Sunday, December 26, 2010

My Impressions of Indonesia

Location: Bali, Indonesia
I'm not an extensive or exhaustive traveler by any means, but I did notice a few differences between Indonesia and the US, and I even picked up on a few differences between the many islands of Indonesia (of which I've seen four). I would like to touch upon those now.

To save water, simply bathe
during the rainy season.
The bathrooms: so far, we have never stayed in a hotel whose bathroom only had the squatting floor toilet. We've been to many airports where that was an option and a few restaurants where that was the only recourse, but not a hotel. Instead, it struck me as interesting that the entire bathroom is well-tiled and there's no bathtub or even a special shower area: the entire bathroom is also the shower. There's a tiled lip inside the door that prevents your bedroom from getting soaked, but everything else is waterproofed (except the toilet paper, but some hotels don't provide that so it's all good).

Pictured is our shower from Rama Villas, Denpasar, which was actually a very nice bathroom. Open-air with potted plants and a bed of river stones, and it was unique in that you could control hot and cold water.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

XN's Opinion on Dining in Bali

It's a little embarrassing to see how
extremely popular KFC is in Bali.
What I want to tell you about dining in Bali is my advice alone: not everyone would agree with me completely. This is strictly my own experience and my own taste: my motto, now more than ever, is, "Heroes are bold with food." I read that somewhere and I don't recall where, but I'm living by it now.

The very first thing I want to impress you, the Reader, with is: avoid the restaurants. Don't go to a freakin' restaurant if you want the flavor of Bali. There is a high number of restaurants in every town and city, and they're meant for the tourists, even those that claim to have the authentic Balinese flavor and charm. No. Restaurant = Tourism.

Even a mild curiosity can disclose
some of the most fantastic dining to
be had, for very cheap.
Why do people go to restaurants? Many of them offer a wide variety of dishes. Nice Indonesian restaurants are present, as are strictly Korean or Japanese restaurants. There is no dearth of variety and fusion restaurants, and unquestionably some world-class chefs have set up lucrative businesses here. I'm not questioning any of that.