A few comments on Bali…

So this weekend I found myself in Bali once again, the last time I was there was over 4 years ago, and it seems in that time not all that much has actually changed. In fact, some things have gotten a heck of a lot worse and/or more annoying. Here’s a few comments on things I’ve seen…

  • Taxi drivers? Does honking at people incessantly actually get you any rides? I mean, I know you’ve done this forever, but I just can’t imagine anyone being ecstatic about it.
  • People offering transport? You may want to look at what I just stepped out of – I’ll give you a hint: it’s a car. This should give you a small hint as to why I’m not bouncing around like a bunny on crack all happy with your offer.
  • Sales people? You may want to learn how to read your customers and back off a little.
  • People selling things on the street? When someone has indicated they aren’t interested, the worst thing to do is follow them around and keep whinging at them. This may at some point get you punched.

And that’s just a few of the things you run in to. The latter one especially bothers me because it’s not a single random occurrence, it actually happens quite a lot where someone will either follow you in a very obnoxious way, or almost intimidates you into buying things. It’s not going to make people want to buy whatever it is you’re selling, and in fact you’ve just ruined it for your fellow Balinese.

That brings me to another rather interesting point; just because I’m white does not mean I can’t speak (or understand) Indonesian; I can, you see, and some of the things you hear are not just offensive but plain out rude.

It does seem Bali has gone downhill some over the years, all I really get from the above encounters are that the push for more tourist dollars is getting to the point where almost the whole island seems to be playing the “who can be more greedy” game, and that’s a damn shame.

It’s still an enjoyable place to go, though, as long as you’ve got good company.

Ben van Staveren

A somewhat odd traveler, wanderer, wonderer and all-around sarcastic pain in peoples' asses, most of the time. Keeps busy with IT security, random acts of geekery, and other things that have nothing whatsoever to do with IT, computers, or electronics. Can currently be found residing in Jakarta, Indonesia.