Friday, February 22, 2008

Topsy-Turvy World - 6 - Candidasa

durian growing on treeI've travelled a couple of times to Bali..

I am not as impressed with it as some people I know.. For starters I think it is heavily over populated, especially in the south of the Island. The tourist trade has ruined much of the beach front. - I am sure though, that once upon a time, it used to be a veritable paradise.

True, there are parts of the island that are still untouched and rather beautiful.. Especially the north of the island and extra especially the north west, which is mostly still national park with limited access, and much of the centre of the island too..

But I am in no great hurry to ever return there. On average, I found that, in general, many of the people living there were too pushy for my linking, and I was especially disgruntled by the fact that most men smoke from sunrise to sunset apparently using just one match a day, as each dieing cigarette is used to light the next one..

OK.. I may exaggerate some, but that's certainly how it seemed to me at the time..

Candidasa (pronounced Chandy-dassa) is one place that I'd like to mention as an example of human folly.. (it's a beach town in the south east of the island). This place used to have beautiful golden sand beaches with coral a short swim from the shore, and teams of multi coloured fish of varying size.. The sea was mostly calm, and the beach was full of coconuts..

All that, changed with the advent of tourism.. Money hungry businesses started erecting concrete buildings as huts for the tourists. In an effort to keep costs low, they harvested most of the coral to use for making the cement (ground up for the lime I guess)..

The result became shortly evident.. Removing the coral caused the sea to boil wildly as the coral had previosly acted as a wave breaker, keeping it otherwise calm.. Anyhow, the sea came in, and washed away the beautiful beaches.. Excepting a few die hards that managed to survive, the multicoloured fish all but disappeared with their shelter, home and playground stolen from them, and Candidasa became something totally else within the space of about a decade, with the ugly concrete buildings lining the beach front where once stood coconut palms..

After realising what they had done, there was a massive attempt to restore things.. Concrete was poured back into the sea to replace the nolonger coral and to act as wave breakers.. The beaches never regained their golden splendour but instead remained mostly bared rock, stone and pebbles.

Of course, far more cement was used than was ever made from killing the coral..

Quite sad really..

True, people often appear to be quite friendly there, but alas a good many of them put on a smile in attempts to do some kind of business with you.. whether it be to get you to buy their sarong, or to overnight in the multitude of guesthouses across the island... (Apologies to the genuinely nice people that I met on the island, because there are certainly some of you!!)

Needless to say, I've no plans on going back there any time soon (though I try not to say never!)..

To leave things on a positive note.. the durian is good there, and those lovely unique white mangoes that I've only seen there and no where else.. And they have great tasting unique flavoured passion fruits that I was practically living off of..

Well.. I guess we all make mistakes. (that's not meant as an excuse.. just a fact)

orange fleshed durian


Bali Hotel said...
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