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West Until We're East
And ancient skills aren't much preparation for the diseases that modernity and waiting sow. Even halfway around the island from the surfer throngs, high tide crusts the black-sand beaches with garbage. Bali's eco-tourism jewel is a reef-restoration project we later discover is the work of a marine biologist who lives a mile from us back in Cambridge, and the turtle hatchery down the beach is run by Australians with a satellite dish. Except for a couple hallucinatorily perfect hours of snorkeling a can's throw into the water from this pile of trash tourists didn't bring here, there's hardly five minutes on Bali when it doesn't feel to me like I'm fundamentally watching Paradise being impatiently and helplessly cannibalized by its own children.
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