The Aussie domination of Bali

We lucked out with traffic in Jakarta. Given that we arrived at the end of December before the new year, most of the city dwellers had departed for new year’s holidays, and so we experienced none of the gridlock that so oftentimes characterizes the city. Instead, we experienced horrific traffic in Jogja, and last night when arriving in Denpasar, Bali, as the last leg of our Indonesia trip, what could arguably be the worst traffic of this entire trip. The distance between the Denpasar airport and Kuta, where we are staying, really isn’t that far, but somehow, it took ages and ages for us to get anywhere. In many cases, we were on two lane roads where cars just did not move. Constant traffic lights were hit. And all I wanted to do was eat dinner and crawl into bed. It was so miserable. It may have been faster to drag our luggage by foot to the hotel at the rate we were going.

Bali is notorious for awful traffic, not necessarily because it is that heavily populated, but rather that the infrastructure there just cannot handle the number of cars and people that want to go through it. And as we walked around the Kuta area, I realized exactly how Australian dominated the island was, or at least, this section: all I could hear were Australian accents, and all I could see were American and Australian brands and restaurants advertising “Aussie steaks” or “Aussie burgers” (whatever either of those two terms even mean). No one wanted to greet us or even say “thank you” to us in Bahasa or Balinese; it was all English. This just did not feel right.

The only place I want to go where I immediately know I will hear Aussie accents is Australia or a family gathering of Chris’s. Anything else is not going to make me happy.

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