Category Archives: Bali

Countering Conspiracy, Thinking About Bali and Fox News Surprises Me

 I took this photo in a school I visited on one of my two trips to Bali. I wondered what was happening in Bali right now. I discovered the country has been exhibiting some kind of strange immunity to the coronavirus. An article in The Asia Times yesterday reports only 86 cases and two deaths.  In fact, the medical community in Bali is more concerned about a dengue fever outbreak than about COVID-19.

With my golf caddy in Bali

Of course, tourism has slowed to a trickle and this is devastating for the economy in Bali which relies heavily on the 5 million tourists who visit each year. 

I read about a high school teacher who tasked her students with finding an article in the newspaper that wasn’t about the coronavirus to share with their classmates. The assignment proved difficult if not impossible.   I decided to take on the challenge with today’s Winnipeg Free Press.  The only features I could find that didn’t refer to the pandemic in some way were the obituaries, the comics, the horoscopes, one recipe and the letters to Miss Lonely Hearts. 

This cartoon in the South China Morning Post accompanies a good article about the dangers of spreading misinformation about the virus

I really appreciated a segment Adrienne Arsenault did on The National last night about talking to family and friends who you believe are spreading conspiracy theories or fake news via social media. Some may be prone to making claims about the virus based on their own armchair expertise or that of unqualified commentators.  Adrienne provided some helpful tips about how to respond without making the other person double down on their claims because they get upset with you.

This cartoon by Shadi Ghanim is a reminder of the importance of being careful about what kind of news coverage about the pandemic we expose ourselves to, believe and share with others. 

I have started seeing some of these questionable, conspiracy theory types of posts on Twitter and Facebook from people I know and I’ve already learned that reacting indignantly isn’t helpful. Apparently, neither is unfriending or blocking them.  We need to respond in a kind, measured way perhaps providing links to alternate sites that provide more reliable information from scientific experts. We have a responsibility to do our part to combat the spread of misinformation. 

Visiting the United Nations meeting room. The United Nations is concerned about the spread of misinformation during the pandemic

The United Nations is so concerned about the spread of false ideas they are mounting a massive campaign to flood social media with the best information experienced scientists can provide.  The UN has added a myth buster section to their website where they respond to ideas that are most certainly false.  They remind us that while some people spreading misinformation on the internet are doing it for political or monetary advantage most are just fearful and well-intentioned. We need to keep that in mind when we respond to them. Yesterday when Donald Trump made his decision to cut funding to the World Health Organization I was reminded of a sculpture we saw at the United Nations called Sphere Within a Sphere by Arnold Pomodoro. It was a gift from Italy a country that has been hit extremely hard by the coronavirus. The sculpture shows the split outer core of the world but inside the cogs that keep it going are still running. The sculpture reminds me that healing the world and keeping it running is going to need to be a global effort. The seriousness and foolishness of what President Trump has done were perhaps most clearly illustrated by the fact that even Fox News, a media outlet whose support of the President has been almost unconditional ran an article yesterday that ended with these words “The World Health Organization is essential to turning the tide against COVID-19. There is no path out of the epidemic on our own. We need other countries. The WHO has its challenges, but for now, it’s our best hope of ending this crisis quickly.” 

Other posts…………

De Ja Vu At the United Nations

Biking in Bali

Things That Are True

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Filed under Bali, COVID-19 Diary, Media

Thinking of Folks in Bali

As the news fills with stories about a volcano threatening to erupt in Bali I am reminded of the two trips we made to Bali and in particular of the warm and wonderful people we met while we were there. school in baliThe children in the school we visited.

sunlini in baliMy friendly and professional golf caddy Sunlini.cocoa plantation baliThe workers at the farm where we learned all about cocoa production. getting ready for a wedding in baliThe family preparing for a wedding who invited us into their compound to watch all the festivities and meet the bride. boys swimming in baliThese joyful kids cooling off in a stream. harvest time in BaliThe farmers busy at work in their fields. winnowing rice in baliCooks getting rice ready to feed their families. beach vendor baliThis hardworking woman giving massages and pedicures on the beach. wayan eat pray loveWayan one of the characters in the book Eat, Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Wayan served us a healthy lunch at her restaurant. 

I am especially concerned because many of these people in Bali rely on the tourist trade for their living and the possible volcanic eruption will deeply impact their sources of income as tourists flee.  I hope these folks will be safe and wish them all the best as they deal with the potential natural disaster. 

Other posts………

Biking in Bali

Meeting Wayan From Eat Pray Love

The $2000 Jeopardy Question

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The $2000 Jeopardy Question

If I’d have been on the Jeopardy television game show I could have earned $2000.  Recently in a category called Houses of Worship contestants were asked to identify the Indonesian location of an island temple shown in a photograph.  temple-at-tanah-lotI knew the answer was Bali because Dave and I have vacationed twice at a resort right near the Pura Tanah Lot Temple.  We had a beautiful view of the temple built to the sea gods from the resort golf course. I took several photos of the unique house of worship. None of the Jeopardy contestants knew the answer was Bali so if I’d have been on the show I would have won $2000.  

Other posts…….

Biking in Bali

Meeting Wayan From Eat Pray Love

Temple of Dawn- A Giant Recycling Project

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Meeting Wayan From Eat, Pray, Love

The memoir Eat, Pray, Love, topped the New York Times bestseller list for a year. Author Elizabeth Gilbert writes about her quest to ‘find herself’ after a devastating divorce. She spends four months in Italy eating fabulous food, four months in India meditating in an ashram and four months in Bali finding love and contentment. I read Eat, Pray, Love just before my  trip to Bali

Wayan from the book Eat Pray Love prepares food in her restaurant

Wayan was my favorite character in the book. She’s the proprietor of a small healing shop and restaurant in the city of Ubud. Elizabeth Gilbert is riding her bicycle in Ubud and falls injuring her knee. She goes to the shop for some ointment and ends up making friends with Wayan and her daughter, Tutti. Wayan has left an abusive husband and is having difficulty surviving since in Balinese culture divorce carries such a stigma. Wayan is often forced to move her business from one site to another and so has trouble holding onto enough established clients to be financially solvent.

Wayan’s shop in Ubud, Bali

Elizabeth Gilbert puts out an appeal to American friends to donate money to buy Wayan her own shop. It doesn’t take Gilbert long to collect $18,000. Before she leaves Bali, Gilbert sees Wayan established in a mortgage-free two-story building.

Inside Wayan’s shop in Ubud

It isn’t hard to find Wayan’s shop. Gilbert’s book says it is a few doors up the road from the Ubud post office and that is exactly where my friend Kathy and I found it.

Having a massage at Wayan’s shop in Ubud

The hand-painted sign out front invited us in to have a massage, learn Balinese dance, buy medicinal plants, eat a healthy Vitamin Lunch or be healed of whatever ailed us. Huge pots on the shop’s front patio contained various herbs like ginseng, jasmine and aloe vera. Each pot had a sign that told you what illnesses that particular plant could help to cure.

Wayan’s assistant serves us

We wandered inside. The restaurant had three tables. Wayan met us and after escorting us to the one table available asked if we had come to eat or be healed. We told her we were hungry after a morning of wandering the shops of Ubud and so she and her assistant began bringing food to our table. They grated turmeric and mixed it with ginger, honey, and water to make a delicious juice.

The food at Wayan’s restaurant

They brought us three different kinds of seaweed, each flavored in a different way. We ate uniquely spiced melon and tomato served on banana leaves. We had rice and salad.

Wayan describes the different things she is serving us

As each dish came to the table Wayan told us whether it was good for our stomach, kidneys, hearts or love lives. Wayan said for only a small, added cost we could have a healthy body check at the end of the meal, but she was very busy when we finished eating doing body checks for a group of French women sitting at another table. I noted one of them had a French copy of Eat, Pray, Love tucked into her bag. The book has been translated into more than thirty languages.

Wayan chatting with a guest from France

One of the things I like to do whenever I travel is to read a book set in the country I’m visiting. It makes the place come alive for me. I don’t always get a chance to actually step into the pages of the books and meet one of the characters I’ve read about. Happily, I was able to do that in Bali.

Other posts about Bali……

A Bike Ride in Bali

Other posts about visiting a book’s setting……

 A Great House Haunts Me

Walden Pond

Michener’s Hawaii



Filed under Bali, Books, Food, People, Restaurants, Travel

Biking in Bali

Our recent biking adventure in Toronto brought to mind other memorable biking trips in recent years. One was in Bali. It was probably the easiest bike journey we’ve done because it was almost all downhill. Our trip began at the top of Mount Batur, a volcanic peak. Here’s Dave with Kathy Glenn a friend who went on the tour with us.

We started out with a breakfast of banana fritters and coffee so thick it was like syrup before setting out on a four-hour bike trek through the villages of Bali. It was a gorgeous day and we got a great view of the Bali countryside from our bikes.We saw lots of beautiful flowers along the way. Women in Bali use the flowers to fill offering baskets they weave to place outside their homes and businesses as a kind of prayer each morning. We stopped to visit a school and learned a little bit more about how the school system works in Bali. Here I am with a group of grade six girls.  The school had no books, no lights, no air conditioning, forty children to a class and teachers who are paid a minimum government worker’s salary. Most children only complete elementary school because the government supplies the uniform and books and the parents don’t have to pay anything at all. Anything past sixth grade is at the parents’ expense.

These elementary students said good-bye to us as we left. 


These boys obviously weren’t in school, but were sure having a good time. Some parents keep their kids home from school because the commute is too far or because they want them to work in the rice fields with them. We saw farmers planting their cropsAnd harvesting them. And winnowing their rice for eating. We visited a cocoa plantation and tried some of the thick rich chocolate. We passed many family compounds. Most have highly decorative entry ways.

The compounds all had one and often more altars in it for making offerings and petitioning the gods. Unlike the rest of Indonesia which is basically Muslim, Bali is Hindu, but they have their own kind of Hinduism, mixed with animism.


These men were decorating the gate of their family compound for a wedding. They invited us to come in and watch the family preparing for the upcoming festivities.The bride was hiding in the kitchen and only poked her head around the corner.  She looked about eight months pregnant. Our guide said men in Bali like to know a woman is fertile before they marry her so women are often pregnant on their wedding day. Biking was a great way to see the sights of Bali. After the bike trip we recuperated with massages at a spa. The owner took a photo of the three of us. 

Other posts about bikes………

Biking in Yangshou

Biking in Toronto

Favourite Things in Arizona

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