Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


FLAT EARTH : All washed up

THEN on to Bali. Reports on the ruin of Bali have been much exaggerated over the years. First the island was ruined by the arrival of the beau monde in the 1920s, and then it was ruined again in the 1960s with the advent of the hippies. It was totally ruined in the 1970s when hordes of Australians descended wearing "Rage till you puke" T-shirts. And totally ruined on top of that when jumbo-loads of Germans fanned out across the island in the 1980s, subjecting every object of interest to stern scrutiny.

Somehow the magic of Bali seems to have survived these serial cataclysms. But I have to agree on one point - the place where it all started, Kuta Beach, famed for its sunsets, seems beyond saving. A few swims there revealed that the majestic surf is now almost entirely composed of plastic wrappings and other garbage. I did not see a Kuta sunset, but the beams of light falling through vertical walls of heaving plastic must be an impressive sight, rather like the finale of Zabriskie Point where the consumer goods of America are blown up again and again in loving slow motion.