Thursday, May 22, 2008

Surfer's the city

So far, Bali is pretty much how I expected it to be...well, except for the fact that we are one of the major cities of Indonesia. Kuta, Bali is a city filled with food, shopping and a ridiculous amount of surfers. It kind of reminds me of Bangkok, only much smaller and with a beautiful beach lined with surf-stands, elderly beach massage therapists, and fruit stands galore.

Yesterday, I got an eyeful of Balinese culture. In the morning, we stumbled on a ceremony of sorts including nearly a hundred Balinese dressed in their finest garb, watching some sort of comedy and eating a buffet of local food, which they offered us as well. The Balinese version of clowns is pretty funny, I must say!

In the afternoon, after 2 lunches costing a total of about $5 USD, we strolled down to the beach and came across an interesting situation. As we walked down the street, buses full of what appeared to be "tourists" hooted and hollered at us through the windows. We ran into the group of school children on the beach, and they were indeed tourists, but from nearby Java. Half of the students were Muslim, and they were so enthralled with our white skin and blond hair. We stopped at least 10 times on to take photos with them. Once one group saw that we allowed them to take photos, another would quickly approach. I don't know what it was, but we sure did feel like celebrities!

That being said, yes, much of Indonesia is Muslim. The rest of the country is mostly Hindu, but there is indeed a great population of Muslims, especially in Java, which is the most densly populated country in the world. I will indeed be careful, and conceal my American Citizenship when necessary, but I've gotta tell you, seeing all of those extremely polite Muslim students, really made me think...

Next stop is Ulawatu, a beautiful surf spot just south of Kuta, where I sit right now. In just an hour, we will hop in the car with our driver and take a one hour trip to a beautiful cliff side beach with world-class surfing...