The snorkeling on Menjamban Island was thrilling, an abundance of fish of all colors and sizes, glimpses of octapi, warm clear water. Took a boat over with our guide Kaduk. Everyone has the same four names depending on birth order; #5 starts over at Wyan. Teachers refer to last names or nick names. I asked kaduk to show us his home. I have photos, but it’s a cement block with no windows, just doors. They sleep on foam mats on the floor, Kaduk, his wife and 2 little kids in one room, his parents in another, and his sister in another. His 100 year old grandmother stays on a cot in her own dwelling next to theirs. He is the sole support, guiding snorkelers and divers. A sweetheart, his parents could only send him to school to 6th grade. We’re planning a Bali photo fundraiser for his family. He was very good with his kids, patient and loving. I gave him a book in English and money for a dictionary to get him started because knowing English is the ticket to earning more by working with tourists.
Stopped at a middle school, taped a 14-year-old talking about the importance of the environment, which was gratifing after the ignorance of the primary school students I talked with.
Went snorkeling on Lembongan Island on the other side, about 7,000 people. I asked if everyone knew each other–if you’re friendly. Asked about the barjons, the community association. They’re important in villages. A man told me if you don’t participate, no one will come to your events–birthdays, funerals etc. People harvest and dry seeweed so you see beds of them on the beach in various states of drying.
Costs are low, we got a massage for about $11, great fish dinners for about $5. Overall impression is the Balinese are relaxed, happy, friendly, have social support.