You might remember how annoying we found the porters on Boracay who will essentially just take your bags, load them into your vehicle, extend their hand, and demand “Tips, tips!” On arrival to Bali, we had an even more annoying experience of that kind.
We greeted our driver, made our way to his car, and were immediately joined by no less than three guys, who would not ask, but just take our suitcases and roll them for us. It’s more effort to argue than to just let them do their thing, so whatever. After a short walk, no more than 3 minutes, all smooth and level, we arrived at the car park. Inevitably, the guys would drop the polite small talk and ask for money (they didn’t even bother waiting for the car to do some actual lifting). We just withdrew money from the machine, and the smallest note we had was IDR100000, which really would be too much by Western standards (like I said, I could have perfectly managed all suitcases just by myself), but with a feeling of generosity I handed it over anyways. Instead of a thank you and gratitude, they indeed asked for more! They said it’s the three of them and they need to feed their families, but I just said, so do I (seriously, how many people have their hourly rate, it would be some IDR600000). To give you a context, our driver would get IDR200000 for driving us half an hour (Uber is even cheaper), for IDR20000-40000 you get a main course, and for IDR50000-100000 you get an hour’s massage. So, I really did not feel like their children went starving that night. Do they think tourists who just arrived cannot handle all those zeros or don’t understand the price level? Read More »
One disadvantage of being a white person here is becoming really clear. You are put into a white person box. White person has money and is source of tips from different kinds of weird services. Tricycle ride costs you triple because you have money. And you want to buy all sorts of things-from light-sticks to coral shells and Boracay magnets. Being put into this box is really sad since we wanted to make friends with local people and experience “real”, local life. We don’t mind contributing to the economy and helping people out but it would be nice if interaction would go beyond the point of selling us something. Also, I am afraid while English is an official language and many people possess a basic ability to communicate in it, the level is not good enough to have an actual conversation.
At the same time this all made me realise how vain some of our “Western” lifestyle is. People just lie on the beach, buy some useless crap, spend days having massage and drinking beer. Is it surprising that we are treated a bit like money bags since we clearly have all this money to “waste”? You cannot blame local people for making their ends meet the best way they can. I did some google research and discovered that average Philippine salary is about PHP11700 per month. While you can probably make your ends meet here things like travelling are not in question not to mention just hanging around, buying useless crap. Read More »
Our third day in Boracay, our home for the next month. This is the first morning I actually feel clear in my head and like I have enough energy to stay awake. As you know, we have been travelling intensively for the last two months, not staying more than 2-3 nights in one place. What a relief to unpack both of our suitcases and being able to have couple of days of not doing anything.
Our little studio is directly above Diniwid beach. To be more precise, 150 steps up or down. We get both the workout and seclusion of being isolated from the active life on the beach. I am getting more and more convinced that we got a bargain deal with our accommodation through airbnb. In February the whole island is 92% booked and the cheapest hotel rooms are about GBP50 per night. We only pay about GBP20 per night and have all we need here – comfy bed, aircon and wifi. Not to mention lovely views from up the hill.
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