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Bali dream­ing

There are four dif­fer­ent Balis (“Gods and De­mons: Ex­pos­ing Bali’s Un­der­belly”, 19-20/9): the cheap drunken tourist Kuta Bali; the lux­u­ri­ous gated Nusa Dua Bali; the hip­pie in­land Ubud Bali; and fi­nally the nor­mal lo­cal Bali of lovely peo­ple just try­ing to get on. Of these four, the Kuta Bali is usu­ally the one ev­ery­one hates but many go there any­way be­cause it’s so cheap and, yes, lit­er­ally every­thing is avail­able. I went there many times as a young bloke but never again. The other three are well worth ex­pe­ri­enc­ing, each de­light­ful in their own way. I feel sad for the lo­cals who [have] very lit­tle tourist in­come at the mo­ment. Com­ment from Paul, Re­view on­line

I first vis­ited Bali in 1972 and fell in love with the peo­ple, their spir­i­tu­al­ity, friend­li­ness and the beauty of the is­land. Over the years it has changed, but not for the bet­ter. Un­for­tu­nately one of my last mem­o­ries of the is­land was watch­ing a gor­geous tur­tle be­ing slaugh­tered by the Ba­li­nese (I know peo­ple will say it’s part of their cul­ture) and the poor crea­ture dy­ing slowly with tears rolling down its face. My hus­band and I were sick­ened. [I have] never gone back since.

Com­ment from Joy, Re­view on­line

Pi­rate mat­ters

Hol­ly­wood has a lot to an­swer for in ro­man­ti­cis­ing the pi­rate. The de­pic­tions of blood­thirsty vil­lains swing­ing from a rope with a sword in their teeth can re­duce oth­er­wise sen­si­ble women to quiv­er­ing wrecks of adu­la­tion. Hav­ing wit­nessed sev­eral video record­ings of real pi­rate at­tacks in the Mid­dle East, I can as­sure any reader that [piracy] is not in any way a fun ex­er­cise. It in­volves threat to life and po­ten­tial sav­age ret­ri­bu­tion. Un­for­tu­nately the de­pic­tions of a slow death at the end of a rope as ref­er­enced at the end of the ar­ti­cle (“Re­view: En­emy of All Mankind, the most suc­cess­ful pi­rate of all time”, 19-20/9) never seem to fea­ture strongly in Hol­ly­wood. Com­ment from Ar­gus, Re­view on­line

What a life

I re­mem­ber watch­ing David At­ten­bor­ough as a child of seven or eight on a lit­tle black and white tele­vi­sion at my friend’s house. He is an in­cred­i­ble per­son to have con­tin­ued in the same line of work all his life. To me he is a brave, ex­cit­ing, in­spi­ra­tional hu­man be­ing. I al­ways find it worth lis­ten­ing to his point of view. In par­tic­u­lar his mes­sage of hope (as quoted in “Why ev­ery­one should see David At­ten­bor­ough: A Life on Our Planet”, 19-20/9): “He is en­cour­aged by … the re­for­esta­tion of Costa Rica, the no-fish zones in Palau that led to an in­crease in the fish­ing catch, Morocco’s shift to so­lar power, the growth of small, com­pact farms in The Nether­lands.”

Com­ment from Jean, Re­view on­line

The writer of Septem­ber’s best let­ter will win a $500 voucher for Syd­ney Sea­planes.

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