Saturday, December 6

Day 100-Kuta Beach

At 5 degrees below the equator, the Indonesian island of Bali enjoys a consistent weather pattern-Hot! and humid. But it is the strong overhead sun that saps ones ambition, leaving one seeking the cool of a pool or an AC room rather than strolling the blistering streets and beaches. And so it is that I have allowed my days to be filled with lounging, reading, napping and enjoying numerous beers in various shady glens, surrounded by gardens of plumeria, hibiscus, bouganvilla and a host of other unknown flowers.

In the months past, I have barrelled across Europe at breakneck speed, spending nights in cramped dormitories, bussed to the farthest outreaches of rural Turkey, and flirted on the edges of uncertainty while arranging my own transport and accomodations in unpredictable India. In a word, I was a Traveler. Here in Bali, I must redefine myself and become what I most despise, a Tourist, if only for a while. Amidst the masses of young Aussie girls, couples on honeymoon, or sunburned strolling families, I am an anomoly. A solo traveler is cool and confidently hip, a solo tourist is...well, a bit pathetic. The charm of fine dining or a day at the spa wears thin quickly for the soloist, but there is one course of relief.

The Balinese locals are without doubt the friendliest people I have ever met. Along with the incessant "hello, how are you?", I was greeted by name no less than a half dozen times today, and I have been here less than 2 days. They do not seem overly concerned with hustling me into their shops, rather are just looking to pass some time, their smiles flowing freely and easily across their perfect teeth. And while I do hope to travel the extent of this small island over the course of the next ten days, more importantly, I wish to absorb some of that sense of self contentment that I am witnessing among these people. Despite the plethora of exotic handicrafts to be purchased here, that would be the best possible souvenir.

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