Friday, February 09, 2007

Behind Bali Resort’s Palm Trees

Even though 97 percent of Bali’s inhabitants are Buddhist-Hindu, since most tourists are westerners, locals choose to decorate hotels using Christmas ornaments. At the same time, every time they see you they smile saying “Merry Christmas”, despite the fact we celebrated the birth of Christ the previous week.

However, locals’ don’t always choose the best decorations to please tourists: a giant snowman dressed in traditional Indonesian clothes is not most the most appropriate decoration next to the warm seaside. Nevertheless, I must admit it contributed to generate the Christmas mood away form home.

Smoked Flavors from Coconut Shells

Paul, our local tour guide, introduced us to a side of Bali we had not seen by taking us to a traditional Balinese restaurant for dinner.

Before we sat down to eat, we fished a crab from a bowl and chose a fish and large shrimps that the restaurant’s fisherman brought while we were deciding what to eat. After that, we accommodated ourselves in a table next to the sea, and awaited until the coconut shells’ coals cooked our food.

Half an hour later, a group of waiters dressed in traditional Indonesian clothes brought some delicious dishes served with rice and vegetables. Each bite held together a crunchy smoked taste where you could still taste the coconut’s flavor, and the sweet and spicy taste of a sauce that reminded me of a light barbecue sauce.

Having dinner next to the sea was a sweet welcoming to the Bali we were going to see the next day.

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