Bali: The Far Side of the Island of the Gods
To most people Bali is a paradise: the sea, surfing, downshifting, and all that. Even the locals themselves call Bali the island of the gods. And few people pay attention to those who serve this paradise in a desperate attempt to survive. Nevertheless, the people in question are not only not discouraged, but, in fact, even glad that fate gives them at least such a chance.
This place is a garbage recycling plant, in Gianyar, Bali.
The plant collects 40-45 tons of organic trash from all over the island every day.
Bali is about 150 km long from east to west and 100 km from north to south.
The island produces 10,000 cubic meters of waste every day.
All the workers at this plant are from the Indonesian island of Java.
Java is the most populous island in the world: 130 million people, a density of about 1000 people per square kilometer.
Accordingly, the standard of living there is appallingly low.
In search of better things, people from Java move to Bali, taking jobs in similar enterprises.
They move with their families and their children.
They get paid per ton of trash, one recycled ton is four dollars.
There are about 20-25 trucks loaded with garbage a day.
Brought garbage, which is further divided into plastic and organic.
Plastic on the plant separated from the organic waste and taken for further processing to Java (where else).
After sorting, the organic waste is raked into piles, where it stays for a while.
Then the garbage is crushed and diluted with poultry manure to make a mixture for fertilizing the rice fields.
These people live here, in barracks among huge piles of garbage.
They pile the plastic in front of their dwellings for accounting purposes.
It looks terrible, the nauseating smell and swarms of flies.
I think this post is primarily intended for those crying about their plight.
Maybe things aren’t so bad for you and me.
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- 1. at 03:56 PM on 30 Apr 2012, Anya wrote
very cool report! and i like the pitch, right position
Dima, very interesting presentation of the material. Always liked how you work with the foreground and background. Recently we discussed the problem of recycling at the environmental week in Kuta. I can’t get my hands on recycling.
Bali is now discussing a project to build a pyrolysis plant. The plastic is not recycled on the island, but goes to Java or is dumped into the ocean.
I should add that the investors are foreigners, a Swiss and a Canadian. The local government didn’t care about the environment. Jakarta is even worse and dirtier. Bali is a model of cleanliness.
Judging by their faces, the people are completely satisfied.
In India every street is a dump. It’s good that there are holidays almost every week, so they clean up somehow. But all the same. In the south of New Delhi, near Fiderobad, there’s a huge landfill mountain. They can’t tame Indians from fouling their own habitats and bodies of water. The smells around here are nauseating.
It’s a pity that one can laugh at people smiling at such a hard life. (this is ‘Travelling with us’)
It’s amazing that another side of life on these paradise islands is touched! Very interesting material and great photos. Among this garbage are such positive people, indeed, we could learn a lot from them!
Different countries – different garbage cans. On ours – ruined people, alcoholics who don’t even want to change their lifestyle (I work in social services, trying to help them, but in most cases – to no avail). They drink, steal, kill, and complain about their fate. Here are people who work, try to provide for their families and smile and be happy. That’s something we all need to learn. When I traveled with my granddaughter (she is 10 years old) in India and Thailand, I never hid this side of life, so she already perceives many things differently at home. And her heart is not stale, ready to help any living being in a difficult situation. Great report!
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Bali. The downside of the “island of the gods”.
It has always been my dream to go to Bali. It so happened that before Bali I had already visited different resorts that can be compared with this island, namely Goa, Pattaya and Krabi. Basically, tourists are always trying to compare Goa, Thailand and Bali. In my list Bali was the very last place to visit. I should say at once that all three countries are completely different and it’s a thankless task to compare them, but the associations still stick in your head. The first thing that greets you in Bali is a modern airport. The second is quite good roads. We have an opinion that Indonesia is a third world country, but having been there, I don’t think so. The level of development is very good.
Let me start with the beaches. Some are clean and they are cleaned. But sometimes trash can come in from Java, and then it would be very problematic to swim. In Kuta – huge waves, it’s a great place for surfing. There are thousands of professional athletes, as well as thousands of charlatans who aim to take your money, but you never learn anything. In terms of swimming, the water is the same color as the Caribbean Sea. Waves interfere with a normal swim. There are certainly beaches with low waves, but I’m particularly delighted there is not experienced. Frankly, if we’re talking about beach holidays, Bali is not an option. Much inferior to Mexico and the Caribbean. But I didn’t come to Bali for that! I was more interested in the culture of the island. Everywhere there are offerings to the spirits in the form of a small tray on which incense, candy and sometimes cigarettes. This immediately reminds you that you are in Bali. Balinese believe that demons come from the sea, so they build majestic temples by the sea and make offerings on the sand. The most famous temples by the sea are Uluwatu and Tanah Lot. Uluwatu is interesting because it is located at a huge height. You stand on top and watch from above as the waves crash against the rocks. Incredible power of nature! Mesmerizing! In the evenings in Uluwatu, you can watch the national dance ceremony kechak.
But I liked Tanah Lot much better. It has a more interesting story. The temple stands on a hill and there is water all around! When the tide is out, you can’t get near the temple. When the tide is out, you can walk up the path, where the monks will put a dot on your forehead symbolizing access to the temple. It’s just a fairy tale! Tanach Lot is beautiful both at low tide and high tide. And people have invented such a miracle! There are many more tourists here, both locals and foreigners. There are a few more temples in Tanah Lot district. You can get here in 2 hours by motorcycle from Kuta. To visit Bali without visiting Tanah Lot is inexcusable! Unfortunately I can’t express in pictures the emotions and images that I saw there. You just have to see it! Many locals often play weddings here as Tanah Lot is considered one of the main sacred sites on the island.
Kuta itself is a bustling town with lots of tourists and annoying souvenir vendors. Everyone picks on you and spoils your vacation. The first few days these vendors just pissed me off, they grab your hands, do not give you a pass. Then I got used to it and learned to behave properly. The fact that every day I had to walk 30 minutes through the streets of vendors to the beach and back. Imagine that hell! So, straighten your back, put on glasses, don’t look at the vendors at all and walk confidently forward. Just ignore them! Once you start talking to them, they’ll start pestering you and trying to sell you all kinds of nonsense. If you do a total ignore, they will leave you alone. I’ll be honest, the only thing worse with vendors was in Goa. They can really spoil your whole holiday. And Kuta itself is a city for the budget tourists. If you want a quieter holiday at sea, settle better in Seminyak or Nusa Dua.
If you want to feel the soul of Bali, nothing to do in Kuta. In my opinion, both Kuta and Pattaya are the most disgusting places to relax or experience the culture of the island. You need to settle in a quieter, cleaner and quieter places in the center of Bali. For example, Ubud. Ubud is considered the cultural capital of Bali. True, there is no sea. But it is much quieter and more comfortable. Around Ubud, located around a lot of attractions. And the very center of the city is crowned by the Royal Palace. Near the palace is a huge market of souvenirs. By the way the prices there are not very nice, and the vendors are not very active in cutting prices. I never bought any souvenirs there, the bidding did not go well. Ubud itself has an indescribable energy, which I can’t describe. It floats in the air of mystery, you want to walk around the city and look at its many temples, art galleries and workshops, for which Ubud is famous all over the world.
Ubud is located in the center of the island, so it is very convenient to get to various excursions. I really like Goa Gaja or “Elephant Cave”, a 10 minute drive from town. Before going to Bali, I read a lot of reviews about Goa Gaja. Mostly everyone said there was nothing to do there and not worth wasting your time. Well, never believe anyone’s reviews until you check it out for yourself! That was the case with my visit to Goa Gajah, a very beautiful place! I don’t know who wrote this misinformation that there is nothing to do there. There is a cave with ancient relics, beautiful temples, lakes, and jungle! There’s so much to see, it’s hard to know where to go and what to see! I especially liked the lake with the flowers floating on the water surface. It was very beautiful.
Also if you are in Ubud, you should go to the Monkey Forest. You can even walk there from the city center. The road leading to it is called very easily – Monkey Forest Road. The Monkey Forest itself is a real forest with a couple of temples (they are closed to tourists and monkeys live there) and thousands of monkeys. Be careful and follow the rules! You can’t feed the monkeys anything, otherwise it will lead to terrible consequences. It is better not to touch them at all, because they can be very aggressive. Moreover, there are much more of them here than people and if you went to the outskirts, they simply can attack you. So don’t walk around one at a time and don’t piss off the monkeys. Also keep your bags, caps and cameras tight. Monkeys like to take these items, then it’s very hard to get them back! The Monkey Forest has now been reconstructed and is a very interesting attraction.
Now for the food. Bali is a good place in this regard. You can eat in restaurants for 10-20 euros, you can eat in street eateries for 2 euros. I personally checked the food in cheap eateries and compared it to restaurant food. So, my rice and meat for one and a half euros in a cheap eatery was no worse than exactly the same dish in a restaurant. By the way, there is no street food here like in Thailand or India. In any case, there will be tables so you can sit down and have a bite to eat. This is good, a good level. Do not be afraid to eat in cheap cafes, you will never get sick there. The food is of high quality and there is an opportunity to save well. The most traditional dish in Bali is Nasi Goreng, rice with spices and meat. But on the other hand, the prices for alcohol will not make you happy. Beer, both in the store and in a restaurant, will cost in the region of 4 dollars.
For those who like underwater activities, I recommend visiting Lembongan Island, which is very close to Sanur Port (one hour drive from Kuta). Lembongan is a quiet place where you can relax from the hustle and bustle of the streets and enjoy the peace and comfort. There are many activities on the island, and the water is much cleaner and clearer than in Bali. I went to Equator Beach Club to go snorkeling and diving. Snorkeling is snorkeling. It turned out to be no fun for me at all, as I could only swim at the top and couldn’t get close to the corals below. As a result, I had to discard the tube and dive on my own to the depths to get a better look at the marine world and its inhabitants. To be honest, I’m not an expert in snorkeling, so I can’t assess which places are better to snorkel.
But the most interesting part was diving with special equipment C-Walker. You put a huge helmet on your head, where you get oxygen. Slowly you dive to the bottom of the ocean and start walking on it. A scuba diver swims nearby for safety. Then he gives you bread and you start feeding the fish, which swim up to you in huge numbers. I can’t tell you how great it is! Too bad I didn’t have my underwater camera that day! I should warn you right away – it’s very intimidating at first. This thing on your head weighs a lot, and you begin to be afraid of how to get out with it. But it’s worth it to get over your fear and get the most incredible emotions! Objects underwater are distorted, it seems that everything is close, but in fact very far away. In general, I got a huge thrill out of it! If you like this type of entertainment too, contact Equator Beach Club, a day spent on Lembongan will be irreplaceable!
Let’s continue with the main attractions of Bali. The Island’s calling card is the famous temple Ulan Danu, which literally floats above the lake. However, it is quite far away, and from the south coast is a long drive. Much more convenient to get to the temple from Ubud. Ulan Danu is beautifully matched with the beautiful rice terraces – Jati Luvih. These terraces are my favorite place in Bali. This is where you will see the famous landscapes that Bali is proud of in front of the world. A walk through these places will forever be remembered in your memory, it is the most important thing to visit on the island. There is a restaurant at the top of the hill where you can dine with views of the panoramic terraces.
Remember the story from World Inside Out about the mysterious Trunyan village and their cemetery with skeletons and skulls? It looked very interesting on TV, so we decided to see if it was really worth the trip. It turned out that all the reviews on the Internet, that Trunyan is dangerous and no one is responsible for your safety there, are complete nonsense. Trunyan is just a rip off of tourists. Some pretty unpleasant people live there, but you won’t see anything special. The village is like a village – nothing memorable. And the cemetery itself looks pretty simple, a couple of skulls, a couple of graves – there is no that scale, as it is shown in the movies. In my opinion, everything is overly exaggerated. Concluded that the Trunyan is a scam for tourists and it does not deserve special attention.
Bali is a separate world that lives by its own rules. Now a lot of immigrants from other provinces of Indonesia come to the island, which scares the locals very much. Since the island is Hindu, they do not like the fact that the Muslim population is constantly growing. The Balinese themselves are nice people. There is an exception of people who are associated with tourists, but for the most part, to communicate with people is very pleasant. In addition, Bali attracts many people from all over the world, not only in terms of tourism, but also in terms of emigration. The main thing to always remember is that Bali is not about the beaches. Bali is a unique culture, religion, history. The beaches are just a small addition to all of the above. Even the best beaches on the island, like Dreamland, will not surprise you. But the ancient traditions and energy, – that’s what it is worth to go here!
Overall Rating : 23 out of 30
Safety and Comfort : 4/5
To sum up my rating. Bali scores high on many points. It’s a little pricey, but it’s considered that if you’ve already flown to Bali, you’ve got the money. The biggest downside is transportation. There is absolutely no normal transportation here. Either you go by cab, which is very expensive, or by motorcycle. But if you don’t know how to drive a motorcycle, you’re screwed. In my case, my hands and feet were tied. I only managed to save money by replacing a regular cab with a motorcycle cab. As a result, trips to Uluwatu and Tanah Lot cost me 50 percent less. Nevertheless, I hate being put in limits. Most of my budget in Bali was not taken up by hotels and food, but by transportation and travel. On the plus side, I would point out the unique architecture of the island, its stunning temples, and the nice people. Also Bali has a very pleasant climate, not as hot and stuffy as the other resorts. Bali is a unique island with a very special energy. Coming here, you will never regret visiting the island. It is beautiful.