We arrived in Benoa about noon today. Yesterday, I drug Doré around over a couple miles of uneven paths. Tomorrow we get serious about seeing as much of the island and its culture as we can. Today it was raining a little so we hung around close to the harbor; more shopping than any thing. In response to my comment about how aggressive the vendors were, we just got shrugs and the comment, “Well, it’s Indonesia.” They totally ignore “No, thank you,” have very small personal spaces, and no aversion to holding onto your arm.
Other people seem to enjoy it and treat it as a game. One transaction for one of our fellow travelers was, “But sir, please understand I have six children to feed.” His response was, “You need to understand I have a world cruise to pay for .” My impression is that, more than Mexico, the Caribbean, Peru, Ecuador, and even Egypt, here they seem desperate.
While there is an Indonesian Rupiah (current exchange rate 13,333.33 to $1 US), they seem to prefer US, but will accept Australian dollars, British pounds, or Euros. Everything is bargained and switching currencies is part of the process. It wasn’t uncommon to start at $20 US and end up at $5 AU.
The truly annoying thing is nobody (including the ship) will take Australian coins (any thing smaller than $5 is a coin) but they are perfectly happy giving me ten $2 coins instead of one paper $20 in change. I’ve been trying to get rid of AU dollars but keep piling up the coins.
Tonight we will get some culture from Sanggar Seni Saba Sari, which is traditional Gamelan Music and Balinese dance. Maybe tomorrow I’ll know what ‘Gamelan’ is.