18 October 2010

Bali - Things That Make You Go Hmm...

One of my favourite activities whenever I travel is to seek out the unusual. If I get a culture shock, that trip would be rated with an A+. With Bali, I'm giving it an A++ (Bangkok gets an A+++++). It may still be mild compared to Bangkok but Bali is definitely one of the more unforgettable places I've been to. There's a sense of surprise, something different at almost every corner.

Here's a collection of things I found rather amusing / funny / thought-provoking... things that gave me the "hmm" moment.

Neither do they have commissment to be honest. Be VERY CAREFUL when changing money in Bali and ALWAYS count the money again when you receive it even if the money changer had counted it in front of you. Always count again before walking off.

Can you spot the reckless massacre of the English language on this price board? Even though the majority of tourists on the island are Caucasian, English proficiency of the Balinese is generally low. And the Malay language used differs slightly from what we're used to in Singapore & Malaysia.

The stickers are loud and their proclamations are crude. And they're all over the place! There are even ones with your name on it and declares you are gay! If you're looking for something to make a bold statement, nothing beats these in your face stickers that costs about Rp 10,000 a piece.

Katy Perry must've gotten the inspiration for her new hit, Peacock, in Bali. Instead of being treated as smut, penises are good luck charms in Hinduism where the Lord Shiva is sometimes represented as a phallic-shaped edifice both large and small. The population in Bali is mainly Hindu so you can expect to see many of these key chains around. Also check out the mega-sized penis bottle openers when there!

Kamasutra is practiced as a Hindu ritual of love and sex to open the channel to nirvana through orgasm. I've seen Kamasutric positions shown through human form but not with what apparently looks like Buddha as depicted in this painting. Is Buddha turning blue from resisting the temptation?

Surprisingly, the nightlife in Bali is pretty dead. We went to the huge Double Six Club at almost midnight and we were the only ones there. Many of the other posh looking clubs were also empty on a Saturday night. On the contrary, a small club along the main road to Seminyak was happening and filled. The club, Alijoe, is patronised mostly by men (if you get what I mean). Drinks are expensive there and kinda boring if not for the rather amusing drag shows. Can you guess which diva is being impersonated here?

The best way to enjoy nature, is to do it al naturele! Seems like the Balinese don't have too much problems with nudity. Apart from these boys enjoying the cool rock pool, I've seen farmers urinating in their farms with their dicks hanging out, and old ladies with their breasts reaching their navels walking topless in the suburban outskirts.

Apart from the scary masks, colouful 3D kites and statues of Buddha, the other common sounvenirs one would find in Bali are highly decorated wood carved geckos. The gecko is a symbol of regeneration. When it loses its tail, one grows back. Just like when man conquers extreme adversity and comes out of it with a new self.

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