Kuta never sleeps. There are lots of night clubs and cafes that stay open all night. In the restaurants we often find European men with beautiful Balinese women. These guys remind us of the sad men we see near closing time at the end of the bar, back at the Long Branch Saloon. They don't have much conversation with the women and it doesn't seem like they're having much fun. But the poor guys will probably have a few nights to remember when they get home. This is our first glimpse of what must come under the heading of sex tourism. Not that we would be the first to throw stones; as Irina says, each to his own. At this time we're pretty naïve about what it is that's going on, but something is happening. We're not sure if these are "working girls" or what. We are told they are around; like on the street outside the Bounty nightclub (500,000Rp/night) or the Hardrock Café (1,000,000Rp/night), but we've never noticed them, probably because we simply weren't looking for them
. We never see any blatant street walkers with short skirt and high heals. No, these couples are euro men with their Balinese "girl friends". Arvid takes every discrete opportunity to research (pry) into these relationships. These are not all one night stands. Frequently, they've been going on for years. The guys come to Bali 2 or 3 times a year to see the same woman. Some of these guys are married to women back home in Europe, America or Australia. The man rents a hotel room for 2-3 weeks to be together with this woman. If it gets serious he may go with her to visit her parents. Several of these couples are our neighbors at the hotel. Somewhat of an exception is the old guy in the next room. He's a hyper-actively thin, short, gregarious, loud talking, bar fighting (when he was in the Queen's navy) type of guy that you can't hate but can't stand for long, but he keeps coming on in that loud affable way. He hits the night clubs until 4AM, and every morning there's a different woman coming out of his room. She will hang around until his regular girl friend shows up on her motorbike. He's been seeing this young thing for the last three years. She spends the afternoons with him at the pool so we've gotten to know her, in the Platonic sense. She's very cute, feisty, self confident, independent and doesn't let him dominate her, although he's about 40 years her senior. She refuses to dress up for him, so he says he can't take her anywhere nice. She dresses with a studied careless tight fitting blue jeans sandals style with a subtle light streak in her dark hair, which gives the impression, along with her facial features, that she might have some hidden euro blood in her linage. Irina says he's a jerk and we hope for her, but she seems to have an emotional attachment to him. It's obviously not just the money he's contributing. Sometimes she brings various girl friends with her, but they don't have her panache. He's going through his Viagra as fast as breath mints.
Feb. 10, 2007