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Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK
Postcard from 'terror island'
Australian tourists hug each other
Many tourists in Bali are unsure whether to stay

Lying by the pool within the walled gardens of the hotel in Sanur, you could almost forget that anything terrible had happened in Kuta, just 25 minutes drive away.

Like thousands of other foreigners, this is what I had come to Bali for - to get away from it all and enjoy the sun and sea.

But the respite from the horror of Saturday's attack on a packed Kuta nightclub is short-lived.

When I return to the room and switch on the news, all I see are pictures of the devastation, victims in hospital, and tourists fleeing.

The reports, labelled "Terror in Bali", do nothing to reassure.

Tourists' dilemma

Talk of further attacks, al-Qaeda cells operating in Indonesia and security being tightened fuel a sense of unease.

People on a beach in Bali
Tourists used to go to Bali to relax

What am I to do? Cut my holiday short and leave?

This would mean the attackers had won.

It is a dilemma all tourists here are dealing with.

While thousands are leaving, others are staying put.

So too, for now at least, am I.

Life goes on

The reality is that you can still do all those things you do on holiday - spend the day on the beach, explore the many temples on the island or shop for local handicrafts.

Life goes on much as before, especially in areas away from Kuta.

Tourists walk with their bags past the scene of the blast
Many tourists have already left the island
The streets are a bit quieter and the Balinese seem rather more muted than before.

But I can still arrange to go wreck-diving in the north and to visit the volcano in the centre of the island.

The first night after the attack, I ate in the hotel's restaurant, as did many of the other guests.

I suppose they too were reluctant to venture out into the streets.

It was not because I thought something was going to happen, but just in case something did.

And that thought, that "just in case", lingers in the back of my mind and the mind of all the other tourists who have decided to stick it out.


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15 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
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