Life on the tourist strip

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Bali. How am I just now visiting this place? Bali is a vacation destination that can beat out the best. It’s worth the long flight from the states, and even a week here will renew any tired soul. We keep talking about how perfect this place would be for a short vacation. If we weren’t traveling long term there would still be no doubt whether we picked the right place.

The 2002 bombings hurt tourism here badly. People stopped vacationing here immediately and many locals will tell you that the economy has yet to make a full recovery. Many of the locals talk about the initial period after the terrorist attack like it was a sudden economic depression. People had no work, and many left Bali to find farm work on other Indonesian Islands. It is an example of the drastic effects the media has on the world. Ten years later, people are still hesitant to come back.

Our time here so far has been uncharacteristic of us. We have yet to venture far from the two areas known most for tourists: Kuta and Legian Beach. We’ve made friends with a few people from Sumatra who own a small beach bar, and have found our days renting surf boards and sunbathing in lounge chairs too good to leave. Roberto has found us the best boards, recommended the best authentic street food, and offered great advice on places to go. Having some inside advice is always a huge benefit.

Lunch and dinner have been always at the simple eateries found scattered in between the big tourist restaurants. Barbecued meat skewers with rice balls, Indonesian style fried rice, rice noodle soups, and stir fries. The food here is fresh, spicy, and the healthiest of any place we’ve been. There are also traditional restaurants that serve an array of coconut curry sauce, meat and vegetables from an intricately stacked set of bowls and plates erected in the store front window. Buy this to go and you’ll receive your choices, always with rice, wrapped tightly into a banana leaf for the journey home. The cost? On average our meals have been about $3-4 for the two of us. We can’t complain.

Bali has offered us the best lifestyle yet on a backpacker budget. There is a reason why we can only get a 30 day tourist visa- we really don’t want to leave.

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