Backpack to Buggy

Travel with the kids, not for the kids.

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Every new parent should go to Bali

September 16th, 2008 · No Comments · Destinations, Experience

Not only is it beautiful, relaxing, and welcoming, Bali must be the most family-friendly place in the world. It’s not “family friendly” in the traditional sense, with changing stations in all rest rooms or separate lanes for strollers. The Balinese love children. They go beyond just accommodating them; they embrace children (literally).

Mirielle was given a front row view of ceremony at Pura Ulun Danu

Mirielle was given a front row view of the ceremony at Pura Ulun Danu, thanks to a participant.

The Balinese Hindu religion believes a baby is born from heaven. Until a child loses her first tooth, she is considered a representative of god. The child is so revered, his feet do not touch the ground for the first three months. (Not to discount the tradition and ceremony, but I am not sure Mirielle’s did either as I was lax on tummy time.)

When you show up on Bali with young children in tow, the Balinese go out of their way to help your child (which in turn helps the parent.) For us, it started as we stepped off the airplane and hit the hot, humid, and overcrowded immigration hall. We brought the car seat on board for Mirielle, so we were the last ones to deplane. I carried Mirielle on my back in the Ergo, and Jack strapped our carry-on bags to the car seat (we use the GoGo Kids Travelmate.) During the brief pause to find our line, an official pointed at us and waved us over. The idea of an extensive search or questioning after over 17 hours of flying with an 16 mo and two very tired parents would have scared me if I was not so disoriented. With a stern look, the immigration official asked for our passports and had us follow him out of the hall.

On the other side of the immigration clearance desks, the official directed us to wait along a wall. A woman who looked to be in her late 70s and in a wheelchair, also waited. At this point, it dawned on me that we were being expedited, not questioned. After about three minutes, the official came back and asked for money. No, it was not a bribe. I previously tucked the visa-on-arrival fees in my passport cover and handed over the cash. He tucked US$25 in each passport and headed to the immigration clearance desks. Five minutes later he returned with our passports. He carefully pointed out the Indonesian 30 day visas and the receipt that matched the amount of money we handed over.

As we offered our thanks, I chided Mirielle to say something even remotely close to thank you. A huge smile crept across the official’s face. It was the first we had seen from him. He smiled at Mirielle, waved, made faces, and then gently, though hesitantly, touched her cheek and held her hand. I nodded to let him know that this was fine with me (clearly other visitors had not been comfortable with this very typical Balinese behavior.)

Believe me when I say, this was just the beginning of our family-friendly trip to Bali. Things only got better.

This kicks off my Bali Travelogue. Entries will be posted over the next few weeks. If there is something you are curious about or would like included, please send me an email or leave a request in the comments.

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