There Are Some Conversations You Only Have on Bali…

Life on Bali is many things, but it’s never dull. Here’s snapshots of a few conversations here in Canggu, which remains a far cry from Kensington – thank god!

Things to KNow Before Moving to Bali

“So, they went back to her village to buy an island. They were only there for property! And the family wouldn’t let her leave until they got married.”

“They got married?”

“Of course. There was no other way off the island. The family rented a dress.”


“One of my favourite beaches is up on the north coast somewhere. It’s the village where all the spirits of the dead leave the island after they’ve come down the rivers. But I can’t remember what it’s called.”


“I’d be interested to go there, because, when I was young, I bought my husband an orangutan. I didn’t know!”

“An orangutan?!”

“Yes, and then [redacted] brought his friends from school for show and tell, and someone reported us. I think it’s somewhere in Kalimantan now.”


“I don’t really surf much since I broke my neck fifteen years ago.”


“I can’t remember whether this is our fifth or six civet cat. They either run away or get stolen. Let me count…”

“I think it’s the landlord that keeps stealing them.”


“You could have amazing dinners here. Get them catered.”


“[Redacted]’s family are all balian, with very strong magic. And he had a dream about a woman with a snake by the dog kennel. You have two spirits: a good one in the kitchen, and a bad one in the garden.”

“So we need to hold a ceremony?”

“I think. But also, I think your landlord didn’t do a ceremony when he built the pool and fishponds, so the earth goddess will be angry.”


“I’m starting a warung. It’s gambling money.”


“It was the dogs that found the kitten. They killed three of her sisters, but I managed to save her. So now I’ve got to feed her up.”

“How many dogs do you have now?”

“I’m back down to four.”


“My family have always done film. I did jewellery for a while, and now I’m getting back into fashion. I’m trying out tailors for a new line.”


“We’ve got a band. I’m recording our next album while I’m surfing. Look!”

“So you can play guitar AND surf barrels at the same time?!”



“Well, of COURSE they all want to date 20-something Indonesians. They’re pretty, and they’re GRATEFUL. Not like old bags like us, going nyek-nyek-nyek-nyek-nyeh.”

“I took the bike out for the first time and skidded on wet cement right outside my house. So [redacted] went to the pharmacy and bought me bandages. Then he went into his room, came out with his phone – he’s been getting quite good at Google Translate – ‘Best not learn ride motorbike at night’.”


“I think she’s been people-smuggled.”


“She met a new, Estonian boyfriend and he found her a job in Kalimantan. He said she had to change her number so that she could only contact him.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Nothing. I don’t have her ID card details.”


“I walked to Tibet. They wouldn’t give me a visa, so I just walked. Took about three weeks.”


“I’m going to have to stop drinking and driving.”

“Oh god, did you hit someone?”

“Nothing much, just a few low walls. But I actually had to pay to get it fixed.”


“I wouldn’t dive Penida if I were you. A friend of mine dived it, said they were crawling up the wall in a down-current.”


“He’s not allowed to drive.”


“I’ve got detached retinas, so oncoming lights dazzle me. So when I flashed my headlights and they didn’t switch their lights off, I used to throw a rock through their windows when I passed them. Then one day [redacted] came out to my car and asked what the rocks were doing on the front seat.”

2 Responses

  1. Christian says:

    I love Bali and I love travel, but… reading some of these dialogues, I have to wonder if being expat too long compromises one’s humanity.