Kuta is a fantasy, it is a dream. It’s a slew of hedonistic desires thrown together without any thought to style or charm. Taken individually, the colours of Kuta are exotic and exciting, but without the hand of an artist the canvas just sags; weighted down by a muddy mass of paint.
To best understand this find a young man, a teenager, and ask him… tell me of your utopia, a place to escape to, a place to satisfy all your worldly desires?
He would look to the middle distance, and with a mischievous grin explain a place where you could ride a motorbike with a beer in your hand, where the nightclubs were open all night long and where foreign and anonymous girls are flown in day after day, from all over the world.
A place where the sun shone all year round and where perfect waves broke on knife-edge reefs. A place where the police would turn a blind eye to your debauchery with a moneyed handshake and a wink.
Of course it would be cheap, you wouldn’t need the pretentious trappings of stuffy old rich people. A cramped and steam hotel with little more than a bed and a bathroom would suffice.
A swimming pool would be nice, massages every afternoon and somewhere to get a tattoo; the artist would not need to be particularly skilled, just fast and cheap, and not perturbed by your drunkenness.
There would be no need for clean water, as you would drink beer instead. Cold and sweet it would flow and flow and flow. And so enamored by it you would become, that you would wear a singlet bearing the brand’s logo.
The boy would grow giddy with the excitement of creating this magical place in his mind – of the freedom and of the indulgence, of the absence of responsibility.
But what about the local community? You might ask… What about the rubbish and the noise and the waste from so many people?
Wouldn’t such indulgence eventually dilute the exotic culture that lured you there in the first place?
What about the traffic? What effect would such corruption have? How is any of that sustainable?
His eyes would narrow in confusion. Frustration would form lines on his forehead. You could see his annoyance at such trivial questioning – Surely the point of a dream is that we are freed from such worldly concerns! He would protest, with surprising eloquence.
Surely a utopia is supposed to free us from responsibility!
But isn’t a dream without balance doomed to become a nightmare?