Back on the blogging bike

7Two months! Five of those weeks have been spent in Australia, but the other three can’t be really accounted for. Apart from laziness. And busyness.  But now it’s time to settle down and become more disciplined.

Since we have been back, time has been spent helping at the Ubud Food Festival – a great success by all accounts , not just ours. It was fun to see so many talented chefs at work, from throughout the region as well as within Indonesia. The weather was good, the crowds were well dispersed over the large area provided and the tastings were delicious. Food stalls and trucks added to the atmosphere and prices were so reasonable that local families took advantage of the event to eat and also enjoy the music and films at night.

Viewing Bali from Australia was like looking at a distant place through the wrong end of a telescope. We missed both Galungan and Kuningan this year, which was a pity as they are lovely celebrations when Bali looks its most beautiful. The only other news that filtered through social media was depressing – mostly tourists treating the island and its people shabbily. We read of a European group who crept away from their lodgings in the early hours to avoid paying; an Australian woman complained loudly that her food was terrible (after eating it) and then refusing to pay; a drunken group of young men taunting an abusing a waitress in a restaurant with seemingly nobody intervening. Balinese on the whole dislike confrontation of any kind and will not argue back. People who know this can take advantage, but hopefully there is such a thing as karma. On the reverse, stories filtered though of tourists being robbed or tricked into attending gambling spaces where they lost their money – another kind of robbery. And fatal bike accidents. Mostly involving helmetless and inexperienced tourists (with possibly alcohol involvement). Such stories give Bali a bad name, and it’s easy to see why. The crime rate is probably no worse than most other places, but this is supposed to be Paradise. All very depressing. It’s important to be vigilant, but here in Ubud we can escape to our garden and the relative peace and quiet and just deal with domestic problems such as a very dodgy water supply at the moment. Patience.

The other headline news from the island during our absence has been the two Australian women : one released from prison and deported after 12 years; the other with her sentence extended after being advised not to appeal the original one. The links tell the stories.

The wheels of the blogging bike haven’t wobbled too badly on first attempt. More soon.

Update: This came through a few days later. Ugh.

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