Quick poll: How many of you have already been to Bali?
If you are reading this and you’re Australian chances are probably high. The Island of Bali, Indonesia takes in 16,000 Aussie tourists per week, on average 25% of total foreign arrivals in any one year are from the land down under.
I am one of them, I think I am up to my 5th stint here in the ‘Island of the Gods’. I was so young the first time I came, that I cannot remember my experience. I had to ask my parents what Bali was like for me when I was a 3 year old.
The 80’s were a high time in Bali’s tourism, so we were by no means going off the beaten track. Though after talking with my parents, I could only giggle at how green they were. Stories of misunderstandings with local airport staff, Bali belly disasters and bartering mishaps led me to believe we were definitely experiencing a new adventure.
I can imagine me as a young tot, wide eyed and full of curiosity. Lucky my parents held me close by because they always rehash stories of my young male posse, local women jumping at the chance to stroke my blonde hair and Japanese tourists cornering me for a photo at any given moment. Times were different then, the world was getting to know Indonesia and Indonesia was beginning to get to know the world. Cut to present day Bali and I can walk down the main street of Kuta without so much as a quick glance some days.
Of course there has been many changes since the 1980’s. The Island has become more aware of western culture, there is a new airport and far too many new buildings, but ultimately the same travel stories are always on repeat.
Really you can’t impress anyone these days because they have probably been to Bali too. Australian band Redgum actually wrote a song about this in the early 1980’s. You must watch this video clip for the hilarity factor but also to listen to the lyrics and compare Redgums’ experience to yours.
How much do you think Bali has changed 30 years on? What do you remember most about your trip to Bali? If you haven’t been, I would like to know what is stopping you? Be honest, we are all friends here. Same, same but different.