Bali before the tourist invasion

Below I spied no buildings, only coconut palms. I asked myself from the aeroplane window, what had I done? This was my first trip out of Australia, so like the vista below, I was green.

After I landed in Denpasar, I headed by tuk tuk to the now well-known Kuta Beach. There was a muddy, pot-holed road to the ocean. Papaya and palm trees dotted the roadside. Balinese houses peeped out from the greenery. As I walked down the road, I discovered only one motel-like building near the beach.

The handful of tourists, like me, rented rooms with local families. The only place to eat was at a Balinese woman’s house where she cooked and sold local dishes.

I remember a conversation with a well-travelled USAr when he learned Bali was my first stop. He thought it was a pity I’d come to paradise first. I wouldn’t appreciate its unique beauty. Perhaps he was right.

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