Bali: first impression

I’ve been living the island life for just under three months now, and you won’t catch me complaining! I’ve never been to Bali before I took this job, so I didn’t really have any expectations or preemptive thoughts about the paradise island except that it’s very touristy. Well, that part is certainly true enough. The whole island is full of foreigners, especially Kuta, the so-called tourist hub.

I’m still getting used to the culture here, and whenever I see a huge crowd of people all dressed in white closing off the busy main street in front of my kos (which happens more often than you’d think), I can’t help but want to know more about Balinese culture and tradition. Also, I should probably start learning a little bit of the language so I’ll know if my students are talking behind my back – or in front of my face (I honestly wouldn’t catch on ha.. ha..)

I wanted to try a new format for this blog post, so I’m gonna do it as a Q&A with a few questions that I frequently get from my friends and family back in Jakarta.

Q: How are Balinese people, are they friendly?

A: Yes! I find Balinese so much friendlier than Jakartans. One time, I was in a taxi when a motorbike grazed the side of my taxi. I immediately thought ‘for sure, this guy is gonna yell at that biker’, but instead I witnessed my cab driver roll down his window to give that same biker a wave and a loud laugh as if they were old friends saying “hey, no big deal!” The biker sheepishly smiled and waved back and rode on his merry way. No way would this kind of thing happen in Jakarta. Apparently road rage is not a concept here.

Q: How’s the food, is it good? Are you getting fat yet?

A: Yes, and no. Yes, the food is absolutely delicious, but most of the time everything is so spicy! Of course, I can’t talk about Balinese food without mentioning babi guling, which is such a staple here you can find it at almost any warung. I have it almost every week, but despite this, it seems like I’m somehow losing weight… no idea where that logic’s gone, maybe I just do a lot of walking here. I think the best thing about Balinese food is how they serve sambal matah with almost anything you order. I was having dinner with one of my colleagues one night, we were ordering when he said to the waiter “and please can I have mine with sambal matah, cos that sh** is amazing!” He’s British and I’m ashamed to say that he devoured his bowl of sambal matah while I found it too hot to handle. Sometimes I think my foreign co-workers are more Indonesian than me. He’s not wrong though, that sh** IS amazing.

Q: Do you go to the beach every weekend?

A: This question will be answered in a comic soon… hopefully. Watch this space! The comics just might be making a comeback. But judging from the photos in this post, you can probably guess the answer to this one already, right? (Hint: there are four different beaches featured in this post.)

Nope, you definitely won’t catch me complaining, even with the threat of Mount Agung erupting and covering us all in volcanic crap!


a/n: Sorry for being MIA these past couple of months. Things have been super hectic at work and in my personal life, and I’m still trying to adjust to the new environment. Thank you for being patient, hopefully now that things have calmed down a little, I can try to make time for more blog posts.

Lexicon

Kos: a sort of residence where people can rent out rooms for short or long-term periods. It can be in a house that the owner lives in or a building with this sole purpose in mind.

Babi guling (suckling pig): a Balinese pork dish, where a whole pig is slowly roasted over a fire. It’s usually served with rice and other side dishes.

Warung: a small restaurant on the side of a street, most are not particularly hygienic and most definitely will not be air-conditioned, but the food can sometimes be totally worth sweating for.

Sambal matah: a spicy Balinese condiment that includes raw chilies, shallots, lemon grass, garlic, etc. It’s usually served to accompany a fish or chicken dish, but in my opinion, it’s good with everything.

Bali: first impression

4 thoughts on “Bali: first impression

  1. The likelihood of road rage should be proportional to the number of drivers on the road so it’s not surprising that Bali motorists are more easy-going than Jakarta motorists. Will Bali develop its own road rage problem as its driving population increases? I guess we’ll have to ‘stay tuned’, eh?

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