The beastly heat of Bali welcomed us on midday the 8th of May, 2009. Not only were we welcomed by the heat, we were also welcomed by some ecstatic taxi drivers, who are also working as tour guides now and then. They were offering themselves to take us to the hotel we would like to stay at, plus be our tour guide during our stay on Bali. It is very common that all the taxi drivers there speak English. They do not use correct grammar, but nobody cares I guess as long as the communication keeps going on both sides the driver and the guests/tourists/passengers.
” Sorry ya if I no speak good English. Here all taxi drivers speak English, but broken. Where you from sir/ma’am? first time to Bali? where you go? hot ya”
Sometimes he switched the code into Bahasa Indonesia, because he knew I was from Indonesia.He then handed us his business card and told us to call him whenever we wanted to explore Bali with him as the guide.
That’s about the common conversation when you get into a taxi and speak to the driver. Well, mostly the driver initiates a conversation. They also sometimes greet you in your language if they know where you are from already or mention ecstatically anything associate with your country.
Bali, as many other places in Indonesia, offers quite so many things to see.It offers variety of food from different range of spiciness; from the not-spicy-at-all food to the spiciest you have ever tried. In all conscience, I am very big on spicy food. Most of the restaurants we’ve been to offer different kinds of foods on their menu, and this often led us to a confusion for sometime. I noticed some people flipping through the menu looking confused on what they wanted to try. Overall, trying out new food on Bali is also a part of the traveling itself. Traveling to me isn’t only exploring new places, but also savoring the local culinary.. Thanks to Mein BT for sharing the happy moments!
I remember being greeted by a middle-aged lady of a foreign beauty when I visited Bali on my high school tour at the end of the academic year 1999. I was on my way back from Kuta beach to my hotel. I remember her countenance when she greeted me “Hello!” and smiled at me. My English was not even close to perfect, and with my broken English, I replied her greeting. She wore a green tank-top, and white shorts; yes, I still remember her as I was a bit surprised being greeted by a foreign woman on the island of Bali. Later, I learned, nearly all visitors there try to greet local and give their smiles to us as a part of blending with the locals.How sweet! We did a bit of chit chat while we were walking side by side. I remember her telling me something, something that made me smile; she enjoyed being there on Bali.
Bali at night is very different compared to where I am from; Surabaya (East Java). It was more than 8 PM when we went out for dinner. Along the streets of Legian region were full of restaurants which did not seem to close any time soon; the night was still long!
just like a song “All night long, all night, all night long”.
Some workers who were dressed differently from other employees of the restaurants, stood in front of their restaurants while offering us or other passers-by to eat at their restaurants. I noticed they also shook hands with some foreigners. They seemed to have known each other I do not know for how long, or maybe they knew each other just recently? who knows.
Some restaurants or places we went to gave us welcome flowers that were slipped behind our ears; the flowers like Balinese slip behind their ears when they are paying homage to their Gods or on the ceremonious events. The restaurants there are mostly open, so you do not have to go inside to know the overall look of the restaurants. I was often captured by the decorations of the many restaurants there. If I were not Indonesian, I would feel like I were home as I saw my flag adorned the wall of the restaurants. I had seen flags from Germany, Australia, Sweden, Switzerland, France, the USA, the Netherlands, and so forth. I guess the owners might be non-Indonesians; they have lived on Bali for some years and run a business there. What a night!
Balinese is not monotheistic and they believe all aspects of their lives are being watched by Gods. Balinese is very spiritual; they believe in karma “ What goes around comes around”. They will do no harm to others as they believe Gods will be in wrath and that will affect their lives, families, and the island of Bali itself. You most likely will see offerings ( incense and some kinds of flowers put in a coconut leave made into a kind of bowl.) The offerings to their gods placed in front of their stores, restaurants, houses, and all that jazz. When we stayed at a hotel in Ubud, I saw an offering placed daily on the porch of the room(s).
Bali is like a coin with two opposite sides; the hustle bustle areas and the tranquil ones. The hustle bustles areas are full of roaring laughter of people, party-goers, shoppers, and all the like. You will forget the frogs, the crickets, the moon. The other side of the coin, the tranquil ones offer you tranquility, the opportunity to contemplate the life and the world and the unspoken words within, a total secrecy of nature where you are able to hear the frogs croak, the cricket, the great opportunity to admire the night sky, and you will be in a deep sleep when it’s time to sleep. The two opposite sides which are bounded by a strong thread called spirituality. The two opposite sides which posses one goal that is to continue on living peacefully for their families, religion(s), and Bali itself. The two opposite sides that amalgamate in the name of “Unity in Diversity” – the motto of my beloved country Indonesia.
Click here to read my tips should you ever want to visit Bali- Bali Tips