8 Flies in the Balinese Ointment: A Russian’s Point of View

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8 myths about Bali with effect of disclosure from Russians.

Myth #1: Bali is a paradise

Snorks! No, surely, each of us has his own paradise but there should be some average idea. Something like a beautiful small beach with no many people around, dense jungle behind, marvelous corals and a small village not far away. And it’s the picture that most expect to see in Bali. Snorks two times. Bali is a huge island resembling an anthill full of unattractive and obtrusive natives, ugliest Australians reeking of fish and carnation. Everything outside is muddy, stinking and usually homely.

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Myth #2: What a wonderful sea!

Despite the fact that Bali is an island surrounded by water from all sides, it’s quite problematic to bathe there. In Changu the waves are very heavy and are not recommended to come into. Someone may like it, but if you want to swim and not to be spread by a giant wave over the sand, you will hardly like such rest. The same sea is in Cuta plus a great plenty of crazy beginners with boards striving to land a blow on your head. Besides, the beaches are crowded with beggars and money-grubbers, so you can relax only at a swimming pool with chlorinated water. Lovina and Candidasa are renowned for turbid and dirty water and sudden stones, Nusa Dua – for tides, but probably, better beaches are there, in Nusa Dua, and in Sanur. Anyway solitude is possible only in the hotel room. Unwillingness of the islanders to make it all more comfortable is explained only by one thing – the superstition that the ocean is inhabited by evil spirits.

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Myth #3: Beautiful tan

As you are virtually on the equator, more than 30 minutes in the sun is not possible, even if you apply 50SPF to your fingertips. Of course if you do not plan to dumb out with your ass red in the room. So, even don’t try to get a perfect tan, perhaps only a little at 8:00-10:00am or 4:00-6:00pm.

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Myth #4: Inimitable Balinese cuisine

Even compared to the level of Moscow restaurants Balinese tom yum in most houses is rather “of a sort”. Strange as it may seem but better tom yum is in nonmarine Ubuda, and in the restaurants for the Thai in Bangkok where it is nearly heavenly tasty. Tuna, snapper, shrimps and octopus are not actually bad. And it’s hard to find oysters. Let’s say the Balinese cuisine is not so wow-wow, but just good. And as usual, the most delicious and inexpensive food is in the hash houses for the natives but the entourage and sticky tablecloths are displeasing.

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Myth #5: Bali is cheap

Nothing of the kind! Undoubtedly, if you go by “bemo” – local minibuses bend double and snuffing aboriginal “aroma”, if you do not travel about the island limiting only to one district, if you live in a cheap losmen, eat hobo-food and tolerate insanitary conditions – the saving will be evident! Otherwise you have to dip into your pocket for 100-150$ a day for two. Local beer (nothing out of the common) costs 2-2,5$ for a bottle 0,6 l – that is substantially more expensive than in Moscow.

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Myth #6: Durian. Stinks like hell, tastes like heaven.

Both statements are falsehood. Fresh, just picked durian nearly has no smell at all. Insipid taste, fibrous flesh. Lick, bite, spit out. It becomes fetid only after being half a day in the sun and it won’t come in on the mind of a sane person to eat it.

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Myth #7: Luak coffee

The best and the most expensive coffee in the world. The story of the coffee is as follows: a viverra animal (shabby cat-fox) roams about the forest and fresses Arabica berries, then it craps with grain that is picked, fried and sold to gourmets. In Balinese cities 10 gr (one cup) of such coffee costs 250.000 local MU equal to about 25 US dollars. Concerning the taste – simply tasteless.

Myth #8: Monkeys are cute151

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61 thoughts on “8 Flies in the Balinese Ointment: A Russian’s Point of View”

  1. Hmmm, very strange story. So you come from Russia to visit Bali and what do you expect? To not see grey skies, grey architecture, grey landscapes and grey people for once or to find 5 star hotels, 5 star food and 5 star treatment… I think not so long ago it would have been heaven for any Russian to visit green, lush, warm and friendly Bali but man did “we” get spoiled and all of the above is suddenly not enough anymore…

  2. Been there, seen that. What I remember is a dustbin on the beach saying “Please, keep the place tidy” in English. Foreign tourists were throwing the trash into the dustbin. The locals were throwing the trash anywhere but into the dustbin 🙂
    On the other hand, snorkeling at Gili Meno and trek at Mt. Rinjani were great, so the holidays were worth the money spent.
    Bemo is terrible and the local habit of spitting on its floor and thoughtfully stirring the spit with bare foot is extremely disgusting. Guess the best way to move around is to rent a scooter.

  3. I’m Australian and I have never been to Bali but I know many who have (including members of my family).
    The reason there are so many ugly Australians there (along with ugly Germans, Dutch and other Europeans) is that it is very cheap.
    In Australia, I could spend Au$700 to fly from Perth to Sydney (a distance of thousands of kilometres, one side of the country to the other) with no return ticket or accommodation. Or I could spend Au$700 for a return flight and a weeks accommodation in Bali. It is very cheap so all the ‘cheap’ Australians go there so they can claim they have been ‘overseas’

    • Dubai was very cheap before it transformed into the world famous extravagant mega city it is today.

      Maybe Bali will be competition for Dubai someday.Anything is possible!

      • Dubai should be cheap, it is a total dump. The place smells horrible because of raw sewage being dumped into storm drains flows into the marina and onto the beach. It is miserably hot, hotter even than Las Vegas. The dust storms are horrible. The palm trees will all look dead in Dubai, but they are not dead, just covered in dirt. Poor unemployed former constructions workers will try to jump in front of your car, hoping that you will hit them and have to pay their family compensation. Dubai is also, actually very boring. Because of the Islamic culture it is impossible to have any good dirty fun like you can in other countries. Dubai is like Vegas without the fun.

          • I have read a negative article about Dubai!

            It did speak about the raw sewage dumped right off the beach where some hotel was.

            It also spoke of how workers are misled into travelling to Dubai with promises of a good wage but quickly have their passports taken from them and are force to work for practically nothing.
            It said that many housekeepers there are beaten and abused in other ways.

            I believe it said that it wasn’t only some of the Arabs who were abusing the housekeepers like that but some English people who had moved to Dubai from England had been known to have done it as well. It seems some of the housekeepers had run away and got help from someone. Does anyone know about an article like that?

            • The Dark Side of Dubai

              http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/the-dark-side-of-dubai-1664368.html

          • I should have written Dubai had the first 5 star hotel on the plannet.I am sure there are other 5 star hotels now somewhere in Google!

  4. When you travel, you expect to see a place that is different from what you are used to. Bali is what it is. I have travelled to a few places far from home and there is always something I could complain about, but if I really minded I would always stay home. Travel is an adventure. Sometimes the food or accomodations or local customs aren’t to your taste, but you travel to see something different, so it won’t do any good to complain.

  5. hmmm… If Bali does have both white and black sandy beaches, I wonder if that’s where L.E. Modesitt, Jr. got the idea for the Island of Recluse in his Saga Of Recluse?

  6. Bemo is terrible and the local habit of spitting on its floor and thoughtfully stirring the spit with bare foot is extremely disgusting. Guess the best way to move around is to rent a scooter.

  7. I’ve never heard of anyone going to the beaches there to relax, usually they just want to surf. I agree about the sun though, it’s better to be in places where it isn’t as strong, and not sunny often, but when it is you can go out in it. I live in a very sunny place but I spend more time in the sun in places like that, because here it just burns in a few minutes.

  8. LOL, you must be SO far from paradise you don’t know it when you see it. Australian people homely? Geez haven’t you been looking at the pictures of Russians on your own site??? Hahaha your women are hairier than your men!

  9. kamu semua apakah belom ada yang pernah ke bali..
    aku sendiri orang indonesia gak pernah ke bali…

    hahahaha bagi aku. aku cuma mau ke russia…gak mau kemana-mana

    gara-gara indonesia bencana parah-parah
    longsor, hujan…

    haaa andaikan indonesia ibukotanya bali bukan jakarta…
    awkawkawkawkawk jakarta penuh dengan kebnjiran…

    peach from jakarta, indoneisa
    suprise with this posting… thx for posting this

  10. I’m Australian, and devilishly handsome at that. The author must be of a god-like sheen to pronounce others ‘ugly’, especially as scientists agree eastern European males have faces like bashed crabs and teeth like rotting stilts. The whole travel experience must have been quite traumatic, since it seems to have put him off his original goal of browning young lads, an activity that makes Bali quite a Euro-magnet, I hear. Better luck next time, old chap!

  11. More than a bit racist aren’t we? Not surprising though, coming from a country that assimilated several eastern countries by force and then treat them like second class citizens.

    For all your myth debunking, almost all of them are totally from a westerner’s warped view LOL.

    Your most obvious mistake: Durian

    OF COURSE Durian is tasteless when picked young. ROFL. It’s like picking oranges that are still green and expecting to know the taste of the actual ripe orange when eaten.

    Durian is NOT eaten immediately (Durians that are picked young are usually eaten as VEGETABLES, not fruit). Usually you let it ripen first after buying it. You will know by the smell when to eat it.

    The smell is also kind of a personal taste. Some people find it very very fragrant (like me), some people compare it to sewer smell (which I disagree with intensely). Something to do with pheromones I guess. The smell is overpowering, but for me, underneath the initial smell is a fragrant sweet smell that I just can not describe. Think of it like perfume. The musk is of course, unpleasant on it’s own, but when mixed with another fragrance, it serves as a carrier of the smell. That’s the way Durian works. It’s just that most people only smell the ‘musk’ and fail to detect the underlying smell.

    Durian is also simply delicious. Unlike anything on Earth. It’s a shame you didn’t eat it correctly. You could’ve at least tasted Durian candy (which has none of the overpowering smell) but the same flavor. Albeit without the custardy texture that makes the fresh fruit so delicious.

    I’m half-Filipino, half-Canadian and Bali is close enough to us. I wonder why foreigners always think they have a right to simply say ‘Ugly people! Homely Australians!’. As if they somehow expected that everyone out there should be flawlessly beautiful. Hah. Throwing stones from a glass house indeed. When our people do visit your countries, it’s the same impression, you are not very beautiful either. More so because a lot are so obese from all the greed and of course the disappointment fueled by the fact that given that Hollywood people are beautiful, we kinda expect y’all to look like them. But guess what, we don’t tell you about it in your face. Because it’s RUDE.

    Manners. Your collective momma didn’t teach you it.

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  13. 1. Bali is cheap, then the real is very expensive, hahahahaha you know it NOW??
    2. Monkeys are cute. yeah they’re cute, except they’re start to steal YOUR bag, sunglasses etc
    but I have a legend from Bali, if you being climbed by the monkey in Bali, you will got lucky (of course in the condition, you are brought nothing)
    3. Luwak coffee is tasteless? think again!! it so tastefull!! if you want to try the real Luwak coffee, then you should go to Sumatera Island. and the cost is very cheap, too!
    4. Durian are both hell? I’m sure you pick the durian when it still green. Pick the durian when it yellow, and I suggest you to pick durian at November. then the myth about durian is true

    Think again about these four. and the others that I mention above, I agree with the wrong myth.

  14. Basically go back to Russia if your not happy,,,, Basically tourists and overseas corporations are destroying Bali, thats the problem…. remember Bali and the Balinese are still a relatively new to Our Western Influences and the crap that comes with it…. Pollution, Influence of Money and the Greed that comes with it, etc etc…. Since I live in Bali and my wife is Balinese Iam worried for the Islands future. Hopefully the Fad wears off and people can move on before we destroy Bali the history, culture and way of life on the Island… Like what has happened in Thailand!!!

  15. Basically go back to Russia if your not happy,,,, Basically tourists and overseas corporations are destroying Bali, thats the problem…. remember Bali and the Balinese are still a relatively new to Our Western Influences and the crap that comes with it…. Pollution, Influence of Money and the Greed that comes with it, etc etc…. Since I live in Bali and my wife is Balinese Iam worried for the Islands future. Hopefully the Fad wears off and people can move on before we destroy Bali the history, culture and way of life on the Island… Like what has happened in Thailand!!!

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