Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Edge of Bali


Three people travel to Bali for very different reasons. All three are on the edge, unsure of whether they should stay in Bali any longer, but are increasingly drawn into the heart of this complex and alluring island. One of the three travellers in the story states with contempt:

"The hotel’s farthest fence had a gate that led to the beach, and there, too, its billboard reminded you that inside it was the way you want Bali to be. And eat your heart out everyone else, because Bali isn’t the way you want it to be. Bali has dirt and poverty and armies of hustlers trying to make a dollar, and if you can’t get behind a big, wealthy wall you can’t miss it."

I have often wondered what Bali was like before it became fouled by tourism. Before plastic accumulated in refuse dumps outside of each family compound. Before, when the tropical air wasn’t filled with billowing, yellow smoke as families burned their garbage alongside the road every night.

The Edge of Bali is a classic example of a book that should never have gone out of print.