THINGS TO REMEMBER ABOUT OUR INDONESIAN ADVENTURE
Monday, July 15th
As always, at the end of each trip, I like to compile a list of things that were of note in each destination.
So, as we sit at the airport, these are the things that Shirley and I found interesting about Java and Bali.
1. The standards in Java are not the same as Bali. In Java, hotels and streets are not clean. At least not to our standards or even Bali’s standards.
2. Sidewalks in Bali are treacherous and extremely narrow. Despite the millions of tourists, the sidewalks rise and fall without warning and there are large gaping holes everywhere. You learn early to keep your head down at all times or risk breaking an ankle.
3. Crossing the streets, takes speed and agility because no one stops for pedestrians.
4. In Java, people use a fork and spoon or their right hand to eat. Bali uses fork and knife (not sure if this is because of the exposure to westerners).
5. Java is a predominately Muslim island. Bali is Hindu. The culture is completely different. Bali seems to have the “inner peace” as advertised. Lots of yoga studios.
6. The people are super friendly on both islands. In Java, the people seem generally happy to see tourists and greet you with a quiet smile. In Bali, everyone greets you with “hello, how are you?”, “where you from?”. I don’t think I encountered one crabby local in the entire 2 weeks.
7. Apparently this is the wettest dry season ever. We had short and long downpours of rain everyday in Bali. Every one seemed surprised by this.
8. Java is cheap but gets increasingly more expensive as you move west to east where there are more touristy sites (Borobudur and Bromo) but still much cheaper than Bali.
9. Massages are available everywhere and every ten feet in Ubud, Bali. Even the on the local ferry and at the airport.
10. There is someone offering you a taxi or “transport” constantly in Ubud. And when you get in, the first thing they want to know (after the above), is what you are doing tomorrow and do you want a taxi/driver. When you tell them you are going home, they want to take you to the airport. We took about 6 taxis in the past 2 days and it was the exact same ritual in each one. We felt so bad about not needing more taxis and apologized each time for already having one booked to the airport.
11. Becaks or rickshaws are the main mode of transportation in Java but non-existent in Bali where taxis are new Toyota vehicles.
12. Toilet paper and western toilets are virtually non existent in Java but are wide spread in Bali. In neither place, should you flush toilet paper Rather paper is put in a bin near by. Their systems simply cannot handle it.
13. Everyone smokes in Java, no one smokes (except tourists) in Bali.
14. There are no dogs on Java. The Balinese tell us the Muslims don’t like dogs but dogs roam the streets freely in Bali. Dogs are considered a form of security for the family like community compounds.
15. Motorcycles are the predominate form of transportation. Kids learn to drive as young as 10 years old but get a license at 17.
16. At one of the stores in Bali (our favourite jewellery shop), the lady told us that usually she cannot remember her customers because all white people look alike but even her friend knew when we were coming because Shirley has an Asian face so we were easy to distinguish.
17. In Bali when paying for something at a shop, they take your money and sort of drag it or touch the other products in the store for good luck.
18. Bali is westernized, touristy and easy. Java is relatively untouched, almost primitive in the rural areas and challenging at times.
19. Shopkeepers are not aggressive in Java, never approaching tourist but this changes in Bali.
20. People are extremely proud of their culture and are deeply religious and traditional.
So that's the end of another wonderful adventure.
Signing off from Hong Kong airport.
Shelley and Shirley
ps. I just encountered footprints on the airplane toilet. Every now and then, we see someone try and squat on a western toilet. I can assure you I would never try and sit on a squatty.