“No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive.”
Nusa Dua is a “gated” resort area in South Bali where well-heeled holidaymakers are pretty much guaranteed that they don’t have to rub shoulders with the local riff-raff – other than those employed at their luxurious 5 star hotels of course.
A pretty bizarre notion I’m sure you’ll agree. After all, isn’t travel supposed to be about opening your mind to other ideas and cultures rather than seeking isolation and detachment from the world around you?
And this, remember, in possibly the most cultured island in the world! Why would anyone want to be isolated here?
So how did this ever happen?
Well, it all goes back (inevitably) to the rent seeking ways of former president Suharto who connived with international hotel operators to transform this once pretty-much deserted and tranquil part of Bali into the upmarket holiday haven it is today.
The Balinese protests fell on deaf ears at the time and gargantuan hotels were built which - in some cases - were mighty close to violating the Balinese customary law that no buildings should be higher than a palm tree.
Worse still, access to the Nusa Dua beaches was also restricted by the huge hotel compounds – a matter of vital importance to the Balinese who need access to the sea since that is where the ashes from cremation ceremonies (called Ngaben) are finally released.
But such matters do not trouble the tourists who have far more pressing concerns like working on their tans. And where better to do this than on the “private beach” in front of the hotel?
Life’s a beach.
NB: Not so far away from Nusa Dua, a huge resort (called Pecatu Indah Resort) is now being built on 400 hectares of land.
Its main feature is a waterpark with its own supply of desalinated seawater:
Made Putrawan, president director of Bali Pecatu Graha, the developer in charge of the resort, said that the desalination plant for the newly opened waterpark would also serve other facilities in the resort area.
He said these included the New Kuta Condotel, a 278-room hotel, as well as the New Kuta Golf Course, site of the 2009 Indonesian Open, and the Kelapa nightclub.
None other than Tommy Suharto.