The culture of Bali is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Although being abroad in Australia for more than 2 months, I have rarely felt culture shock. Bali was the opposite. I have never felt more out of my element and it was awesome. Below are some notable differences in culture I came to realize.
From my understanding, religion plays a huge part in Balinese Culture. Almost 83.5% of Bali practices Balinese Hinduism and it is seen everywhere. I was in awe on how much Hinduism effects the peoples’ daily lives. For almost everyone, the morning means prayer and giving thanks. From my taxi driver, I learned that every morning an offering box is made by every practicing Hindu and they can be seen scattered in front of homes, cars, and around the streets. This offering is symbolic gesture of thanks and appreciation for their life and all that has been given to them. Other than these offerings, religious symbolism is seen is everything else. Everything from art to statues or normal clothing, Hinduism can be seen in some way. It is truly a spectacle to see.
Balinese food and Indonesian food is incredible and unique. Some of the food I tasted include nasi gureng (fried noodles), bebek gureng (fried duck) and satay(chicken or pork skewers). My favorite dish I had would be babi guling which is roast pork. Balinese food is often very simple but very flavorful. It almost always comes with a meat part, rice, and something called “saambal” which can best described as a spicy Indonesian salsa. It was a cool experience getting authentic Indonesian food, a culture that is highly under represented where I’m from.
Driving and the Road
The road system in Bali is confusing, dangerous and awesome. First of all, scooters and motorcycles rule the streets. If you are not a taxi driver, you are more than likely weaving in and out of traffic on two wheels. It is the most affordable and fastest way to get around. The best comparison I can give to driving around on Balinese roads is navigating a shopping cart in a packed grocery store. When you are in an aisle, there is a suggested way to push your cart; however, your item you want may be on the opposite side so you must either stop or crossover to the other “lane”. Bali roads follow the same rules. While there is paint on the roads to show where the lane is, the cars and motorbikes just do what they want. Because of the uncertainty on the roads, motorcyclists and drivers both have to be very careful on the roads. You absolutely cannot be mindlessly driving around