Bali; 2 years of peace and now the bogans are back, sigh.
Updated: Jun 25, 2022
The last two years in Bali has been like an extended Nyepi which is the annual Balinese day of silence
Think earth day but for 24 hours and the whole island participates, no wifi, no electricity, no cooking and definitely no going outside. Its positively blissful as the stillness settles over the island you wonder if indeed this should be a monthly if not weekly event the world over.
The last two years has been a Nyepi of sorts except that we have been able to go outside our homes and enjoy exceptional daily espressos. It has been blissfully silent, the roads empty making adventures to touristy destinations a breeze....where often I was the only person at the waterfall meaning Instagram worthy snaps with zero wait times.
Often I was the only scooter riding down Sunset road, which seemed apocalyptic at times, but those of us who stayed slowed down, took lengthy time outs, enjoyed slow orange glowing sunsets with our beach loving pets. We knew it was delicious, rare and a once in a lifetime gift to all our senses.
There was no La Plancha taking up half the beach, never mind peak hour on Jalan Kerobokan or the shortcut there was just no traffic ever!! Also everyone - outside of Canggu - wore clothes that covered their arse cheeks while riding their scooters. No one had their hair braided - except for that time I got the $10 Legian facelift aka boxer braids .... they didn't last very long because they really hurt.
Above all their was silence, like a peace had settled over Bali you could hear Gamelan and the call to prayer from Mosques in the distance it was like we time travelled back to the 70's.
There was a down side of course and its been well documented as to how hard this has been on Bali's people and its tourist driven economy, I acknowledge this. It did however give every one time to think and reconsider what is important and what our futures on and off this island of the Gods might look like. How do we want the future of Bali to look and indeed the future of Tourism on Bali to look?
The Government threw out some ideas around outting low end back packers opting instead and targeting longer stay digital nomads or flash packers and the jet set from Jakarta and beyond. In the hope that they get a better quality of tourist on the island, more culturally inclined with fatter wallets.
It appears that they told everyone else this except Australia, who have released the Aussie Bogans (AB's) back to their favourite back yard island. The last two weeks has been like being delivered to a Big Day Out or unwillingly riding time machine that appears to have gotten stuck somewhere between 1981 and 1990
I include 1990 only because that the year the Divinyls released "I touch myself"
Its like their shoulder pads got them (the AB's) wedged in a Legian vortex that precludes them from moving forward in musical time.
Rules; All AB time travel tracks must be played at the Aussie Pub volume of "Wasted Patron" Which is he highest level of defining decibels that can be reached on dodgy wobbly sound systems. Even the smallest warungs are claiming to touch them selves. I am literally living in Boganville Baahlee.
Bintang Singlets and boardies constitute the uniform, the mullet mixes with the man bob and the man bun. Tattoos are unnaturally abundant, this is why Bali has so many tattoo parlours and they now out number Circle K's.
My neighbour a newly arrived AB got a wobbly chin at the staff and demanded and extra TV in the down stairs of his open air villa so that he could watch the football and the Australian nightly News. I am dead set certain that he could have bought more beers at home if he didn't fork out for the Jetstar tickets, I am still wondering why he came? At least 3 times a day I hear him telling my dog Charlie to "fuck off" for sun baking on the garden pathway that separates our villas as he walks past her, its an absolute delight.
I forgot how rude people can be.
I get excited when I meet newly arrived Australians, I have been living on a diet of Aussie's on Instagram and Facebook friends for the last 2 and 1/2 years. I want to hug them!! We exchange stories, its great fascinating and frustrating (often all at once) to hear hear their stories and share our experiences. These are welcome conversations with some lovely interesting people! Sometimes I translate for new arrivals in shops or help with directions or offer advice if asked. For the most part I love that the world is opening up.
Selfishly, there is a Bali that I have experienced that is my Bali of the last 2 years. A Bali that I don't want to move forward from.....The silent spaces for meditation, peaceful beach walks, weekly Kirtan with familiar faces, no waits for morning espressos. The uninterrupted sleep of the dead.
I don't want ridiculous traffic or half naked tourists riding dangerously on scooters, the busses-Bali's roads are just not made for the Pariwisata or tourist buses nor can they appropriately accommodate the black box shipping container sized cars that come over on the ferry form Java.
My least favourite addition to the Legian landscape? The new bar across the road that apparently has a license till 12.30am and clearly purchased a sound system from a defunct music festival and promptly placed it in a 60 seat cafe. It lets the neighbourhood know it is open with its screeching rock bands and overwrought 80s power ballads. 7 nights a week it uninvitedly attempts to entertain the 7 hotels and 400 residents in its immediate vicinity.
Kill. Me. Now.
We have gone from 2.5 years of Nyepi-like bliss to cover bands big night out screaming through the same playlist from 8pm to 1am every night of the week in the space of 2 weeks. I just know that Freddie Mercury is crying every time they plug into the amp and if I hear mustang Sally one more time I am gonna cry, and of course I am constantly hearing the lead singer whining sluttily into the microphone about how she touches herself. The 99 luft ballons need to be put down with a pin.
Maybe I am just old.
My daughter said to me today "mum what age is it exactly that we start getting annoyed by noise?"
"Didn't you choose to live in places like that before?"
"Wasn't it you that wanted to keep the party going??"
Well I don't want to be kept up until 1am by Chrissy Amphelt or hear Angels impersonators screaming "No Way Get Fucked Fuck off" and I don't have to yogis choice. And AB's are welcome to come back to Bali and have the holiday of their choosing, the Bali economy misses them dearly. Me not so much.
I get that Bali is changing and that I must adapt too, but I am going to take my sweet time. So I am relocating, off and running to Balangan peaceful sleepy little haven of palm trees chickens, cows, ramshackle huts on the beach its a sleepy village.
The thing here is I cant make anyone change, I would be setting myself up for disappointment if I was expecting other people to change their behaviour. The only persons sleep and happiness I am responsible for at this point in time is mine, so its up to me to change.
I am going to sleep awesome!
See ya Bouganville