Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations in Indonesia Part III

After Jakarta and Garut, Tony arrived in Bali.. The Land of the Gods.. He figured out why so many expats and western tourists ended up living here for good.

The segment in Bali opened with Tony sitting in a hut at Dreamland beach, near Uluwatu, having beer and just enjoying the beautiful view of the beach. Bali was known as the paradise and Tony felt the same way. It was paradise, even for Tony, who had travel everywhere across the globe. First, Tony went to Ubud. The famous "Ibu Oka Suckling Pig" was his destination. This restaurant was absolutely one of the most famous places for pork eaters, especially those who adore traditional Balinese pork cuisine. One whole pig is flipped over (and over again) over a wood flame until it's done and then every part of the pig is cut to pieces and served with rice and sambal (chili). This suckling pig was super spicy, and yet Tony ate it like he was brought up with chili in every meal he had all of his life. Another wow.

Next on his list was looking for another reason to call this island as paradise. It was a waterfall and he found it not so far away from Ubud, I suppose (he didn't exactly say where he was, but I assume that it was in Ubud, since he went straight from the Suckling Pig restaurant). The water went pouring from the hill and it was surrounded by a gorgeous green scenery. Tony went into the water right away and it looked like he was having the time of his life. I was so jealous for not knowing that waterfall ever existed. It would also be my next reason to call this island as paradise.

After the waterfall, Tony went to meet up with Jamie Aditya. He is an Indonesian that also has his own traveling show called "Sync or Swim". Jamie took Tony to see the Kecak dancing. Kecak is probably the most famous dance in Bali. A hundred and more men (all bare chested) sit in a form of circle, surrounding a bonfire. They do movements that would probably remind us of monkeys. This is why westerners refer this dance as the "monkey dance". Kecak doesn't involve any kind of musical instrument, instead, the dancers use their voice and body parts to make the music. It's a phenomenal and magical dance. Almost trance-like. Tony was awed by the Kecak performance.

To end his journey in Bali, Tony met up with a Chicago born chef who had been working in The Ritz Carlton Bali for some years. Apparently, Tony need another reason that came from other people's mouth to stay longer (or even forever) in this beautiful country. They talked over Balinese lunch, prepared by the chef and talked about falling in love with Bali dan Indonesia. The Chicago boy (I forgot his name) said that he fell in love with the tradition, the culture, the women and most of all, the food. It took Tony a moment to figure out whether he wanted to stay in this country forever. In a split second, it occured in his head that Indonesia was probably the place for his future. Yet, he has this unsureness of being able to really fit in with the people's way of living. "It feels like home away from home, but I will always be a bule here," the narration hit hard.

One question hung in my head after this episode. A bule from a continent so far away fell in love with Indonesia.
Why is it so hard for us to see all that beauty too?


  1. Old joke said "beauty is relative, but ugliness is absolute" :p
    I remember my first trip to bali many years ago. It was also my first self-initiated-come-true trip. Before, it was my parents' decision where to go and what to do. As the result, we always end up in my grandma's place :D (it is a nice place though).
    Anyway, seeing such place realized me of the beauty of Indonesia's nature that always been blurred by the hectic of city life. From then, there's so many places in this country I want to visit in near future.
    What I'm trying to say that It is hardly for us to realized the beauty of something without comparing it. Our country consists of many island with so many differences in culture and environment. Visiting one or more places for sure will help us discover its beauty. But unfortunately, not everybody in Indonesia can afford such journey. Even worse, thanks to sinetron and hollywood (maybe also bollywood :) ) propaganda, many people nowadays feel prouder visiting foreign country than places in his/her own country. For example, I've been interested in Siberia since I played a video game with the same name. Even I know the description of the place is only a fiction, but still it always can give me an image of how full of mystery is that place.
    Having a tv as our digital window to another place might seem a solution, but still it can't match the feeling of being there in person. Well, until I can have a chance to travel again, I will be sitting in front of my tv watching "Jejak Petualang" while adding some more places I want to visit to my list.

  2. Hi (again) Jack Popo!

    Guess what? Now I'm curious about your grandma's place! Haha..

  3. You got it, Andini. I owe you an article about my grandma's place. Let me search for those old photos first.


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