Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Behind the Scenes Bali

Lovina, the town in Northern Bali we were staying in turned out to be a great choice. Although the beach wasn't that spectacular, consisting of black volcanic sand, garbage and a plethora of locals pushing sarongs and bracelets, the surrounding region was perfect for biking, and the pool at our hotel, convenient for relaxing. Plus, we had found a great travel companion in Sandra, and a lively market filled with exotic fruit to sample.

The highlight of Lovina, though, had to be the Galungan Festival that we had the pleasure of witnessing, and dare I say, taking part in. We had just come from the market on the Saturday and our backpacks were overflowing with rambertants, bananas, snake fruit, mango, avocado, mandarins and temple cake (I didn't know what 'temple cake' was, but the name had the word 'cake' in it, so obviously I had to give it a taste... for blog purposes, of course). We were headed back to relax in the pool when we heard the sweet sound of live Balinese music. Being the inquisitive type, we followed the chimes down an ally to a carved stone entrance of a private home (more like compound though, with many rooms and different outdoor spaces). We lurked at the entrance surreptitiously, peering around the stone at the scene. The music was indeed coming from a huge Balinese orchestra. At least 20 xylophone-type instruments were set up, along with large bongos and chimes. Behind each instrument was a man, all of different ages, in a bright red outfit and coordinated headdress. They were very talented and it sounded wonderfully festive. Women mingled about in gorgeous, detailed dress shirts and silky sarongs and beautiful children ran a muck. The teenagers fiddled with their cell phones, the only indication that we were experiencing a traditional ceremony in a painfully modern world. In the back of the compound we could see a family temple filled with so much fancy food for offerings the lot of them could have eaten for a month. Bright yellow umbrellas were set up to shade various seats and statues. Yellow was the liturgical colour of the festival. The Hindu priest was in the temple chanting over the loud speaker and swaying incense over the offerings in a complicated, time consuming ritual. The smell of incense filled our nostrils. And then, the most amazing thing happened. They smiled and waved us into their home! They invited us creepy lurkers into their family festival! We bowed our heads and snuck past the band to chairs the men who weren't occupied by instruments set up for us. Almost immediately an absolutely stunning young woman approached and asked if we wanted tea, coffee or water. Not wanting to be more intrusive than we already were, we declined. She sat down to talk to us, the nosy tourists. Not that she said that. She, and the rest of her family, particularly her father seemed to be pretty excited about our arrival. Her name is Yani. Yani spoke perfect English. She had returned less than a month ago from Club Med in the Maldives where she worked in the spa. She was gracious and generous. She explained that we had stepped into her family's celebration of one of the most important Festivals in Bali. Like Christmas or Thanksgiving, the whole extended family, along with neighbours, and family friends gather for this day-long celebration that includes music, offerings, a procession to the beach, dancing and, the crowd favourite, eating. Her aunts had been preparing food for days, Yani explained. Sound familiar? There was even a professional looking poster on the wall outlining the day's schedule!

Yani welcomed us to take photos. We didn't need to be asked twice. Yani's father sure didn't waste time taking pictures of us pastie, sweaty Westerners fumbling about awkwardly amidst his family. With a bright pink neon Canon, I might add, which I can only assume is Yani's. (This is the first camera I have seen, not around the neck of a tourist). 'The procession is starting' Yani told us, 'You will get better photos from
the Temple entrance.' We, of course, couldn't enter the temple without a sarong, but we were welcome to get as close as we wanted. And this is how we found ourselves smack dab in the middle of one of the most amazing travel experiences we have ever had. Everyone wanted to talk to us. Regardless of how little English they spoke and how non-existent our Indonesian was. They smiled graciously as we photographed them exiting the temple with exquisitely arranged fruit towers on their heads, baskets overflowing with offerings and piles of neon coloured temple cakes. Its hard to say but I can't imagine too many Canadian families welcoming a Nikon touting Japanese family in for Christmas dinner. 'Ya, sure come on in! Hey, here's an idea! Why don't you snap some photos of me stuffing my face with mashed potatoes! I'll be sure to dribble some gravy down my chin to make your photo a little more interesting to your friends back home in Tokyo! The kids lurked shyly around our cameras, not quite understanding how the magic worked. I would ask them if I could take their photo and they would nod and then smile apprehensively as I brought the camera to my face. Then, I would show them the photo on the LCD and they would giggle, point and talk excitedly in Indonesian to one another. The atmosphere was magical. The music chimed away, the incense burned sweet and the priest chanted. I look around absolutely flabbergasted.' THIS is what it is all about, was all I can think. This, right here, is WHY we travel. To experience other people, learn about other cultures, and like in this instance, when we are lucky enough to be invited in. When the musicians took a break to eat, the young boys took to the instruments. They smiled like kids on Christmas morning as they hammered away on the keys and banged furiously at the drums. 'This is how they learn,' explains Yani's dad, 'Now, come eat!' At first, we declined the offer, but Yani comes around and is persistent. 'We make all this food for everyone. Please.' Yani is someone who, I can imagine, could sell ice to Eskimos, or some other equivalent saying. Honestly, she is too beautiful to deny. Once we realized that saying 'no, thanks, really, we just ate' isn't an option anymore, we followed Yani into a courtyard where a huge buffet table had been setup, and is overflowing with food. Unfortunately for us, the theme of the meal was pork. Since everyone had pretty much already eaten, the vegetables left were sparse. We almost wish we ate pork, because they had so generously offered it to us. Plus, everything smelled divine. I scooped some rice onto my plate and spooned the only green thing on the table on top of the rice. Yani's eyes widened as piled on the second heaping tablespoon of the veggies. 'Ohhhhh those are pure chillis!! She said! They are very hot! You only need one!' I looked down at my practically equal portions of white and green. 'Oh,' I said as my face turned red and everyone around laughed good naturedly at me. You just can't take me anywhere. Afterward everyone was very concerned that I make sure I wash well after eating all those chillis with my hands. I had scooped most of them off, but my mouth was still on fire. Anyone who has touched chilis and then touched their eyes or nose knows that this is a painful idea. Sandra said that the pork dishes were fantastically delicious, for all you pork fanatics out there.

The family's welcome was overwhelmingly warm. Everyone wanted to know where we came from, where we were going and if we liked Bali. They wanted to know if we like Balinese food, which Indonesian words we could speak, why I wasn't pregnant (since we were married and all) and if we, along with our yet-to-be conceived 'son' would be coming back to Bali next year.

After a beautifully organized procession out of the temple, set to lively music, the whole crew, in a surprisingly orderly fashion, was headed down to the beach. And so were we. This was probably one of the most interesting parts of the whole event. Watching as these people, not armed with any weapons, managed to take over an entire half of the chaotic city street and continue to process down in place of the traffic, with little resistance from the endless motorbikes, taxis and SUVs. We had had problems simply trying to cross the street, let alone blocking an entire lane. We picked our chins off the floor, after a moment in awe of the impressiveness of this feat and scampered to catch up. Knowing our only chance of survival was to stay in the pack, we kept close.

When we got to the beach the musicians played a more simple version of their songs with smaller, mobile instruments as the offerings were organized on the beach. This was followed by more chanting and incense. It looked exhausting, both physically and mentally. The large group listened carefully to the priest for his cues and would then bring their hands to their foreheads in prayer. 'We are very tired,' Yani told us when we caught up with her afterwards to say our thank-yous. 'We will go back to the house, the children will dance and then we will relax until the big ceremony in the community temple tonight.' So all this was just the pre-ceremony ceremony! These people know how to have a festival!

Being a guest is tiring, so we decided we deserved a break too. As did our cameras. We headed back to our hotel for some pool time. We had big plans that night as well that we wanted to be rested up for. Saturday night and the air is getting hot... Saturday night! Saturday night! Like in Dance Mix 1990? Sorry, anyways. We had been chatting with Komang, our super friendly breakfast/all day waitress the previous evening while sipping Bintang (Indonesian Beer) at the swim-up bar. Rough, I know. She had been telling us all about this festival and invited us to go to her neighbourhood temple that night for the 'big' celebration. This festival seems, big, bigger and biggest. I may have to invest in a thesaurus to describe the levels of 'big' around here. Komang made a list and counted it out on her fingers to us. 1. 'You need sarong, so you can go in temple: I will get for you, good local price. I will bring to you.' 2. 'You need shirt' (proper Balinese dress shirt) 'and...' she motioned around her waist (sash, she meant). You can borrow mine. I will tell my husband to bring them!' Turns out husbands are commissioned, without even having to be present, let alone agree, to do their wive's bidding 'round the world. See, Jonathan, its not just me! Comforting. 3. 'You come here (the pool) at 6 and my husband will take you there one by one on our motorbike. Don't late! You see dancing!' She smiled, satisfied with her plan. I hoped her husband was as keen as Komang was. Komang delivered our hand-picked sarongs to our rooms a few hours later along with a pile of her own dress shirts and scarves to choose from. I felt like Cinderella and my fairy godmother Komang had come to the rescue and made sure we were properly gussied up for the ball. When Sandra and I finally had our dress shirts done up, and arranged around our sarongs, Komang helped tie the sashes around our waists in the just the right place with just the right knot. Komang fussed around us like a mother whose daughters were going to prom. 'There! Now you look like Balinese women! she finally exclaimed proudly when every detail had been tended to. 'Come! Come!' Komang hurried us out the back door of the hotel and along the beach, over a bridge and past a deserted, overgrown lot to a massive rusted iron gate that led back on the main road. We couldn't use the front door for some reason. I guess maybe the hotel owner doesn't want staff whisking the guests away...kinda like this? It turned out that Komang's husband, Ketut, was the gardener at the hotel. Ketut wasn't a man of many words, unlike his wife, but he had a great smile and made an effort to be very friendly despite his lack of English vocabulary. 'Mitta Jonaton! You're number one'! Komang commanded. 'You go now, one by one.' So, my husband, Mitta Jonaton, hopped on the back of the motorbike with Ketut, without a helmet, and with a worried grimace from Jonathan they drove off down the road. A fleeting moment of terror seized me, as it usually does when we are doing something so far out of our comfort zone. Are we crazy to just trust this lady and man, whom we've known for about 12 hours and 23 seconds, respectively? What if we are those dumb people in those horror movies who are just about to open that door into the dark room, where you know a killer is awaiting them, and you are thinking: 'You are SO dumb! Obviously you are going to die! It is SO clear!! Dumb! Go Back!' But they stupidly go in anyways... I panic (on the inside) for a second or two. Where is my husband really going? Will he be ok? Why are we hiding just off the main road, behind a gate, just out of view of everyone on the main street? Worst case scenarios flash through my head. Then I get a grip. Good thing too, because Ketut is now back for me, designated 'number two' by Komang.

Most women, the sophisticated kind, sit gracefully on the back of the motorbikes with their legs both hanging over one side, crossed at the ankles, perfectly balanced, not holding on to anything, and usually balancing something, like a baby or basket in their arms. This is most women. Not me. I am a klutz with zero balance. Attempting to be lady like in a time like this will most certainly result in one of those creative 'worst case scenarios' I had just banished from my head. First, there are no helmets. I would not dream of getting on a motorbike at home without a helmet! It's unheard of! I fall off bicycles that are stopped and end up bleeding from every limb. And so, against my better judgment, I swing a leg over the bike, despite the fact that I am wearing a sarong, slide up close to my chauffeur and wrap my arms tightly around a man I don't know, wearing a maroon 'Harvard University' t-shirt. Isn't that how all adventures start anyhow?

'Is this first time in Bali?' he yells over the street noise. 'Its my first time on a motorbike!' I yell in response. He turns his head around, taking his eyes off the oncoming traffic. 'Really!?' he laughs. The world is flying by now, only I can't see it, because my eyes are squeezed shut. This is technically a lie. I was on a motorcycle once with my good friend Aaron. However, I don't think that counts, under these circumstances. First, we were in Canada, wearing helmets, there are rules on the road in Canada and most people at least attempt to stay in their own lanes. I could actually communicate, in English, with Aaron and he is fully aware that I am a klutzy, so he went pretty slow. Plus, I trust Aaron. When I finally worked up the courage to open my eyes, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that a. I was still alive, b. the rice fields and passing landscape were beautiful and c. it maybe wasn't as terrifying as I had imagined. Ketut delivered me safe and sound to Jonathan and soon, Sandra was dropped off at the step of the temple with us. We wandered onto the grounds of the temple and were greeted warmly by the community. They loved that we were dressed traditionally. We stood outside the short stone wall and watched from a distance. Directly in front of us was the band, even larger than the band at Yani's family temple. The men were playing when we arrived, but the children and then women would all take turns providing the music. The grounds of the open air temple were full of people. It was a sea of white, with a splash of bright colours. The colour of the festival was yellow, and that was prominent. The entire event was outdoors. It looked as though people entered the actual service through a side room. When the space surrounding the actual temple was full, the priest would start chanting and the people would follow along making their offerings at appropriate intervals, bowing their heads when called and then finally being sprinkled with water and having their foreheads marked with rice. When that particular service was complete the people would file out to the open grounds where there was a carnival-feel gathering (minus the rides, of course) and more people would file in the side entrance for the service to repeat again. The temple itself was absolutely piled with offerings. Layer after layer of palm bowls overflowing with rice, cakes, cookies and flowers. Once we got the hang of the order we allowed ourselves to be led to the side entrance of the temple. I was a little nervous. Was it actually ok to just walk in there? Would people think we were being rude or offensive? We walked up the steps and through the narrow stone passage into the side room. There was a group of men standing there. They happily shouted greetings and welcomed us into the temple by splashing water on our heads with a palm leaf. 'Go in! Go in!' They said. So we did. The grass surrounding the temple was pretty much full when we arrived. Everyone was sitting on the ground chatting away
enthusiastically. It felt as though a hush fell over all 1,000 people when we started to work our way through the crowd in search of somewhere to sit. I'm sure that isn't really how it went, but most certainly the chatter would stop as we walked by and everyone would stare after us. I give the people credit though, when we smiled and said 'Hello,' they recovered super quick and smiled back genuinely. I think it was just a little surprising to see out-of-towners all dressed up in the proper garb. We found a scrap of grass under a tree and sat cross-legged on the damp ground. A group of young boys sitting near by thought that this was great. They started laughing and whispering and practicing their English on us. 'Hello! How are you? What is your name? Where are you going? Do you need a taxi? Cheap price.' haha ok, not the taxi part. I looked around. No one else had sandals on! Where did they put them? Did we miss the sandal drop off at the gate. Great, we had only been in the temple 30 seconds and we already screwed up! A family came in and sat beside us. I watched as they removed their sandals and sat on top of them. Genius! Saves the damp butt! We quickly followed suit. The priest signalled the start of the ceremony with chanting and we looked around, feeling pretty helpless. A beautiful young girl who sat beside me took pity. 'I'm Mega,' she said, moving her palm bowl in between us, 'We can
share.' At the same time, her father turned back towards Jonathan and did the same. The small bowl was full of various flower petals. Mega passed me the appropriate petal at the appropriate time. I held the hydrangea petal between my index fingers, as she did, put my hands together in a prayer-like position and brought my thumbs to my forehead, mirroring Mega'a actions. We followed the same routine with the different petals. In between the moments of silence Mega attempted to teach me some Indonesian phrases. Little did she know she would have had better luck with a deaf donkey. Everything she said, I repeated, and then the words slipped out of my head and were lost forever. She certainly did try her hardest though, poor thing. The priest came by with the holy water. I watched as he poured the water into Mega's awaiting hands, which she immediately brought to her head and smoothed it onto her hair, one, two, three, four times. The final time the priest put water into her hands she brought the water to her mouth instead. Then the priest's assistant took sticky rice from a bowl and used his thumb to press the rice into Mega's bare forehead. He turned to me, grinning from ear to ear and chuckled, 'Ok!' he said, confirming that he would allow me to be entertainment for the surrounding locals as I fumbled through the ritual I had just witnesses Mega conduct with such grace. I held out my hands and he poured water into them, one, two three, four times. I sipped the last of the water from my hands and smiled gaily as my forehead was adorned with the rice. Mega nodded in approval. 'I'm sorry I don't speak more English' Mega said to me, like she had let me down by not brushing up on her skills for our meeting. I laughed. Such an Bali thing to do. To apologize for not speaking your language when you are the one who has come to their country only able to say 'Hello' and 'Thank You.' 'I'm sorry I don't speak more Indonesian,' I replied. 'It's ok,' she said, 'Next time.' That's the other thing about the Balinese. They always want to know when you will be back, because they know you will be.

We had strict instructions from Komang to meet her at the beach in front of the temple at 8pm sharp. She was getting off work at the hotel at 7 and was going to go home and change before meeting up with us. We found a small stage by the beach where young girls, all decked out in brilliantly coloured costumes were performing traditional Balinese dances. They were so little, but moved with such precision and grace. Balinese dance focuses on small, precise movements. Their fingers pulse with the beat and their eyes look side to side sharply. It is unlike any dance I have seen before and is completely consuming for the onlookers. Komang found us standing at the edge of the stage, entranced. How did she find us among the hundreds of other people there? She just started asking random people where the 'ones from far away' were and every single person was able to point her in our direction. I guess our presence didn't go unnoticed. Maybe we stood out a little bit? 'Lets go back to my place for dinner. I sent Ketut out to pick up food.' Umm what? Now she was gong to feed us? It felt like too much. We protested. 'Food is a gift from the gods,' she said, 'We share.' End of discussion.

We made our way back to Komang and Ketut's house in an entertaining combination of walking and taking turns on the back of various motorbikes belonging to various helpful neighbours. We sat outside on the raised platform of an open-air gazebo. Komang brought out a heaping bowl of rice and multiple paper wrapped packages containing delicious vegetarian dishes and fried chicken. The grease seeped through the edges of the packets hinting at the bad-for-you-but-oh-so-tastey food inside. We ate, sitting crosslegged on the cool bamboo, using our hands as shovels. It was absolutely scrumptious. Turns out Balinese ceremonies make you hungry. Komang and Ketut were so so generous, especially considering how little they had. Komang and Ketut are around 40 years old (between both of them we were given a total of four different ages that they thought they were). They have four children; three boys and a girl. The two oldest boys live in Denpasar with her sister-in-law. Ketut's sister was unable to have children, so Komang gave her and her husband two of their boys. A young boy, about 4 and a teenage daughter still live at home. Komang makes about $60CDN a month (she is the highest paid waitress at the hotel) and Ketut makes about $40. They work between six and seven days a week. Komang is usually at the hotel at 7am. She goes home around noon and returns at 3pm staying until she is no longer needed, sometimes as late as 10 or 11pm. It costs about $10CDN a month for the kids to go to school. Life isn't super easy, as you can imagine, but they are happy. It started to rain as Komang insisted that she drive us 'one by one' back to the hotel on the scooter. It was only about 2km, but felt like longer with the rain shooting like pins into my face as we sped down the street. It was about 10pm by the time we were all safe and sound back at the hotel. By the time we wandered to the restaurant the next morning around 8am, Komang was already there, ready, waiting and willing to serve us our breakfast with a smile. It was rather overwhelming. In a surreal way. A type of generosity which I had never really experienced before. Almost too much without wanting anything in return. It felt a little weird. We had already planned to give Komang some money for all she had done for us, in particular to cover the money she'd spent, but it still seemed as if
we were waiting for the other shoe to drop.

We really do feel as though we met amazing, resilient and incredibly generous people in Lovina, especially in Komang and Ketut. I fully believe that their generosity was genuine and fueled by real kindness and without expectation. At the end of the day, however, Komang and Ketut are poor. At breakfast the next morning, Komang said that, we didn't have to, but if we wanted to help her, her family would really appreciate if we
donated money to them. She wrote the amount that us and Sandra could give her on a piece of paper and left it with us. She said her 'water machine' had just broken and she could use the money to fix it. She was sick and wanted to go to the doctor to get some medication. She said she felt bad asking for money, and wished she didn't have to. She said she wouldn't, if they didn't need it. In total she asked for nearly the half of what her and Ketut would net in one month of working.

The whole thing was really distressing for Jonathan and myself. It wasn't the money itself: what she asked for wasn't exactly our life savings. The essence of travel is about sharing. You share cultures, customs and languages: yourself. It's about opening yourself up and striving to create an economy of generosity and sharing between yourself and the people you meet, travelers and locals alike. Its a delicate give and take relationship between traveler and traveler and traveler and local. At the same time, it is unfair to all parties involved to ignore that crossing the subtle yet real line from responsible traveller, aware and honest with yourself that the decisions you make as a traveller do actually have consequences--not always foreseeable ones--with real people living real lives, to short sighted foreigner, unconcerned that frivolity and, ultimately, the refusing to view the framework of the other person's life with seriousness has the potential to create damaging long term effects and unnecessary troubles, social and otherwise, down the road. Of course, the very openendedness and even the vulnerability inherent to acts of kindness and generosity leave ample room for gross misinterpretation and manipulative response. That can't be avoided. But while you don't want to set or nurture an unhealthy and unhelpful precedent, you still trust and hope that the interest and kindness you exchange with one another flows out of a genuine and reciprocated desire to relate and not out of some masked expectation for anything other than friendship. It's hard. You may be reading this thinking how ridiculous it even was for us to have a second thought about donating such a minuscule amount to someone who could obviously use it. It's more complicated, though. The money she asked for, wasn't a small amount for her. Relatively, it wasn't even a small amount for us: it was more than the cost of two nights accommodation for us in Bali. It's not fair to Komang or future travellers to fuel the already rampant idea that foreigners are all rich and hand out money willingly, and for nothing. Also there is the idea that because foreign visitors have 'overflowing wallets' they therefore have a responsibility to give their money to the locals. Everyone can't be expected to give their money to every local, and every local can't rely on hand-outs because it would have a dreadfully negative effect on their society. Where is the line? Believe me, it's hard not to be the bleeding heart when you see people who look like they need so much, especially when really, you have so much you can give. Is money what they really need? Yes, no, maybe, money and....? In the end, after much discussion, right or wrong, we gave Komang less money than she had asked for, but a bit more than the sum we were originally thinking of giving in thanks. We wanted to make sure that we fully covered any money that Komang and Ketut had spent on us with the food and fuel. And we really did appreciate what they had done for us. But then, were we paying for their company? The whole situation still leaves an awkward taste in my mouth. I certainly don't want to leave the impression that Komang was only nice because she was motivated by money. I also don't want to leave the impression that we are cold to the needs of those less fortunate and so stingy that we don't see the benefit of giving money to people who have so little, when we have so much. Man, the world is complicated.

Indonesian Fact: Bali is the only one of Indonesia`s Islands on which the majority of the people are Hindu. The rest of the islands have a Muslim majority.

Comment on Comments: We absolutely LOVE your comments. It`s the first thing we check when we get a hold of some internet. Comments remind us that people actually read our blog. This is nice to know. Feel free to add questions, comments, concerns or requests and we can respond to them in our next entry. Comment on!


karly said...

this was so interesting! i couldnt stop reading. the pics are amazing! miss you and love you.. xoxoxoxoxo
i just have to say you guys are so brave for doing that!!

Gina said...

I agree with Karly, you guys have a lot of guts!

How do you find time to write these awesome blog posts? Do you use internet cafes?

Mom and Dad Mooney said...

You guys are amazing! Pictures are breathtaking (I think I might have said that before). This posting was almost too much to take in. Must admit the motorcycle excursions were a bit worrying from a parent's standpoint! We agree, you don't want the locals to think that they can "expect" money from every traveller they come across. You made a conscientious decision and chalked this up to a learning experience.

Anonymous said...

I look forward with anticipation to reading each new Blog. Your discription of things, people and places always amases me. You bring things to life. Have you ever thought of making a deal with the Niagara Falls paper to publish your blogs. Local people would be thrilled and the money earned would be most useful. It's just a thought. Blessinga on you both.

Ray Chong said...

I compliment you to have written inspiringly & refreshingly to engage viewers to glue our eyes to share such exciting + photographs travelling experiences from the Westerners value judgment point of view .But I lament at your conclusion on casting doubt on the warmness & genuine hospitality of the local Balinese , in negative aspect . Let me share 7 inform that most Asians ,predominantly those who have not had the benefits of exposing to by way of studying ,working ,living in western countries harbours such gross misconception & or fallacies about White people who they look up to as intelligent superior , wealthy faultless lots relative to the locals substandard living conditions & non English speaking environment &system . Such scenario & mistaken perception was 7still is compounded by western literatures ,especially vcds ,movies which the less developed countries folks have the chance to view . The general perception being travellers are relatively well off so they can fly to their remote places ,kampungs/villages to relax & enjoy their holidays there . So they look up to tourists ,especially the westerners , whose purses must be loaded . In their ignorant minds , they don't know what are backpackers , budget travellers , whose frugal eexistence & spending habits are beyond their ,the locals imaginations . Eventually they asked for a "little returns "for playing the part of "Part time tourist Guides" could back fire ,I regret to add sour up the otherwise splendid adventure . Balinese IS among the most ,warm ,trustworthy people in Asian as a whole . I'm afraid your ignorance for parting with a few bucks inreturn for their kindness , without compulsion have outwardly insult them ,& Asian people in general .My advice is "If one is always suspicious of what others offering of kindness being ,don't accept it from the very begining less both parties ended up in bad tastes . No malice please .