I’ve been here twice for a client based in Bali. For my part, I found the overbuilt island overwhelmingly touristy and as a result, not at all attractive. There seem to be more tourist resorts than trees. Only after boarding a Phinisi ship and sailing to the outer islands did I enjoy myself.
I read several histories of Bali before I went, which don’t do. Interestingly, the locals despise Elizabeth Gilbert’s book. Tourists over simplify what they find, and the island is overinhabited by folks carving far too much of it out for themselves. However, Doody, what you describe here is happening all over the world. The Chinese demand for the so-called sexual enhancement properties of a certain hornbilled bird is wiping out that population on Borneo, and the locals are dredging the rivers for gold with all kinds of environmental side effects. The indigenous people are so poor they will do anything for money, including burn down the rain forests so that Westerners can plant palm oil plants for their goddamned Cheetos and Frito-Lays, wiping out the organutans.
We all want paradise but we don’t want to pay the price to protect it. The waters off Bali are among the filthiest in the world. Youtub has plenty of videos of people swimming in filth. Indonesia is the world’s second biggest contributor to sea pollution,with masses upon masses of plastic and waste washing up on all its gorgeous beaches.
Indonesia, with its favorable exchange rate, is a mecca- especially Ubud- for tourists to take advantage. For my part I want none of it. I appreciated the chance to see it, write about it, but I wouldn’t to live there. It’s a fascinating place that everyone wants to exploit. I prefer not to. But that’s just me.