INTRO Last night you blew my mind. All of you. My friends and I were out stalking the sweaty streets of Kuta with disposable cameras and found you everywhere. At the bar. In front of the Mini Mart. On the dance floor. In the hotel pool at 3 am. We asked you to change out of your street clothes. We asked you to slip on a T-shirt from a shady-looking duffle bag. Then we asked to take your photo. You just asked, “where?” You posed on surfboards in front of concrete waves and danced on tables. You showed us your motorbike bandages and kissed your best friends. You guzzled pitchers of mushroom milkshake and held up traffic on Legian. All for our little plastic viewfinders. The results of this milestone in high-fashion photography can be found further inside the mag (“Wild For The Night”). What surprised us last night wasn't what we encountered deep in the heart of Kuta – frat boys wrestling in foam at the Bounty and exchange students spending their textbook money on double doubles at Alley Cats – it was that we had never met any of you before, yet you were all willing to get loose and strike a pose. Of all the people we approached to take part in our impromptu fashion shoot, not a single one of you suffered from camera phobia. If we had tried that stunt in most other places in the world, we would have been A. shunned; B. maced; C. arrested; or D. all of the above. Which leads us to reason No. 359 why we love this little island: the characters. Where else can you walk down the block and hear conversations in 20 different languages? Where else can you take a seat at the bar next to a celebrity chef from India and his sex therapist wife from England, sipping caipirinhas with a South American drug lord, served by a bartender who moonlights as a traditional Balinese dancer – everyone drinking in the same technicolor sunset. New York, maybe, but the waves are better here and rent is way cheaper. A toast to you, island characters. The uninhibited. The unabashed. The wild-for-the-night, nonconformist freaks who make every night out in Bali an unpredictable trip. Thanks for letting us take your photo. – Bali Belly
Bali Belly is an independent youth culture magazine based in Bali, Indonesia.