Who’s The Tourist?

I am just back from my Singapore/Bali holiday, a trip I’ll be blogging about in further detail soon. For now, I just want to tell you about one particular moment.

We were sitting on the beach in Bali, on a day that was a national holiday for the Balinese – a Hindu celebration involving giving thanks to the gods, feasting, celebration and spending time with family (much like Christmas). Because of this, the beach was pretty quiet that day. We were settled on our sun loungers with books to while away a pleasant morning in the sun when a Balinese family came over, and though they didn’t speak English, they seemed to be indicating they wanted to take pictures.

There were about half a dozen people in this group, spanning three generations. When we said we didn’t mind, they took turns to pose with us, on our sun loungers, while other family members took the pictures. After half a dozen or so shots, they thanked us and left.

Clearly they found us a peculiarity, but it got me wondering what it was that they found photo-worthy. Is it that the locals find it quite amusing that these pale-skinned foreigners come thousands of miles to sit on their beaches wearing next to no clothes until their white skin is roasted red by the sun?

Most Balinese don’t travel abroad – it’s too expensive. Perhaps this family just came to the beach on their day off to gawk at the foreigners – the same way that we Westerners travel to far-flung places to gawk at what we consider to be exotic foreigners. In any case, it made me wonder just who the tourists on the beach that day were.

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1 comment so far

  1. Nerine Dorman on

    That’s a fantastic visual you just shared, thank you. What blows my mind is the stuff people take photos of. Just my observation but in general the Asian visitors tend to be more camera-happy when it comes to taking really arb shots of signs or roads I take for granted in my home town.


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