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Bali – In summary

April 18, 2012

Bali – In summary

April 18, 2012

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by Kt

18.04.2012

I’m gong to get the lowlights out of the way first

Lows:
Cockfighting
When we’d walked through the small village to view the herons there were baskets with chickens inside in front of a bunch of properties. I thought that was just where they kept their chickens ahead of putting in the pot or whatever. We also saw a man walking down the road with a large cockerel in his arms. Mark commented on how the cockerel seemed perfectly happy. We realised with horror, as we left the village, that those chickens in the baskets were all cockerels and they were being kept for cock fighting. We drove past two sets of men that were partaking in this ‘sport’. It was really disturbing and I hate animal cruelty for sport on any level. It is illegal, having been banned in 1981 and it is enforced sometimes, as people I’ve met have seen Police breaking up such events, but I guess if it’s something they’ve always done and is common place. I suppose you’re gonna have to come up with something pretty cheap and exciting to replace their buzz. Anyone, even the most poor, can easily get involved in this barbaric pass time. It is of course horrifying but I’m aware that I’m not in a position to judge. These things happen and it is a different world to that which I live in. Seeing as our government is trying to weedle stag and fox hunting back on the agenda after it was, happily, being banned for last 10 years. And we are supposedly an ‘educated’ society (well, educated at Eton, in the governments case). As for the Trump brothers and their sicko jaunt to Africa to kill as many ‘trophies’ as they could pay for (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-24/trumps-sons-in-trouble-for-zimbabwe-hunt/3910068) Well it’s all proof that if we can’t stop this kind of thing happening in our so called developed world, then storming in and giving a bunch of guys in a village in Bali a lecture isn’t really going to help. Especially as it is linked to spiritual beliefs, such as their cattle will die if they don’t partake. The Bali animal welfare groups have their work cut out with so many stray cats and dogs and noisy, ugly old cockerels probably come pretty low on anyone’s support list. I’ve since noticed the cockerel baskets in pretty much every village we’ve been too. It was common place in villages probably less than 100 years ago in the UK (despite being banned in 1835) and according to the RSPCA still goes on. I believe it’s still popular in countries all over the world as wide-spread as South America, India, the Philippines and like the UK, still very underground in France and Spain.

Dogs
When we were driving in from the airport I noticed that there were stray dogs everywhere and this made me a little tense. I love dogs but am a bit afraid of them if I don’t know them. The strays, however, turned out to be all good natured. The locals aren’t nasty to them, as in other places I’ve been (we had a particularly nasty incident in Corfu where the hotel owners brother beat a stray dog with a stick outside our room – sick bastard!) and they aren’t that scrawny in general, probably because there is so much canang left around with rice and various food in, it sees them right. The dogs that were more of an issue where actually the dogs from the homes who were all loose and were doing what dogs do and protecting their territory. Normally this meant them standing of the steps of their compound and barking like crazy, which was usually pretty much something of nothing. We did find though that sometimes they could be a little more agressive and over zealous – particularly if there was more than one of them. We had to turn back once when we were out on one of the more remote side roads when there was a particularly agressive fella who wasn’t going to let us past. On the whole they weren’t a problem but it was just added hassle and because I am dog nervous, gave me a bit more stress than I would have liked.

This dog, I am guessing, is not used as security…

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Highlights:
Sooo many highlights. It’s a really special island and we are sure to return.

The ice-cream moped
Like an ice-cream van it plays a little tune as it drives about. Ace!

Swastikas
They are everywhere. We had seen them tattooed on someone in Fiji, who was clearly not an aryan white power nut job and had been intrigued but hadn’t gotten around to looking it up. In Bali – the symbol is everywhere and there are even places called ‘Swastika hotel’. It’s actually a reverse image to the Nazi one and it symbolises balance in relationships. Good relationship with each other, all humans, with ‘god’ and with animals and nature. The total antithesis of the Nazi symbol then. I believe it’s used all over asia, as a Hindu symbol but also in Buddism. Having read up a bit about it, I’m still not clear on how Hitler came to decide on this as a symbol for the aryan race. You never see this anywhere in the west and I’m really used to it now and actually I quite like it. With it being a taboo it makes it more powerful – having it appear everywhere under a different guise is good. It’s like we’re taking it back! Taking away the negative
connotations and replacing them with good!!

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Indonesian TV
We had a TV for just 2 days but in that time I learnt a lot.
It is quite hilarious. They have lots of soap operas, which are quite addictive. There is a Korean soap opera that I particularly liked, dubbed in Indonesian. None of them are in English but they are soap operas so you can kind of guess what’s going on – if not – make up your own.
On the indonesian soap operas, the music is this strange, camp, overdramatic, almost medieval mix of piano and strings. Highly inappropriate to the level of drama – I love it!
There was also a panel show where 3 people were shown clips of funny things and had people in the studio doing the strangest thing and they had to try not to laugh.

They also had lots of Tom and Jerry and Woody Woodpecker. Old skool cartoons that for some reason are never on UK terrestrial TV anymore these days. I do miss them so. if anyone knows anywhere you can watch them online or download them, I would so love to have a retro cartoon watching marathon.

There was one thing that came on that was in English and subtitled in Indonesian – a Jean Claude Van Damme film. I found I preferred to watch the Indonesian shows.

Skin whitening
There are tons of products, like ‘Fair n Lovely’ for skin whitening. They also offer treatments in salons. It seemed a bit odd at first and a bit creepy, but then flipping that, aren’t half (if not more) of those of the lilly white persuasion constantly using either fake tan, moisturisers with tints in, or bronzers.

The Ubud royal family
I had read an article about the young members of Ubuds royal family. The family has no real power anymore and the young ones spend a lot of time on Facebook and on buying the latest everything. So I think I could be pretty sure when, up the hills of one of the cobbled streets in Ubud, a big, black Hummer went by – standing out in a town of mopeds, trucks, a few four by fours and vans – it could only be a brash show of wealth. It did seem quite unreal for a moment.

Paul Smith shops
Another thing which seemed out of place and most odd was the Paul Smith shops. They must have been knocks off but where decked out very stylishly and selling british themed stuff. So that was odd and the fact that there was four of them – strange!

Russian Andrey – the most amazing Tattooist ever.
Seriously this guy is amazing. He’s obviously a majorly talented artist first of all and he’s only been doing tattoos for 3 years but already he’s probably the best I’ve ever seen. Like crazy amazing.
Take a look: http://grimmy3d.ru

Antique sign
A sign Mark spotted when driving on the outskirt of Ubud.
‘Antiques – made to order’. Nuff said!

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