Although my last blog was singing the praises of Bali and gushing over how great it is to be back, I’m currently sitting here with a pain, quite literally in my chest, due to breathing in car, bike and tour bus fumes for 20 minutes in a journey that last year would have taken 3 minutes on quiet roads. I literally cannot believe how bad things have become here in Ubud in the space of… what is it… ten months?
There are now so many buses squeezing along the streets that no one can even move. It’s depressing. Also, I have had to leave two of what were once my favourite cafes this week because of smokers puffing away their lives and blowing their repugnant fumes all over my food and drinks. I was about to leave one anyway (Tutmac) due to said traffic being way too noisy and smelly to concentrate on my work.
I really hate what’s happened here. Greedy tour operators have slowly but surely ruined this town. Groups of noisy Aussies in Bintang t-shirts now populate certain bars and cafes, whereas they used to stay in Kuta. The chain jewellery store Accessorize now gleams on Monkey Forest Road. I counted five new pizza restaurants yesterday… all of them were empty. A new one-way system directing traffic off the main road (so more tour buses can squeeze in) makes a journey through town take twice as long, and infinitely more dangerous due to locals on motorbikes ignoring the rules and zooming down streets the wrong way.
There are more mosquitoes too. Is this because there’s more filth?
I hate to say this but I don’t think I’ll be staying in Ubud very long this time. It’s just too stressful. It’s even more stressful knowing how UN-stressful it used to be, and watching it all fall apart. I knew this had to happen of course. We only have to look at Thailand to see how much worse it’s going to get, too. I hate to sound so negative but I really just had to say something, because it’s really very upsetting when a place you’ve come to love is being ripped apart and ruined before your eyes.
Maybe Amed is the new Ubud? That was definitely more developed than last year when I went back last week… but still relatively quiet with room and fresh air to breathe.
Off to the Gilis now. Let’s see what’s happened there since Balilicious – a book about how BLISSFUL Bali was – got published…