A tale of inappropriate (un)touching on the road.
It was a cultural faux pas of epic proportions!
The old women of the village looked like they wanted to throw us into the nearby volcano. The young women giggled behind their hands. It was clear we’d got it completely, ridiculously wrong!
Where are we? For a start it’s 1979 when you could still get off the beaten path in Bali. Around here, high in the mountains, they consider themselves the ‘true’ Balinese, and follow old customs. No Hindu cremation for the dead, instead, just across the lake, earthly remains are left to ‘weather’ above ground.
Right now, with the eyes of the village on us, I know how that feels.
Mount Batur smokes silently. Threateningly. It’s the reason we’re here, standing naked in our embarrassment, the natural hot springs are therapeutic, we’re promised.
Okay, how does this work? My friend and I stop and watch for a while.
In one area women dip clothes into hot soapy water, then rinse them in the cold clear lake – an ancient twin tub washer.
Alongside, men and women wash themselves, graduating from the cold lake to ever-hotter pools of steaming, mineral-laden water… and back again.
The women enter the water draped in a sarong. The men are, as men are everywhere, arrogant in their nakedness beneath the water. So it’s ‘kit off’ for men? In we go!
Mount Batur rumbles.
The problem was that we didn’t do enough touching. We should have cupped our ‘bits’ in our hands and kept them out of view while we lowered ourselves into the water.
Instead we’re a couple of big swinging inappropriate white guys!
Can you share a story of inappropriate touching on the road? Don’t hold back now...
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