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WHEN THE HEART SAYS NO: An adventure for two in beautiful Bali

We went to Bali, Indonesia with the Chamber of Commerce and it was wonderful. The people are so friendly, and we had a lot of fun just talking to the locals.
One of the first things we learned was that we always bargain when we are going to buy something. Meaning never pay the going price. Offer about 20 or 30 percent of their asking price. We had loads of fun bargaining.

So, our group stopped at this market and the vendors broke open several different types of fruit for us to try. Jean chose some fruit and some spices, and the vendor tells her his starting price. Jean says "Okay."

The guy looks at her in surprise and says, "You're supposed to bargain." Eschia.

Well, we just about died laughing.

We also saw my cousin Sam who has been working in South East Asia for a couple of years. I thought Sam had left Bali because my nephew told me a while ago that she was moving back to Hawaii, then a few months ago he said she was packing.

Anyway, I sent Sam a message asking where she was and was delighted to find out she was still in Bali. She came to see us when our group stopped at a restaurant for lunch and of course we greeted each other with hugs. Jean was the first person to hug her.
When we got back to the bus, someone said, "What are the odds of Jean meeting someone she knew way over here?" lol.

And right after Sam left, I was in a long line to pay when the waitress brought the bill and says, "if you're using a credit card to pay, come with me."
She brought me to the front of the line, and I paid.

When I walked away, one guy in line asked "How did you do that? Can I go to the front and pay too?"

The people in Bali are very spiritual. Ninety percent of them are Hindu and they pray and do ceremonies every day. They even have a day called Nyepi, on the day after the spring equinox which is a day of silence, self-reflection, meditation and in some cases, fasting.
People on the whole island stay home all day, and government workers have a holiday. No one can leave or enter Bali on this day, so there are no flights scheduled. Everything is closed and lights are not supposed to be lit, unless someone is sick or something like that.
Hotels have some leeway on this, because tourists need to be accommodated, but they cover their windows and a minimal amount of staff will be working.

No one is allowed to drive or walk around, and everyone is meant to stay indoors.

The cultural centre of Bali is an area called Ubud where some of the greatest artists from all over Bali were brought to teach and train the Balinese in arts. Today, Ubud is also known as a place to come to for learning about various wellness practices such as meditation, yoga, massage and so on.

People come from all over the world to experience this. Well yaaaaaaa!

We didn't see any really tall buildings, but we sure saw a lot of motorbikes. Bali has 4.5 million people and 2.5 million registered motorbikes. We're talking scooters here, not Harleys.

And get this, there is no bus or other mass public transportation system. Just scooters and taxis. And, government keeps the price of gas low, to keep the cost of living down. So, gas was cheaper than it is in Alberta. Whoa.

The people were wonderful to talk to. They were always smiling, helpful, and making the Namaste sign to us.

One puzzling thing I noticed is that a lot of the people would like to have fair skin. I guess they see how white privilege makes life so much easier for those with fair skin.

When we went for a foot massage the ladies were commenting on how clean my legs were. We asked what they meant, and it became apparent they meant my skin was fair and they wanted that.

In a shop a little way down the street another lady commented on how dark her skin was and that she used to wash her skin with soap hoping to make her skin fairer.
Most people are poor as well. The women working in the massage parlors are paid 150,000 rupiah plus tips, which is equivalent to about $150.00 per month because one Canadian dollar is equivalent to 10,625 rupiah.

This trip made me appreciate the spirituality of the people in Bali. It also made me appreciate the quality of life we have in Canada.