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food / travel

How Mass Tourism Is Destroying Bali And Its Culture

Once an island paradise, Bali is turning into a concrete jungle, threatening its environment, culture, religion, and even language. Can Bali survive tourism, ask the island's worried inhabitants?

Stormy weather over Ulun Danu Temple in Bali... (Jo@net)
Stormy weather over Ulun Danu Temple in Bali... (Jo@net)
Bruno Philip

BALI – The "island of gods." This paradise wasn't spared its deodorant-commercial-style cliché. For ages, this pearl of the Lesser Sunda islands, an Indonesian archipelago, has embodied the archetypal land of plenty: the natural splendor of its tropical landscapes, its dreamy white beaches, the tormented beauty of its Hindu temples, the friendly and tolerant reputation of its inhabitants. All of the necessary ingredients for the Garden of Eden brought together.

But this idyllic description may soon be a thing of the past. Bali is threatened to the point that it could soon be unrecognizable: the cumulated effects of mass tourism, frenzied consumption and an ecological disaster are forcing the most clear-sighted Balinese to sound the alarm.

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Russia

When Mom Believes Putin: A Russian Family Torn Apart Over Ukraine Invasion

Sisters Rante and Satu Vodich fled Russia because they could no longer bear to live under Putin — but their mother believes state propaganda about the war. Her daughters are building a new life for themselves in Georgia.

A mother and her daughter on a barricade in Kyiv

Steffi Unsleber

TBILISI — On a gloomy afternoon in May, Rante Vodich gets the keys to her new home. A week earlier, the 27-year-old found this wooden shed in Tbilisi, with a corrugated iron roof and ramshackle bathroom. The shed next door houses an old bed covered in dust. Vodich refers to the place as a “studio” and pays $300 per month in rent. She says finding the studio is the best thing that’s happened to her since she came to Georgia. It is her hope for the future.

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Her younger sister Satu Vodich is around 400 kilometers further west, in the city of Batumi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, surrounded by Russian tourists, Ukrainian flags, skyscrapers with sea views and the run-down homes of local residents.

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