I’ve talked to many people during my years traveling in Bali, and I really relate to some things they said they didn’t know about the island. It’s impressive how the place can surprise you even after a very long time. Here’s what my friend learned (and so did I).
I was roaming on Ubud main street, and I saw this huge sign with a bare chested tourist on a motorbike. It was written in Indonesian, so I asked my friend Kadek what it was about. He said ‘It just means you need to wear clothes’. I was bare chested myself, I put on my shirt immediately. When there’s a huge sign where the locals are telling you to dress up, you dress up!
– Harry, Australia.
Living on a tropical island is awesome, sometimes it feels like the beach is your home and many people want to go everywhere dressed for the beach. It’s normal, it’s so hot there!
But Balinese men are very rarely bare chested (only in their family compounds, actually), some will even keep their clothe to swim in the ocean. There’s not problem is showing some skin, but you’ll make the locals more at ease if you wear a light t-shirt or a singlet.
In singapore, you get fined for littering, and it makes the street very clean. In Bali, eventhough there is no fine, I’d say it very clean too. A friend explained me how much effort went in the garbage collection and I was amazed. Now I cringe every time I see someone litter.
– Anna, Singapore
And it’s true! The garbage collection is handled by each village, individually. It costs them a lot of money and a lot of efforts to keep their street clean. Littering literally makes their work harder.
I was on the beach, something tickled my nose and I sneezed. Some local kids there found it very funny and imitated me. The day after, I passed a construction site, and a worker sneezed. To my surprise, his work mates found it funny too! I understood that the kids from the day before weren’t being mean or anything, in Bali some things are just funny!
– Irma, Malaysia
Especially sneezing! But more than that, locals can seem to be making fun of you or each other on some occasions, for various reasons. It’s never ill willed, it’s just humor 🙂 Balinese are also very good at non-sequitur and absurd jokes, which can be confusing, but hilarious once you get it.
I’ve been coming to Bali for 5 years now. And if there’s one thing I learned, is that anger will never get you what you want. Actually it will have the opposite effect. I learned a lot about trying to understand how things work here (and at home too!)
– Serges, France.
During you vacations, there is a good chance that you won’t find any angry Balinese at all. Anger never used to critic or ask for thing -when Balinese get angry, it means there is a very, very big problem. As a tourist, just like Serges, I’ve found that if I got angry I would just make things worse. So now if I want to complain I just ask what causes the problem. It really works better 🙂
This is my own experience. At first I thought I knew Bali because I stayed long in Kuta and Ubud, two places with the opposite ambiance.
But after visiting all the island, I found that every place has its own culture and traditions -and I love it. There is not one Bali. Kuta, Ubud, Lembongan, Ceningan, Denpasar, Klungkung, Amed… all these places are so different and they are all beautiful.
I’m sure there is many more things to lear about Bali, and I’m sure you have your own experience, too. Share it in the comments if you want, let’s discuss 🙂
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