I’ve been reviewing everyone’s 2012 year in review lists and 2013 resolution lists and keep seeing Bali listed as a dream location, which makes me wonder if my experience was unique.
Deal Grandma and I took a Mother-Daughter trip to Bali about fifteen years ago and while it was beautiful in that third-world Paradise sort of way, there were two features that immediately spring to mind when Bali is mentioned, and neither of them are positive!
1. It’s the only place in the world where I’ve been chased by vendors on Mopeds. I’ve scolded vendors in the dirt market in Beijing, haggled over 5 Baht at Chatuchak, and once was offered in trade for 10 camels to Deal Dad in Tangier, but have never been harassed by merchants like those on Bali. In hindsight, we were there during a massive devaluation of their currency, so I will give this one a pass.
2. See the picture above. I chose a cartoon rat because the true image is just too disturbing…hundreds upon thousands of rats! I’m not squeamish by nature, and the Deal Kids even have pet mice, but the possum-sized rats we saw on Bali still give me chills.
Granted, we weren’t in a five star hotel, but we weren’t Lonely-Planeting it either. We were staying in Ubud, which is rice country, but the rats were EVERYWHERE…in our room, in the restaurants (UGH), on the beaches, in the shops, in the streets, in the temples, I mean EVERYWHERE.
By the end of the week, we chalked the rat invasion up to the mixture of the food offerings left on the ground daily (a nice gesture, but maybe not in front of our hotel room!) and the Hindu value of treasuring every life.
Bali WAS beautiful, physically, culturally, and spiritually, but the rodent presence overwhelmed the experience. To this day, if I’m ever on Password and the clue is “Bali”, I would say “Rats”.
Am I wrong about Bali? Is there a place others have loved that you just didn’t get? Please share!