Words don’t describe beautiful Bali

Today, I was schlepping around the tourist-plagued Tanah Lot, a Hindu temple perched on a rock in the Tabenan regency, in west Bali. Avoiding the crowds that descend on the temple at sunset, it was still busy mid-afternoon, with a surprisingly large number of Indonesian tourists, out for a perve at their craziest island.

A schoolgirl from Jakarta stopped and asked me if she could take a photo of me for her English school project. No worries, I said. Her friends jumped in the photo, and so did their teacher, and the photographer snapped away with everyone’s cameras.

“Indonesians from Jakarta and other parts of the country like to come here to see the tourists,” explained my guide, Nata. “They go down to Kuta beach to photograph them and tell their friends back at home they met a foreigner.”

“What, in all their bikinis and Bintang beer t-shirts?” I asked. We giggled. Then a bloke walked past: bald, fat, grey goatee, a scrawl of tatts on both calves and a singlet that read: ‘Give me head until I’m dead: Bali’. I did not take a photo.

About the author

Fear is found on a creaking glacier in the Caucasus mountains and joy is encapsulated in the perfect Shanghai dumpling. And while I love a $500-a-night hotel room (who doesn’t?), sometimes the best stories are found in a $20 guesthouse. With an eye always out for good markets and great street eats, I write the travel news and features for the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age newspapers, and features for whoever else asks. I have a particular soft spot for the wilds of the Middle East, scarves and carpets. My articles and photographs have been published in a range of consumer magazines and newspapers in Australia and abroad.

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