IS BALI SAFE? To Bali or not to Bali

By BIANCA CLARE

I ONCE read the quote 'ships are safe in the harbour, but that's not what they're meant for' and it's stuck in my head ever since.

I love to travel, meeting new people, experiencing unusual customs and having the chance to understand another culture, it all makes you a better person. Two weeks ago, I arrived back in Australia after spending three weeks in Bali. I've been to the tropical island more times than I can I count on one hand. I can't quite pinpoint what it is that makes my skin itch for wanting to return ? maybe it's a combination of the delicious food, soothing sunshine and beautiful souls I see in the people I meet.

There have been times when I have experienced corruption or felt slightly unnerved ? but never scared for my life ? 10 women once told me they'd cut off my hair if I didn't pay twice the agreed price for plaiting my hair.

Since I returned two weeks ago, many people have questioned me on the 'apparent safety' of the 'once magical paradise'.

I've had people question my sanity and ask such questions as: 'Is it safe? Were you scared? Did you have trouble with Customs?' and the big one, 'Will you go back?'

And my answer to the last question is this. Yes, I will return. I can't possibly imagine cancelling a trip because of the recent events concerning Schapelle Corby and the 'Bali Nine'.

I believe that Bali is safe, as safe as anywhere in the world could possibly be when terrorist acts, tsunamis and drive-by shootings headline the national news.

Drug smuggling is not isolated to Bali, it occurs worldwide ? and Indonesia is only one of 90 countries that imposes the death penalty.

Bali is a beautiful place, with spectacular sights and an amazing culture that should be experienced at least once in a lifetime.

By ANN-MARIE MAY

TOMORROW I leave for a month-long trip to Europe and despite a whole lot of nerves creeping in amongst the excitement, I can't help but think 'well at least I'm not going to Bali'.

As a close watcher of the Schapelle Corby case I have continued to believe in her innocence.

But I'm not completely convinced this is going to help her get home any quicker.

And that's what frightens me.

Maybe it is just hysteria, but for whatever reason, the media attention surrounding Corby's case has got people re-thinking where they will go on their next holiday ? and I don't blame them.

If pub talk counts for anything it appears most people are leaning towards Corby being innocent or that there is enough doubt to let her go.

And that is what scares people.

If it was a clear-cut case of her being guilty, or with the circumstance surrounding the 'Bali nine' then I don't believe people would be as concerned.

However the seed has now been planted of 'what if it happened to me?'.

It may not be rational, and I'm sure things like this happen in other countries, but at the moment the attention is on Bali, not other countries.

I know from planning my own trip that the most stressful thing has been the financial side.

Most people are like me and work hard to save enough to go on that 'trip of a lifetime' so who can blame them for wanting to go somewhere they feel safe.

Maybe it is just hysteria, but that won't change the paranoia and fear creeping in just enough to spoil what should be a great holiday.

I hope people will keep going to Bali, but I can also understand their hesitance.



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