Tag Archives: Bali

Bali hideho!

When I went to Bali — every chance I could during a year I lived in that wretched Djakarta [1949-50]– the locals would tell my Dutch Eurasian friend [mother Balinese] and me wonderful stories. The Balinese are famous as practical jokers as well as raconteurs. They told one story about this crazy, ugly, skinny Belande [foreigner, European] woman [Margaret Mead] who came visiting off a yacht tied up at Den Pasar. They said she started asking questions about their sex life. Balinese are or were pretty …shall we say, lax… being still Hindu-animists unlike their poor Javanese and Madurese cousins who have taken on some of the worst of the Muslim appendage. So they told her stories, made up stories, invented all sorts of things no one else would dream of. She wrote it all down, they said, and they kept feeding her more and more. That had been some 25-30 years earlier than my visits, but until “the transfer of sovereignty” the Dutch had kept the place pretty much locked up, like a museum. Dem vas de days!
Just imagine what the Balinese would have to tell this lady if she ever got out of purdah — or that costume!