I loved my holiday–which was more of an, I don’t know, effort? Haha. But I did not like Bali. Everyday I announced to the group (my family and dad’s employees) that I’d be staying back at the hotel the next day and watch lotsa TV, only to pull myself together for temples, shopping, haggling, beaches, and lots and lots of scorching sun.

I think I was the most unenthusiastic tourist, and the most stingy one too. =D

But see, the whole point of me coming on this holiday was to spend time with my family–something I don’t do often because I hardly go back, and I totally loved that part. I loved going for the spa (which did not impress me) with mum, loved playing the fool with my sister, loved watching dad eat his durian and stinking up his hotel room, observing him take lots of pictures (which he wants to display at his shop), and looking at the way he enjoyed his Bali coffee.

But I did not get to see crates of Teh Botol stacked up outside every shop…no children running around…no sate kerang, risol, martabak, bakso, and all the Indonesian food I fell in love with during my last trip…what I got was fragments of the mirror that reflected Indonesia: the friendly hotel staff, the Indonesian smile, the persistent peddlars, cries of “Ibu…ibu”…

The rest? All the manicures and pedicures and frangipanis and fake tattoos…I didn’t believe it. Bali became like that for white tourists, I think. And yet when you drive through the streets, you see that the houses are all still so shabby, the people are poor (you can tell from the persistence of the peddlars, some children), power failures are common…they still have a hard life. I’m thinking what if the rural part of Aceh, too, like maybe one of the Tsunami sites, was developed into a tourist destination? Well, at least the people would have more skills, but how fast would things change eh?

OK la the Balinese have their own unique religious culture, their handiwork really impressed me, the scenery was good–but the tourist spots only open when the sun is high up in the sky so how are you supposed to enjoy the environment like that! The Aceh beach was better even with long sweat pants and baggy T-shirts (no sexy swimwear in Aceh, not even shorts)!

Want to go to Aceh next year? Join NDI! The people I met during that trip are people I don’t want to forget. I don’t know, I look up to them…their commitment, amazing. They clearly didn’t go to Aceh just to have a bit of fun…like I did. HAHAHAHAHAHA ;P JK.

Oh one more thing one more thing we met an Indian lady at the airport who is an English teacher and you know what, the conversation we had, the things she told us…that might just be the most memorable thing about my Bali trip. She was so angry with our education system, with the way our country is run. It forced me to see Malaysia for what it really is at the moment. I wished I had gotten her email….potential source for big scoop if and when I become a journalist! If I ever do I wanna become a fierce, Nadeswaran kind of journalist, but I will need lessons in Bully Prevention first.

Alright Bee Sean I’m gonna do the translation for your emotionally charged article now now now now now.