Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Traveling in Bali

I've moved from Ubud in central Bali to Candidasa, a small town on the coast. After traveling for 5 weeks, I thought this would be a simple transfer of hotels, but Bali is conspiring to try my patience. For the first time last night I had mosquitoes in my room, biting me all night. I think this was because I turned off the AC since all of Bali is the perfect room temperature for me. Then, this morning, I thought I had an tour of an NGO that is trying to preserve ancient Balinese dyeing and cloth-making techniques (at least that's what the receptionist told me). At 9am the place wasn't open, and at 10am, the clerk told me that there are no tours today of the shop. Then, I waited in the usual spot for the hotel shuttle to come pick me up. The 11:20 shuttle didn't show, and an hour later, neither did the 12:20. I finally haggled a taxi driver into driving me back, and found out that, starting yesterday, the hotel has changed their drop off and pick-up point in town. They've notified people taking the shuttle into town. Except, I took a taxi early in the morning for my nonexistant tour. Humph. Inefficiency. The one thing that always makes me impatient and cranky (most likely the reason I am always annoyed at Fordham).

After an hour-long drive, I've reached Candidasa, and settled into a nice but much more budget hotel. All is going well, except that I'm in desperate need of cash and a bikini wax. The receptionist tells me that the ATM is 30 minutes away and that one of the staff members will take me on his vespa. The spa is closer, so he takes me there first, only to find out that apparently all of Bali is unaware of the concept of waxing (this was a problem in the hotel in Ubud, too). I think it may be because the Balinese don't seem to have hair. But they are obsessed with Hindi films, so you would think they could accomodate a Punjabi girl. No go. So we head off for the ATM. Without helmets. Which makes me a bit nervous, until I remember how many times my parents fell off scooters in India. Thankfully, my father has taught me how to stay on a motorbike without holding onto anyone, because guy who drove me had a scent that made me want to keep my distance unless my life depended on it. And even then, I may take a minute to deliberate.

To top it off, being Indian here is a bit like being blonde in America. I attribute my newfound pseudo-celebrity status to Bollywood films. Normally I would rejoice in the advancement of Indians, except that it is leading to comments from leacherous men. The most offensive being an offer from an old man for a coconut massage; the most comical being that I look like Aishwaria Rai's younger sister and questions as to why I'm living in New York and not an actress in India. If only they could see my cousins and my girls back home in New York.

3 comments:

Sherif said...

i can't believe you passed on a coconut massage...

jenna said...

and i can't believe you still buy into the "blondes have more fun" mentality -- even obtuse american boys have long since dumped that fallacy (...thank goodness...)

Vidya said...

what a girl will do for a bikini wax....no danger will thwart her - not even a dangerously smelly man...
I think you should embrace it- maybe you are Aishwaria Rai's long lost younger sister.
I have enjoyed hearing about your travels but you haven't had a comprehensive adventure in a foreign land- until you have pretended to be someone else, and found what other troubles you can get into....