Why Main Pen Rai Doesn’t Wash
Why "Mai Pen Rai" Doesn't Wash
OK it's time to fess up. It's not only men who go to Asia and find the locals of the opposite sex very appealing. It happens to women as well!
Last year a long term friend of mine (female) and myself decided we would go to Bali and have a girls' holiday. Our intention was to shop, sunbake, have a few Bintangs (local beer) and generally just relax. Bali, being so close to Australia, is a popular holiday destination, and no jetlag!!
The first thing we noticed as soon as we got off the plane in Denpasar was the gorgeous guys. Every man from the customs officers to the police to the duty free shop assistants was stunning! They wear such tight pants too! They are very similar to Thais in appearance but have a more laid back approach to life. We actually came to the conclusion that Balinese guys are sexier than Thai guys. "Face" does not seem to be such a big deal in Bali. The Balinese are mostly Hindu, with perhaps a small minority of Muslims, so the reputation that Bali has (being "morally relaxed") is quite true.
We stayed in a serviced villa near Legian for the first week and mainly just shopped, ate, swam, walked and relaxed. The heat was not as oppressive as Thailand, but nevertheless still quite energy zapping. There were fans in the villa but no air-conditioning,
so going to restaurants 3 times a day wasn't only cheap but a total relief as all of them are air conditioned.
During our first week we had to walk past a small jewellery shop / money changer. We quickly found out that the guy running the place was called "Ricki" (some like to have western nick names). Ricki was always smiling and happy (and hot!) He told us he was 34, married and had 3 kids. He ran that shop from 9am to 9pm every night, saying that it was costly to educate his daughters. (I since found out that was no lie). He showed us pictures of his family that he kept proudly in his wallet. There was nothing said to us that could in any way be construed as flirting that first week. He seemed like the perfect gentleman.
We did notice a particularly beautiful young man sitting at the back of the shop in the gloom, and one day asked Ricki who it was. He replied that it was his younger brother. This guy had waist length hair tied in a pony tail and his face was absolute perfection. The smile and eyes were like a 100 watt light bulb being switched on. Younger brother (who we nicknamed "BB" due to the fact that his name was unpronounceable, and also "beautiful boy" seemed totally appropriate), was not married.
My friend who I'll call Roxy and I decided it would be fun to take them out for a drink. We hadn't visited any bars yet, so we gave the invitation. Ricki said thank you very much but we are going to "temple" tonight.
Had we done something wrong? I hoped not. Had we insulted them? Who knew? Our intentions were purely to go out and have a few drinks, nothing more.
The following day we needed to change some cash. By this time we knew Ricki gave a good exchange rate so we walked down to the corner to his shop. He seemed overjoyed to see us and his brother shuffled out shyly. We were invited to go out that night to Kuta beach and have a few drinks. We'd be going on the backs of the boys' bikes. This sounded like too much fun to refuse, so we accepted.
9pm rolled around and after spending the day discussing whether we should or should not go out with the boys, we decided that we would, partly because we were on holiday and partly because there was never any intention or want, to be "naughty". Generally speaking women don't have the same sex drive as men do apart from a few exceptions. We're in our early 30s in case you were wondering!
9pm rolled around and after a pleasant day shopping for something drop dead stunning to wear, we met Ricki and BB at the shop (which we found out was not owned by them, but an Australian). After some greetings and chat, I asked if we could go as time was getting on. Ricki then said what we thought was. "I want to go to sleep" !!!! He said something about bed in broken English and made the universal "palms together" sign of a pillow and rested his cheek on his "pillow". We immediately assumed that he was tired after a long day and wanted to go home to bed. Roxy asked BB if he also felt the same (making her palms into a pillow). BB said "yes". Rox and I looked at each other and decided that was that. "Ok," I said, "no problem; we may see you tomorrow." And with that we walked off to catch a taxi to Kuta to check out the infamous "Double Six" nightclub. I couldn't resist looking back at the boys as we walked to the cab, and they were both standing there looking decidedly confused and disappointed.
On the way to Double Six,it dawned on us that they were not tired at all, but were asking if they could sleep with us!!!!! We quickly asked the cab driver to go back so we could see if they were still there. They weren't. This was a classic case
of "lost in translation"!
We continued on to Double Six and everything we had heard about the place was true. It was crawling with people seemingly of every race, colour, sex and creed. I have yet to find another place so exiting. The hookers both male and female were extremely discreet, but if you looked carefully, you could tell by the way they dressed if they were in "the business" or not. Within seconds of paying the (very hot) door guy, we were surrounded by Balinese guys asking us to dance. It was the usual Asian charm and beauty and of course it never entered our heads that we shouldn't pay for their drinks. One thing that impressed me was the fact that the (very hot) door/security guard told us in very fluent English not to tell anyone where we were staying, and he explained that western women get robbed by telling guys which villa they are staying in, then he tells his buddy the location. The buddy quickly hotfoots it out of there to the villa which he knows is empty on account of the fact that the occupants aren't home! Apparently this doesn't happen too often, but it does happen. The security guard also told us to watch our bags for obvious reasons. This was certainly appreciated and was something I've never experienced in Thailand. In Bali one didn't have the feeling that everyone was "on the take" like in Bangkok, and that's because for the most part, they weren't. In my experience Thais rarely tell you that their countrymen may rip you off. (Losing face by association, Stick?).
We had a great time and were given a lift home by an Australian expat at around 7am (not without incident..more on that later).
The following morning I was amazed that neither Rox nor myself had hangovers. I think the reason for this is that we were drinking Southern Comfort, as opposed to beer or wine. We managed to get a cabbie to agree to take us on a day trip to see the Island.
He was a great little guy…polite and funny and extremely helpful. We stopped for lunch and invited him to have a meal with us but he refused saying it was "wrong" to take advantage of tourists. Another point for the Balinese treatment
of tourists!! It is truly an island paradise, and some of the temples are breathtaking. The only negative thing I can say about the day was that a monkey stole my $200 Bolle sunglasses (real ones; not fakes)!! The little bugger jumped onto my
shoulder and before I could grab them out of his little hands, he flung them over the edge of a 50 metre drop to the Pacific!! 2 guys immediately started to scramble down the (very steep) drop, risking their lives for the sake of a pair of genuine
Bolles!!! I yelled "Stop!!" but to no avail.
On the way home, we had to drive past Ricki's shop. He saw us and frantically waved, gesturing for us to stop, which we did as it was only minutes from our villa. Straight away he asked, "Where you go last night?" We explained that we thought he and his brother were tired and wanted to go to bed (again using the palms together gesture). They looked at each other and burst out laughing. Both of them had the endearing habit of putting their hands over their faces when they felt embarrassed. We joined in the laughter and the ice was broken in no uncertain terms!!
We invited them to dinner and a nightclub, and by the looks on their faces, you'd think they'd been told they'd won the lottery. They accepted dinner but only if we could go to an out of the way place because Ricki didn't want to be seen by anyone. (He's a married man and Bali is a small island, remember). We agreed, and had a great meal laughing and drinking Southern Comfort. It was easy to tell this was an experience they rarely, if ever, enjoyed.
Midnight rolled around, and as we'd only had 2 drinks each in as many hours, biked it to Double Six. This, too seemed to be an experience they'd never had. The security guard recognized us and gave us a lovely welcome. We had an absolute ball and chatted to many people from all over the world, but saved ourselves mostly for "our" boys.
At 6am we asked the boys if they could leave the bikes there and we'd drop them home in a cab. This was not gonna happen for 2 reasons: 1. No way in hell would they leave their bikes outside a nightclub during the day when there is no security. 2. No way were they going to be dropped off at home in a cab by two (very) drunk western women. They got on their bikes and rode home to our utter horror. They'd both been drinking vast amounts of Bintang with a dash of bourbon (I kid you not!), so were pretty drunk. They did make it home safely, which was a miracle as far as Roxy and I were concerned.
Strangely enough the subject of "sleeping" with us didn't enter the conversation. We were quite relieved but a little confused! (As it turned out, the original invitation to "sleep" with them was offered because Ricki's wife
was away in Jakarta visiting her family that night).
The following day we did some more sight seeing and were blown away by the sheer beauty and colour of Bali, and the charm of the people. There were 2 ugly incidents that day, BOTH caused by arrogant Australians treating the locals like monkeys, something I deplore. Roxy being Asian herself (an Australian born Sri Lankan) was also upset by this. It made us feel ashamed and saddened. This takes me back to the first night at Double Six where we were driven home by the "friendly" Aussie. He made a detour and stopped at his place for breakfast. We accepted the invitation because bacon and eggs sounded too good to pass up, and he seemed like a lot of fun. As soon as we entered his luxury apartment, he put porn on the DVD player, and made it quite clear that he was up for a threesome. He was pretty drunk and didn't take our refusal very well. He became verbally abusive, told us we were a pair of prick teasers and told us to fuck off (nice guy huh?). All we did at Double Six was dance, talk and drink!! Rox and I took one look at each other and bolted out the door for the nearest cab, and I can honestly say it was a relief to see a Balinese cabbie face!
The next day we woke at midday and walked down to Ricki's to change more money and buy jewellery for gifts to take home for people. Ricki could have charged us twice the amount he asked, and it ended up with us pushing 20,000 more rupiah into his hand and him refusing. We ended up buying really nice sterling silver jewellery for approximately $50 AUD. These items would have cost at least $250 AUD back home, so we just bought more from him, bless him! He also continued to give us the best exchange rate he could, as we had become firm friends by that stage.
The second week was spent in a 5 star hotel in Kuta, as the owner of the villa was returning from Australia. Rox loves humidity and I hate it, so we booked adjoining but separate suites. She didn't bother with air/con….I had mine set to "Arctic Turbo" !!
By this time our boys had become a very enjoyable and fun part of our holiday, so after getting settled in the hotel, we walked down to Legian (quite a hike) to see our boys. Ricki was standing out the front looking good enough to eat, and just as we arrived, BB pulled up on his bike looking equally delicious! I took one look at Rox and KNEW what she was thinking (you just can't take these Asian chics anywhere!!). We burst out laughing and it seems the boys were thinking the same thing, because they both beckoned us to the back of the shop where they both pulled out a Balinese/ English dictionary. We spent 2 hours having the greatest time ever laughing and trying to communicate. We finally all agreed that sex would be a great idea! Ever heard a Balinese guy ask if you have condoms in English? It went something like this:
Boys: we come back to your hotel tonight?
Boys: you have (frantic search for word) rubber?
Girls: no…can you buy them?
Boys: (Ricki) someone see me!!!
Girls: (Roxy) Ok no problem, I get.
Boys: (BB) you get!!!!??? (for some reason he took this to mean that it was her time of month!!)
(Looks of utter confusion all round)
Girls: (me, very slowly) I get condoms, Roxy not having errr… what the hell is Balinese for blood?? (They know what "blood" means!!)…thank god!!!!
(more uproarious laughter by which time western tourists are looking down their noses into the shop at Rox and I…as if we cared!)
Finally we all understand each other! We say goodbye and promise to meet them at 9pm. Ricki's wife is in Jakarta for 3 days and I'm beginning to feel like a total slut / homewrecker / cheater / adulterer. It's ok for Rox and her boy…neither of them are married!!!!
Stay tuned for our second week!
It would be interesting to hear a story from a Western woman who has PAID an Asian man…that could be somewhat interesting.