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Tea Leaves

Trashing paradise: The perils of post-pandemic tourism

After enforced lull, travel returns to Indonesia's Bali with a vengeance

Traffic jams in Canggu have become relentless since tourists returned to Bali earlier this year. (All photos by Dave Smith)

It was a privilege to be in Bali during the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020. As many of the world's liberal democracies turned into locked-down quasi-police states, this Indonesian province took a softer approach. Beaches and most food and beverage venues were closed for the first three months of the emergency, but there was never a hard lockdown and personal liberties were never significantly curtailed.

"Are you stuck in Bali?" people back home in Australia would often ask me. "It's not me who's stuck," I would reply. "It's you."

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