Bali: a spendaholic's paradise / by Jessica Lee

Bali is a dangerous place for a shopaholic/spendaholic like me.

There are stands and stands of clothing and souvenirs- and when you're tired of that, there is a nice mall.

Then there are miles of restaurants and places to get drinks. Everything is cheap $3-5 meals, but it adds up. Pretty soon, you thought you had a couple hundred of dollars, but that was merely some vague assumption.

I spent the last day with only $15 in my pocket. And about $4 of that went into a taxi.

Being a tourist here is like playing a game. The locals will try to squeeze every last dollar out of you, and you fight to hold on to your cash. It is not like the pickpocketing I experienced near Solo.

Here for instance if I am trying to buy a sarong, I will ask the price of it, which they will name as $12. Then I will bargain and they will bargain. Eventually we will settle for something like $4. It's easy to be taken for a fool if you don't shop around. The locals are very aggressive but I've learned to drive a hard bargain as well. I've come a far way from paying $30 taxis to and from airports. Or $25 for 42 km.

They don't teach practical things like how to negotiate or how to be street smart in school. I learn something new every day.

This is why I travel.