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Money, rain, Benoa Bay and stomach pain

Volunteer Blog

Denpasar, Bali, January 2015 (Emanuele Didu)

From New Year’s Eve party and on, the time ran really fast.

Despite the rain, that in this season regularly threatens to fall suddenly and heavily and made me think more than once to change my plans, somehow I ended up in lots of new stunning spots along the south coast of Bali, from Benoa Bay to Nusa Dua, from Nusa Dua to Uluwatu. I have always loved to seek for new places off the beaten path, and doing it in Bali is very rewarding: despite the many new buildings that are popping up like mushrooms along the coastline the island is still pretty wild. However we better hurry up: the so-called “development” is running really fast and sadly, is going to twist completely both culture and morphology of the island.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADuring the weekends, I also had the chance to join two events organized by the movement “Tolak Reklamasi”, which is fighting hard against the insane construction plan of a Dubai style area in Benoa Bay. Beside the ethical side of the problem (the government is selling public lands and natural resources to investors), the project will involve the removal of the mangrove forest, action that would result in a long list of side effects, exposing the island to Tsunami and killing the habitat of many animals and fishes. All of this made me wonder, since in the last years in Sardinia the building plan of the coasts and the protection of nature and history have been a widely argued topics. In Sardinia, something like the Benoa Bay project would not be even considered: currently almost any form of building before some km from the coasts and the shore is not allowed. The building of a 5 stars hotel near the coasts of my hometown jumped to the news very often lately, as it led to a long legal dispute that stopped the construction and will probably end with a demolition of the existing buildings.

Anyway, the
Reklamasi events were also a nice chance to enjoy a positive vibe and discover some interesting artists, whose music, contents and grooves made me feel a little bit more close to Bali than I was before.

Reklamasi concert

 

No money, no honey
January has been also the month where all the EVS team – once almost everybody started to run out of savings – faced how though is to enjoy the experience with the little money allowance we are getting. Consequently to the 30% increase of the fuel price all the other prices have raised, and since almost everything in Bali is for pay and even taking a walk is not feasible unless you take a scooter (whose rent and petrol have to be paid as well), everybody is struggling to have a fulfilling and satisfying experience. The allowance we get barely covers the food expenses, and especially for those who doesn’t have any more extra money, the experience is not getting really fun. Bali is really an amazing island that you can really enjoy if you explore and experiment, but if you are so short of money, exploring and going out on weekends is something that you just cannot afford. Sure, we can easily reach any time – by scooter – many beautiful spots along the coast, but anything extra such as food on the beach side, a beer, or surfing, is out of budget. So, if you are reading this blog because you wish to come here or you are about to do it, just make sure you come here with some savings. You’ll survive either way, but if you really don’t bring any money forget surfing, forget concerts (expect some rare occasion), forget clubs, forget the existence of beer, forget planning any trips that last more than 1 day and get prepared to a poor social life and a taste of how retirement looks like. It’s not really worth of trying 🙂