Can’t Believe My Eyes: Bali contrasts

Life in Bali involves some pretty unusual stuff! Like:

  • Never being able to read the texts sent by your cell phone company.
  • Amazing the balance and weight of things women carry in their heads. Stunning!

    Seeing tiny women carrying 50 pounds of rocks/sand/food/goods on their heads.

  • Suffocating under a haze of cigarette smoke in every single internet shop.
  • Laughing at the cross walk silhouettes that look more like gorillas than people.
  • Keeping cool in a swarm of motorcylces that surround your car like a school of fish.
  • Finding out that Midol only exists in beverage form.
  • Being greeted by a black-haired instead of red-haired McDonald’s clown.

No, you can't buy midol. But in the beverage fridge alongside the CocaCola, energy drinks, and water, you can buy Sehat. How does it taste? Chalky and cinnamony. How did I find it? By utilizing a funny mime session between myself and the cashier complete with props from the mini-market. I started with Panadol (asprin), clutched my mid-section in a cramp-survival pose, rejected the diarrhea medicine, and ended by plopping a package of "sanitary napkins" on the counter before being led to the drinks fridge.

  • Causing the leaves of ground-hugging plants to shrivel just by walking by.
  • Paying thousands for hotels, meals… an ice cream is ten thousand! (Rupiah.)

  • Listening to gossip — unprovoked, the Balinese will tell you anything about anyone.

  • Cringing when a server wipes a glass clean, but then touches the lip with his unwashed hands.

  • Weaving through the tiny vines that dangle down from trees like a beaded curtain.

  • Delighting in the little frogs that pop up everywhere — sidewalks, restaurants, patios…

  • Gorgeous, bright green rice fields everywhere I go!

    Strolling through vibrant green rice fields to out-of-the way cafes with killer views and amazing food.

  • Grappling with the awkwardness of having others clean up your messes at home, run errands for you, and insist on dropping everything to respond to your needs.

  • Being impressed by the importance of small gestures. It would be sacrilege for a person in a t-shirt and shorts to do offerings. However, if s/he wraps a sarong over the shorts and ties a sash around the t-shirt, s/he becomes a holy enough to make offering to the gods.

And last but not least (and specific to us)…

  • Tolerating the disgusting smell of hot chicken skin several mornings in a row while attempting to cook with animal fat. Experiment fail!


Photo credit link: menstrual drink.

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