Most disturbing to us is the one thing that none of the guide books or any of the people we know who’ve been here have mentioned- the beaches here are filthy. They’re littered for miles in either direction with plastic candy wrappers, plastic bags, plastic flip flops, plastic bottles. If you peer close, even the sand grains are interspersed with tiny plastic grains (which makes me think of that disturbing chapter I read in "Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble" while on the beach in Vietnam last year). No one seems to care. Boys play beach soccer games in the surf, trampling trash with every dash across the sand. The mostly Australian tourists spread blankets and sit on beach chairs amidst the debris. It’s pretty disgusting, though I guess people keep coming because it’s so cheap here. And maybe most people stick to the manicured grounds and sterilized pools of the resorts? The only place the beach was moderately clean (no doubt due to the constant vigilance of an army of cheap labor) was directly in front of the Oberai resort in Seminyak. I guess that’s what $400+/ night will get you in a land where the typical villa room in a pretty tropical garden with a pool is about $35/night.
So we’re keeping open minds and planning to look for more unspoiled corners of this island, and in the meantime certainly enjoying the humid hot weather.