i heart BaliOr did I?  I had a wonderful time in Bali and was completely seduced by the place, the people and the food.  Coming back hasn’t been as bad as I imagined.  Back to winter, back to work, back to everything – not so bad, not great, mind, but bearable.  While away I did pretty much nothing – on purpose – as I didn’t want to do anything uber touristy.  A few years ago I tutored at university on a subject called ‘Cultural Tourism’ and one thing we looked at in detail was the dilution of special cultural rituals or ceremonies for the purposes of tourists, often outside the calendar of when these would otherwise occur.  It really struck a chord with me and made me ashamed of how I’d perhaps travelled in the past partaking in these with gusto.  So I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again, and I didn’t.  Even my regular (and brilliant) taxi driver Ketut got the point in the end.  He would often say to me in his own english, “I understand you, nooo temples and Bali only”, referring to my preference to support local family businesses.   Consequently he took me to some great local artisans and producers and I was happy to buy their handmade goods over the mass produced Javanese imports.  In my effort to really slow down and not do much I was drinking and eating much more than my normal fill.  But then (in cliched fashion) I ate a dodgy prawn at the mid-point of the holiday and that put an end to pretty much all my exotic eating and drinking adventures.  Just as well, as I was doing it for Australia the first week so any weight I’d put on was lost in the second!  If you’ve ever dreamed of or hesitated to go to Bali, my advice is to just go.  Go away from the tourist traps, but just go.  Do try and remember to come home, tough though it is!

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