Bali, Hi - 2007

A MICABLE H OSTS From Komang, our knowledgeable and affable guide, to the desk clerks, drivers, wait- staff, shopkeepers, janitorial staffs, airline personnel, groundskeepers and folks we encountered as we walked the paddy paths and streets of the towns, everyone was smiling and welcoming to us. The Balinese are very aware of the tremendous economic engine their tourist industry is, both for the island and Indonesia too. The economic downturns that followed the 2002 and 2005 terrorist attacks were felt by all strata of the society, even those whose employment was not dependent directly on the tourists continuing to visit. So, whether is it a good act or a genuine expression of gratitude, the Balinese invariably are gracious to all their foreignvisitors! T ROPICALITY No doubt at all in our minds about just how accurate it is to call Bali a tropical island. The heat was occasionally almost assaultive—we felt it like a heaviness and an unwanted cloaking. The humidity was very high as well, so the sultry air was thick and palpable. But the trees and flowers were prolific in this “hothouse” atmosphere. The blossom colors were flamboyant and vivid, the trees tall and stately with feathery leaves undulating in the indolent puffs of air. Houses and buildings were painted in bright pastel shades, such as we are accustomed to in the Caribbean. The people’s clothing was bright and colorful. The men wore a costume with a skirt (somewhat similar to the goh” in Bhutan) but of much lighter material with much patterning, not simply stripes or plaids. The little hat the men wore with this skirt-like garment was generally made of the same material and shaped rather like an army cap from the 2nd World War. Nothing like a turban, familiar from Indian male dress. The men topped their long skirt with a Western-style shirt. The women dressed in a sari-like garment or in western clothes, but favoring a skirt with a blouse rather than a dress. The clothing looked designed for maximum air flow combined with protection from the very intense sunlight experienced all year long inBali. T AKING I T E ASY Vacationers on tropical islands are encouraged to accept the enervating heat and plan for early morning activities and evening or night ones, allowing for a long siesta or rest period in the heat of the day, from noon to 4 or 5 p.m. when the sun is most cruel. We willingly fell into this pattern and enjoyed the unhurried life style we joined. Traffic in Bali is not as frantic as in other places we had visited this time and the streets are not as crowded. There is not much

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