Bali – The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Approach with caution

Tourists enjoy a drink while watching the Bali sunset in a bar along Seminyak Beach, just north of Kuta

For those looking for a trip within their trip, there are also the random magic mushroom stalls, which seem to be sort of semi-legal. Though it’s probably best to steer clear of the countless blokes outside shops whispering “Viagra, Cialis, Xanax, Valium…” as the best you could get from them is a three-day boner, the worst is picking the wrong guy and getting to check out Schapelle’s old cell – from the inside.

After three days of that hassle you’ll want a shirt that says, “No, I don’t want your pharmaceuticals – I’m a local – can’t you tell? I’m wearing a Bintang singlet!” And another thing that gets old pretty quickly is the traffic. If you are heading anywhere besides the closest beach or bar, factor in an extra hour or three. And when buying mum that hand-painted image of a scenic sunset that will go straight to the pool room before landing in her next garage sale, don’t forget to haggle. If you don’t have the time because your ride is ready to take you to the airport through a mire of mopeds, and saving three bucks isn’t such an issue, be prepared for some confounded looks from stall owners that take it all as part of the game.

Also, and I don’t want to be the one to break your capitalist heart, but there’s a fair chance that those Converse, or the Vans shirt, or those cool Billabong boardies, that were so cheap, may not conform to industry manufacturing standards.

Watch out for…

They might be cute but the monkeys in the mountains can have more than just a chip on your shoulder

When the good Lord created the magical, cooling ice treat now known as the slushie – we think it was called the Adam And Freeze back in Biblical times – we doubt even he could have foreseen that it would be perverted in just two millennia from Coke-flavoured delight to avocado shocker. But if you want to punish yourself, hit the closest convenience store and look for the machine swirling a brownish green sludge. Then leave and say three Hail Marys and an Our Father.

Oh, and get ready to say a whole lot more if you take more than a casual glance at the dogs, you thought were so cool to play with on the beach that morning, getting their freak on doggie style in the afternoon. I mean, we understand that’s what dogs do, but seriously guys, get a room – there are children around.

But for real, let’s be respectful about this – Bali is a place mostly held up by the tourist dollar. In the wake of the tragic 2002 bombing in Kuta, and continuing warnings of terrorist activity, it’s worth being sensible about things. But also – selling stickers saying, “I [heart] big fat pussy” would seem to be pandering to a certain class of pissed tourist. I’m still waiting for my mate to find the one I slapped on the back of his car last night.

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