The once beautiful Bale’s and other buildings have long since fell into a state of disrepair. It was as if the villagers had ‘locked-on’ to the ring of the till from the tourist dollar. This was more than evident when I had a short but sharp conversation with one of the souvenir sellers:
Tourist: I was here 18 years ago and I am surprised at the change in the village.
Seller: (Abrupt tone) What’s wrong with the village?. Now I have a motorbike. We have TV and electricity and... a phone!
It was my point precisely! Too many cultures in this world are decimated by the tourist dollar. Not only that, the intrusion of the modern world has an overall affect upon the social, religious and political aspects of that society. So much so that it literally forces the entire socio-cultural structure to undergo a metamorphosis in order for adaptation. Having said that, tourism is good for the state of the economy in any country. However, when it has a serious affect on the core culture of that country, then it becomes disadvantageous.
Much as I'd love to visit other countries and have them be all picturesque and unique, I can't begrudge a Balinese his motorbike, TV, electricity and phone. I wouldn't give up my conveniences to live in the style of my grandmother, nor would I appreciate pressure to maintain the religion of my ancestors. A tourist like this one would have to stop being a tourist (being one of those intrusions), go back to the country of his own ancestors, give up his own conveniences etc. for me to take those sentiments seriously.