Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Sometimes you are starkly reminded of your age by current events. By the age of fourteen I and some mates were busily smoking dry pine needles in waxed straws in the furtherest point of the school yard. They tasted ghastly. By the age of twelve, I think I was allowed to cross roads on my own.

By the age of fourteen I was not on a beach in a foreign country buying mary-jane. It is just such a laughable thought to me that I could have done this. I actually doubt I would have been allowed to go on the Rosebud foreshore on my own, let alone roam a Bali beach looking for drug deals. We had to be supervised if we were swimming. If I wanted to do something that my parents did not approve of, I would have to do it furtively, and of course I did at times. The world has certainly changed.

Sometimes you just feel plain sorry for someone, as I do for the Australian nurse who was given a dodgy drink in Bali and ended up with brain and liver damage.

Bali is certainly topical at the moment. Apparently an Australian family was in receipt of an unprovoked attack in a Bali bar by the bar's security guards. What an extraordinary thing for the guards to do to their employer's customers. Very extraordinary. Quite unbelievable really.

While I haven't been to Bali, most people I know have. The above doesn't sound like the place as it has been described to me.


  1. The boy seems to have attracted a great deal of public sympathy. But just as we would expect foreigners to abide by the laws of Australia when they are here, we should do the same when we are overseas.

  2. I was given a lot of freedom growing up but that was probably due to living in a small country town and usually being told (on weekends) to 'go outside and play.' As long as we turned up in time to wash our hands for dinner, my folks were happy.

    As for trying any drugs - we took a single Benson and Hedges from a friend's mother's pack and tried to smoke them behind our incinerator in 1976. Partly successful but it was more fun to find old free-range chook eggs and smash them and run away from the stink.

    As for the 14 year old it's a combination of immaturity, stupidity and (perhaps) too much spending money?

  3. It's a shocker of a story Andrew but how stupid was he to have anything to with drugs in a country who's laws are so strict about these things. I've been to Bali twice, a very long time ago and yes it's lovely and tropical and the reason most people go is that it's so affordable, but to me it's definitely one of those places I wouldn't go back to, there are just so many other places to see that are much safer.

  4. I've never been to Bali either, don't think I ever will. Not my cup of tea. Today is the 6th anniversary of the Bali bombings btw.

    At 14 I travelled overseas with my family, for 2 months. NO WAY I would have been leaving their side for too long, let alone buying drugs!

  5. I was given free rein growing up, but I've never been a foolish person and the experiences have served me well in dealing with/understanding people.

    No one I know has been to Bali. :-) Of course, Bali is quite the exotic destination for someone in Minneapolis! The furthest away I've gotten has been the Caribbean, and there, as anywhere, is danger waiting if you know where to look.

    Off to see what happened to the Australian family in Bali...


  6. I've heard so much about Bali that I'm certain I will never go there.
    At 14 I had almost total freedom, my only rules being a) go to school, and b) be home before dark. My brother had the same rules plus an extra one; don't do anything that will bring the police to our door.
    (he ran with a bad crowd)

  7. I was brought up the same way as you. As a father of two kids i asked myself what were the parents doing? letting 14 year old minor roam free without parental supervision in a strange country. I reckon the parents have only got themselves to blame :-).

  8. AD Rad, not much sympathy from me.

    Rather like my childhood Kath. Buying drugs on a foreign beach is somewhat different to smashing a few chook eggs. You are more in touch than I am, with a daughter getting close to that age. Can you imagine her doing that?

    Hi PDP. Yes, very stupid. How could he not be aware of drugs+Bali+Corby etc. As I get older, I am losing patience with holiday places where you have to fight off touts constantly. Singapore was a pleasure to visit as there was no pestering.

    Hi Pearl. Yes, Bali is a long way from you, although some of your country folk were killed in the Bali bombings. It is quick and easy to blame the parents and how he was brought up, so I will do that. How can a fourteen year old be so worldly but not wise?

    River, if I bring you as a child forward to now, I can't imagine you buying dope on a foreign beach. Something has really changed in the world.

    Windsmoke, I thought exactly as you say. At that age I would have been mortified to be even spoken to by a cop, let alone do something overseas that would end with me being locked up by them.

  9. The real Balinese people are wonderful but the tourist places are full of Indonesians from the other islands and are usually on the hustle. Australian tourists act disgracefully, not all, and don't get much sympathy when they get into trouble. It's the same with Thailand, ugly Australians abroad. The only way to have a great holiday in Bali is to go way inland and meet the lovely people there.

  10. I have heard about the money making Javanese Jah Teh. But people have been saying go inland for many years now. Isn't that spoilt too now? In Thailand I observed the ugly German tourist. I guess every country has its share who travel and become obnoxious.

  11. Pilchard & I visited Bali for the first and only time 20 years ago. We were asked if we wanted to 'fly to the moon' and knocked that experience back. We also knocked back 'Yobbo night' at Kuta beach, having experienced enough drunken Aussies at home ...

  12. Hmmm Red, 'fly to the moon' sounds a bit interesting. Yobbo night does not.