Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Interesting Things in Bali

Some things I learned or experienced on my Bali trip:

  • When I arrived at the hotel, I requested a non-smoking room.  I asked the clerk if one was available.  She smiled and said "of course we have them available.  If you want a smoking room, we put in an ashtray.  If you want a non-smoking, we don't."
  • A woman offering sexual services approached me on the street as I was walking back to my hotel one night.  Instead of merely reciting some of the services that were available, she attempted to give me a preview and grabbed me by my crotch.  Although I was quite surprised, I was able to disengage myself and continue on my way.
  • I sat down at a restaurant for breakfast one morning and saw a black iPhone 4 in a black case on my table.  It looked nearly identical to my phone; the only real difference was the screen protector was in worse shape than mine.  I help it up for the waitress to see and she gave it to a couple who I think had been sitting at the table before me.  The owner was very lucky that I saw it right when I sat down.  If I had seen it a few minutes later, I might have mistaken it for mine which I had left in my hotel room.  I guess they are also lucky I just wasn't dishonest and decided to keep it.
  • The Bali people were pretty friendly.  I think just about every place I went they asked me what country that I was from. They seemed interested when I told them the USA, as they don't get as many Americans as they do Australians.  It makes sense as Australia is only about a four hour flight (parts of it anyway).
  • People in Bali drive very similar to people in Thailand.  There is no way that I would drive a car there.  I ended up hiring a driver through the hotel.
  • According to the people I spoke to, Indonesia does not have free public education.  You have to pay to go to school, even at the elementary and high school levels.  If your family cannot afford to pay, then you don't go to school.  
  • Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country, but Bali has a large Hindu population.
  • The people can be pretty aggressive in their sales pitch.  When I went and got a massage, other girls in the shop would come over and offer services such as manicure, peticure, exfoliation and others.  One even offered to wax my chest, but I think that she was joking. 
  • The restaurant chain Flapjacks surprisingly had pancakes that were not very good, but waffles that were just delicious.
  • A lot of guys on the street trying to sell "magic mushrooms".  While it is tempting to buy a mind altering mushroom from some guy on the street, I managed to resist the temptation.  Apparently it is not legal to sell the mushrooms, but like in many places, the authorities are often have an incentive to turn a blind eye.  
  • Beware the sidewalks are often in pretty bad repair.  I found myself looking down quite a bit so that I didn't trip or turn an ankle.  
  • It was very hot and humid during the day, but became much more pleasant at night.  I guess that is not surprising since it's so close to the equator.  

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