balinese women

Indonesia is the fourth largest nation in the world, with over 200 million citizens to date.  Of course, the people throughout the entire nation are all different depending on which island you travel to and what your business is there (the Javanese, for example, I have heard can be pretty unpleasant).  The good news is that the Balinese people, as a whole, are completely good hearted and kind people.  Everyone is extremely kind and helpful and will always greet you with a smile.

One thing about Bali is, it is a poor and third world island.  There is something that people here need more than friends, and that is money.  If there is an opportunity for a Balinese person to make money from you, then they will try to take it.  Even while driving Balinese will come up beside you, ask where you are going, and offer to show you the way, as long as you pay for their gas of course.  The people really are kind, but sometimes it may be to get you to buy more things or become a customer.  I experienced this with a family I stayed with in Bali.  When we were living there, they were all smiles and kind words.  As soon as we left and then came back to grab a few things we forgot, they weren’t as kind and open to us, and definitely spent most of their attention and energy on their new guests instead of us.  Its nothing personal, its just business for them and we are their livelihood.  The Balinese live on tourism, and therefore they DO want you there.  Just make sure you aren’t getting scammed or paying for something you shouldn’t be.

balinese smile

Another thing about the Balinese people is they hate conflict.  They will smile and laugh and talk to you with enthusiasm and kindness simply because they want to avoid conflict at all costs.  Say you are in a restaurant, and you want lime with your drink.  Even if they do no have the lime, they will smile and say “yes, yes of course” but then you will never get your lime.  Its just the way it is, and there is no use arguing with anyone about it because that will only make them more upset.  I had a taxi driver tell me that Balinese people are only 10% angry, and most other people in the world are at least 40% angry.  He said that even if he is upset, he still smiles and acts like he is happy, even if he is 10% angry inside.  That is the Balinese way, to simply smile.  So, when something is not going your way, you just have to accept that, that is Bali, and move on without getting irritated.  You really aren’t being ignored, its just their nature to avoid conflict rather then tell you flat out “no.”

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