Bitesize Episode 51 - British opinion on Bali. Charlie Chatter

Charlie Baxter

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What's this episode about?

In this bitesize episode Charlie updates us on his personal life. As he makes his way across the globe back to the UK he makes a tactical pitstop and discovers some culturally differences within the first moments of landing. Listen in to find out where he is going.
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Transcript of Bitesize Ep 051 - Transcript

Hello, hello, hello! This episode is another Charlie Chatter episode updating you about my life and the current happenings as I record this podcast. The latest bitesize episode I published was about why I, a a Brit abroad decided to leave Sydney, Australia, where I had been living since 2019 till late 2022, and return to my motherland, which is the United Kingdom. During this process of moving, many Aussies actually felt compelled to warn me of the extortionate heating bills I'll be facing, considering I was to be landing the day before Christmas Eve, or on Christmas Eve Eve, and that the country's economy is in turmoil thanks to the government's incompetence, which I mean always went down like a lead balloon with me, as I don't really understand why people have the desire to say that to someone who is clearly set on moving. I mean, if I said 'I'm considering moving to the UK but not sure, what do you think about it?' then, sure, feel free to warn me. But what are they expecting me to say when I'm in the middle of a garage sale, selling my belongings to them for $5 a T-shirt? I mean, do they want me to turn around and say 'Oh, yeah, you're right. Can I actually buy my stuff back off you, please? Because I'll be needing that now'? But thankfully, I wasn't swayed so easily, and we managed to sell most of our stuff in the garage sale, and then we boxed up the stuff that we wanted and shipped it in the nick of time. And we got on that plane. But not on a plane to London? No, a plane to Indonesia. More specifically, the island called Bali. I did mention this in the previous Bitesize episode, but to overlap,the reason for this trip was twofold. One, because we had never been to Bali and thought we might not get the chance again as it is so much closer to Australia than the UK. And for what it's worth, Aussies go on about Bali a lot. It's got a huge amount of tourism from Australia, I guess because of its proximity to the country. And also the currency exchange is good. The Aussie dollar is very strong against the Indonesian rupiah and the climate is also hot and humid and I guess because of the last two I mentioned, and that it has good wifi, Bali in particular has become a bit of a haven for quote unquote Influencers, or vloggers, Tik tokkers and hey, even perhaps podcasters. So yes, we wanted to see what all the fuss was about. And furthermore, flights from Sydney to London at Christmas time are astronomically high because of all the Brits wanting to please their family members that don't get to see them all year. But a flight from Bali to London was a lot cheaper. So now that I have gone over the top with my justifications for going, please allow me to land in Denpasar airport and catch up with you on the other side.

Flight 381 Request permission for landing.

Oh, all right. So it's the morning of our first day in Bali, and bearing in mind I'm coming from the beginning of the summer in Australia. I was not expecting such a shock to the system regarding the change in climate. Oh, good golly. I feel like even my organs are sweating inside my slippery, slimy body right now, and it's not even 10 a.m.. It's not even the peak of the heat. So yeah, what should I say? Well, we landed quite late at night last night, and due to that, we felt the need to just find a quick pit stop nearby the airport that had 24 seven reception. Nothing fancy. Just get our heads down for the night and then head on to the first location we thought would be worth staying at for a third of our trip. So I'm. I'm in a three star hotel right now in Kuta, which is a stone's throw away from the international airport in Denpasar. And this hotel very kindly had hotel transfer. So feeling rather impressed by that, we opted in and were ready to be treated like celebrities upon going through the Arrivals gate, you know, with a sign being held up by a chauffeur with a nice hat on with our surname held proudly or, well, my surname, because I booked it. Happy for Stacey's surname to be on it. I mean, she's only got eight months left to use it before she loses it. So, so yes, she should have taken the chance. I'm being deliberately controversial, there. Just looking for a reaction from you. But admittedly, after discussing things openly, we have decided that Stacey will be taking my surname. I think. I think we locked it in. But yeah, that's a needless conversation for another episode. And so we came out wondering where this driver might be stood. And oh my gosh, I've never seen so many people at an arrivals gate and every single one of them was holding a sign up with a surname. There were so many that you had to like push your luggage at a snail's pace whilst frantically scanning seven, maybe eight rows of signs every metre you progressed down the long Arrivals corridor. And then we got to the end and the name Baxter was nowhere to be seen. So yeah. We were a little bit unsure about how we were going to get to the hotel. Finally, after communicating with the hotel, he appears out of the crowd, puffing a cigarette with a big, genuine smile on his face, or from what I could see, a genuine smile. And then he performed the first. I think it's pronounced sembah. It's s e m b a h, according to Wikipedia. And that was the first of many that I was going to see in Bali. So this is a greeting they have whereby you clasp two hands together in front of the chest while slightly bowing. It reminded me of the namaste, you know, from India that Westerners like to use at the end of a yoga session to pretend that we understand Indian culture. And then Wikipedia also reminded me that Thai people do a similar gesture, as I assume many cultures do, where Buddhism or Hinduism is big. I'm going to guess that it's probably wrong because I'm thinking of some other countries right now that probably don't follow those religions, but do still do that gesture. Anyway. You get what I mean. He greeted me with that gesture. So yes, we were walloped in the face with a load of interesting cultural differences all at once. Smoking is incredibly popular in Bali. There is an abundance of happiness and and respect and kindness is a natural part of their being, which was shown to me within the first moments of meeting a Balinese person. So yes. He welcomed us and then insisted on taking way too much of our luggage. And and then here's another interesting thing for me and maybe you. He then takes a selfie style video with us and then sends it via WhatsApp to the reception at the hotel to inform them that he had found us. Efficient. Sure. But again, this was different for me, and I guess it might be something to do with the influx of influencers over the years and how phones and cameras are so common that it's the done thing here. Whereas if I think about other countries, and I'm thinking about what would happen if this was done for example in London, people might get a bit uptight and and start complaining about their privacy, and having not been asked or even provided with a disclaimer to sign before a phone camera was upon them. So another subtlety for me to enjoy. And then he took us to his car, which honestly, it made me stop in my tracks because it was so battered, so battered, it looked like a scrap handling crane was about to come down and pick it up and put it in the crusher. It... I was surprised that the doors were able to open. But we went with it. We got in and on we fled to the motorway, which led me to very quickly check my seatbelt and grab for the handles for support. The way of driving in Bali is to a Westerner utterly bonkers. But it reminded me of the way in which Colombians drive in this organised chaos. You know, they dodge and weave and honk and all the while smile and wave at each other. It really was a shock to the system for me as lockdown has prevented me from travelling to places of interest for me. So yes, I've had about three years of very controlled, organised and often bloody slow driving culture in Australia and the UK. So yes, just within the first 30 minutes of arriving in Bali, I felt alive. Sweaty and sticky and smelly, but I was alive, I'll tell you. So now, after arriving at the hotel and waking to a boiling day, we are going to try and check in early at our first official port of call, which is between Changyu and Seminyak, which I have heard is a bit of a tourist hub. But with that comes some lovely looking accommodation, restaurants and co-working spaces, which is partly why we are here. So we'll be checking that out. And then we'll be going on to some more culturally significant parts of the island. We'll be going to Uluatu and Ubud. If you haven't been to Bali, you could put that into Google Maps if you want, but don't worry, I'll talk about them and what they're like, and hopefully tell you some interesting differences that I find as a Brit abroad. So yes, I will leave it there for now. I will be back to tell you about my travels through Bali shortly. Until then, though, I will leave this one there for now as it is a bitesize episode. I wanted to just give you a short bit of listening practice with the learning resources for premium or academy members. And if you haven't got the free worksheets yet, then go grab the free worksheet for this episode, which will help you understand some of the language that came up today. I hope you didn't mind a bit more of Charlie chatter this week to break up the history heavy episodes around the great English country houses. And sending you much love to wherever you are whilst listening to this. I hope you've had a nice festive week, depending on whether you listen to this in real time. And I probably should say Happy New Year because that will happen before I get to edit all this. So yes. Happy New Year. Welcome to 2023. Let's make it a good one, shall we? But yes, my name is Charlie Baxter and see you next time on the British English podcast.

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Podcast host: Charlie:
This will be quite a bit harder for you to understand, as there are a number of accents in the conversation, some poorly delivered at times, as you will notice.

Podcast host: Charlie:
But the aim is to give you a variety of dialects in one conversation and some dialogue to give you native expressions in context. So enter, if you will, to Charlie's pub and his imaginary world.

Character: Mike:
Alright geezer, how's it going?

Character: Chris:
Yes, I'm well thanks. How about you? Have you had a good day?

Character: Mike:
Can't say good mate. No my old man he's been giving me a right old earful for what happened on site last week.

Character: Chris:
Oh that's a pity. Are you back on your dad's building project again?

Character: Mike:
Sad to say mate, but yeah, I am. Couldn't resist this one though. Cash in hand, you know.

Character: Chris:
Oh fair play, hard to resist those I imagine. Oh, here she is.

Character: Emily:
Oh, hi.

Character: Chris:
I was wondering if you're ever going to join us tonight.

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