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April 9, 2004

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Staying on Bali is like taking a nibble from an oversized, tropical salad, garnished by Thousand Island dressing (in Indonesia's case, Thousands of Islands dressing). Throughout the Indonesian archipelago, around 300 ethnic groups speak that many languages, although the main communication form is Bahasa Indonesia, which is almost identical to Malay. As English speakers were glad to see that Indonesian uses the Roman alphabet so we can understand many street signs.

Bugs for sale? I can find them for free in my hotel room.

The Balinese are ethnically Malay, descended from people who migrated here from Indochina. Culturally, they share the strongest ties with India than any other Indonesia island - you could say that they put the 'Indo' in Indonesia. Other major ethnic groups of Indonesia: Acehnese, Bataks, Minangkabaus (Sumatra); Javanese, Sundanese (Java); Sasaks (Lombok); and Dani (Papua). Anthropoligists theorize that the earliest inhabitants of the Indonesian archipelago originated in India or Burma.