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Balinese Farewell

I slept like the dead on my second to last night in Bali. I had to push myself out of my room and start my day. I spent the whole day bumming around the beach, flying kites with some local kids and drinking way too much Bali-coffee.

That day on the beach I noticed a significant number of middle aged-white ladies hanging out with some extremely fit and young Balinese boys. I’d seen a documentary a while back about the ‘Balinese Comfort Boys’.

The documentary was rather harsh. It referred to the young boys as “Gigolos in Surfer Shorts”. It was probably made a middle aged man with poor luck with the ladies.

Apparently, a lot of middle aged women traveling alone to Bali ‘hook up’ with the local boys. The boys take them around, keep them safe and undoubtedly in some cases turn into short-term lovers.

And yes, there is a fee involved.

The whole atmosphere felt a little like a hippie commune- people were high on an assortment of intoxicants, laid back and there was a lot of lovin’ in the air. I had a chat with a few of the boys lounging around on the sun chairs. They didn’t want their pictures taken. I assume they’d seen the documentary too and were paranoid of how they’d be represented. Some of them spoke multiple languages and had traveled back to the home countries of the women they’d met in Bali.

They seemed quite harmless really. The way I look at it… as a middle-aged woman traveling alone, it would be quite hard to meet people. Some might be intimidated or unsure of themselves and become easy targets. The Bali boys are like ‘tour guides with benefits’. They offer a service and the boundaries are for the women to establish.

On the way back from the beach, I read a sign outside a pub, that said ‘live reggae music & free wifi’! Now how is a girl supposed to resist that? I found my self a corner seat and settled in. The band members were all Balinese-style Rastafarians and they sang a mix of original Bali-Reggae and better-known classics.

I was having a fabulous time by my self, but I guess to some I might have looked kinda sad, sitting by myself, grooving to the band. Katie- an Australian lady sitting to my right with her ‘friend’ a local boy called Jack, waved to me and asked me to join them. I politely waved back and told them I was doing fine. So they just picked up their drinks and came over to my table. Obviously my response had been misunderstood because of the loud music.

Fortunately they were really nice. Katie had recently sold her business in Brisbane, Australia and decided to move to Bali. She’d met Jack at the beach and they’d been hanging out for about a month. When the band took a break, Katie & Jack introduced me to all of them- friends of theirs apparently. Soon enough I was invited for the ‘after party’.

Somewhere in between I managed to take an awkward self portrait of myself in the loo. That’s my gorgeous Nikon D5000 in my hand by the way. Burnt a big gaping hole in my budget but at least I’ll be able to document my journey in better quality pictures!

I’m glad I agreed to join in. It was an incredibly fun mix of ‘real locals’ from Bali. Regular islanders with jobs in banks, or with the local government and some were running their own businesses. It was such a refreshing change from meeting only vacationers and touts.

The after party proceeded to another place that played live Reggae music. It was interesting to exchange notes on how differently Hinduism is interpreted by the Balinese. They were as curious about my life in India as I was to know what it was like to grow up on this beautiful and bustling island. My new friends taught me a few phrases in Balinese, which I’ve forgotten of course. By the end of the evening, two of the girls walked me back to my guesthouse and I know I’ll definitely be seeing them again.

My last evening in Bali could not have ended better.

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10 Responses to “Balinese Farewell”

  1. Krupali Mishra says:

    You reall ylike your reggae girl? What do you listen to on your ipod? anything non reggae? Also, how do you know when you’re chosing safe company over some random people who’re illintentioned? not to discourage you, but you should be carefull.

  2. Nishpal Gandhi says:

    Hi im Nishpal from Jammu. Read your HT article online and came to your site. this is cool. Wanted to do something like this for long. i have personal obligations but happy to see you do it at least. i can help you with heroes in jammu when u return.

  3. Nora Jean Calcao says:

    girl you’re living the drea, i travel alone aLL THE TIME. Nothin at spectacular as your trip but i can understand your joy and the challenges. keep at it, it’s gonna get better. open mind/open heart. love to you from Bombay… Nora

  4. Eklavya Doraiya says:

    heard about you on the office grapewine. can’t belive someone is doing it at least. i’m planning my own trip in 2011, half a year, asia & europe. taking notes from ya, keep it coming. i might need to sell all my stuff too ;)

  5. Fardeen Shaikh says:

    yeah…balinese version of hinduism actually lacks the traditional Hindu emphasis of reincarnation… anyway, keep having fun on your trip!

  6. konrad says:

    bali comfort boys… interesting…why wld you call the documentary harsh. they are saying it the way it is.

  7. Stefan Martens says:

    do you think they were their real names? katie and jack were characters in a American soap opera called as the world turns! :)

  8. Patrick Kathuli says:

    Nikon D5000 kicks ass compared to others in the category including the D90 and Canon Rebel T1i… good choice! take more pictures!!!

  9. puranjay says:

    “comfort boy” now thats surely stands out as the best job in the world.

  10. Gaurang says:

    deities in indonesia there are thought to be capable of good or harm. and ofcourse because of that they lay great emphasis of keeping them satisfied.

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