Where else can you get a place to sleep, a full meal at the 01:00 stop, snacks in route, wake-up coffee early morning and transport several hundred kilometers... all for under ten bucks?

No pictures as I've still found no place to process the cameras. I have taken picture, however and they eventually will find their way into a revised version of this "postcard." In the mean time check out this site devoted to Bali.


Fred L Bellomy



Kuta Bali Indonesia: These guys were finally able to give me the information I'd been seeking for hours about the public transportation... usually hidden from tourists.

Kuta Bali Indonesia: This is an indication of the origins of most tourists in Bali these days: clocks on the lobby wall at the Hotel Bali Summer.

Kuta Bali Indonesia: Part of the lush landscaping in the courtyard of our hotel.

Kuta Bali Indonesia: On the beach at Kuta. Here is a tourist getting a massage on the sand. Usually, several otherwise unoccupied ladies will sit down and help out, making it a multiple pairs of hands affair.

Kuta Bali Indonesia: On the beach at Kuta. The lady in the foreground is one of the ladies offering sandy massage. The guy farther back is one of the several wandering beach vendors selling blowguns... segmented for easy concealment. This section of the beach is typical of a stretch about two kilometers in length where the surfers congregate.







Kuta Bali Indonesia: Part of the lush landscaping in the courtyard of our hotel.

Bali Indonesia: This is Uni, a girl at the Dempasar long distance bus station who spent a good deal of time explaining to me in excellent English my ground transport options north to Java.

Kuta Bali Indonesia: On the beach at Kuta.

Kuta Bali Indonesia: Another lovely Canang.

Kuta Bali Indonesia: Another lovely collection of Canang offerings.

Kuta Bali Indonesia: One of a pair of sculptures guarding the entrance to the beach at one point.

Kuta Bali Indonesia: Entrance to my hotel, the Hotel Bali Summer.

Kuta Bali Indonesia: Part of the lush landscaping in the courtyard of our hotel.

Kuta Bali Indonesia: Kib Roby and his Balinese friend Nyoman.

Kuta Bali Indonesia: On the beach at Kuta: Outrigger canoes.


Reference photo: author
 August 2002

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