Just to balance things, Bali wasn't all that terrible, in case you got the wrong idea from my last entry. It was quite a culture shock at first seeing what it means to have tourism as the main source of income for these folks and hence, every tourist becomes a juicy fruit to wring dry. Once we got wise to this pattern of behaviour, we dealt with it and we really did enjoy our stay.
There were nice people around too. Like the free shuttle bus driver who took us back to our hotel anyway, even though we boarded the wrong shuttle by mistake and the route took us in the opposite direction from where we were going. Also the folks in the main establishments smiled at us a lot but didn't try to make over-friendly conversation, thankfully leaving us alone to browse. And once June got the hang of bargaining, she played the game well and we did get some good rapport from the sarong dealers on Jln Pantai Kuta, where the traditional market is located.
And people aside, Bali is really beautiful. The environment varies so much, from beaches both calm and tumultuous; terraced agricultural greenery; grand mountains and great lakes.
We were there to relax, and relax we did: We half-slept in a large sheltered massage bed on a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean at our hotel in Tanah Lot.
We alternately baked in the sun on the beach in Benoa and dipped in the hotel pool to cool off so many times we lost count of our trips back and forth -- well, I did anyway, June just slept under a large umbrella on the beach.
We got to watch World Cup soccer matches every night on our room TV, or on the big screen in the pub if we wanted.
In the 2 spa sessions we had, we were steamed, skinned, tenderized, basted, marinated and boiled with flowers.
We shopped and we ate... what more could we have asked for on a vacation?
And in any case, we hadn't intended to bring much rupiah back anyway. And we didn't. Mission accomplished!