water is very rich in bacteria."
The speaker sounded well satisfied, as though this was something
to be greatly envied. Let other countries look to their oilfields
or their goldmines - Bali treasured its bountiful bacteria.
point of fact, it was a warning from a Balinese doctor against washing
an open wound in unboiled water
Only the Balinese can make a health hazard sound like a national
It is this ability to gloss-over harsh reality which makes them
such marvellous hosts for tourists - many of whom, like myself,
must severely try their patience.
the case of the petulent matron who, as a kind of status symbol,
disapproved of everything - the climate, the food, the roads, the
accommodation. Finally, having exhausted all else, in a mosquito-free
district, she complained of being "eaten alive every night
by the mosquitos".
roomboy fielded that one with a smile, and just the right trace
of envy in his voice:
"Ah, then Nyonya must have very sweet blood."
Or, consider the tourist from one of the Latin American countries
who gate-crashed a Royal cremation, minced across the courtyard,
and posed simperingly beside the sarcophagus, urging his young male
companion to be sure to catch his best profile in the photo.
retired couple from Mexico, were something else again. True, I didn't
believe my eyes at first encounter. There was 1, strolling casually
down one of the hibiscus -fringed hotel paths, when, wham coming
towards me on collision course, teetering