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Traveling While Black

Rice Terrace 01.09.19

Traveling while black had me in an interesting encounter during my trip to Bali.This time was a scene out of a movie, mean girls actually. There are a few classic mean girls scenes we can chose from, and even thought this millennial cult classic isn’t one of my favorite movies but I have watched it a few times. This is when Lindsey Lohan was still relatable, not sure whats going on with her now but that not the point of this entry.

Its Bali in January one of the slower times of the year to visit this little paradise also one of the cooler times to visit. Even thought this was considered the cooler wet season, the sun is still blazing hot and the humidity is in full force. The minute I walked out of my hotel room I would be completely drenched in sweat and rocking a mean sweat mustache. The sun has been roasting my skin the whole trip, and I am a 70 SPF kinda girl - And before anyone ask, yes black people sunburn and yes we tan, just not intentionally. But I do enjoy my dose of vitamin-D and a little sun kissed glow.

So as I was glowing through the Tegallalang rice fields in awww of the structural beauty of the fields and trying to stay cool in the limited shaded parts of the field.

A Chinese man standing at the top of the rice terrance was attempting to get my attention I can see his  hands flying around in the air from the corner of my eye. I shrugged and dismissed him, He’s probably just waving off a mosquito or something. What could this man possibly want to get my attention for? 

The heat has now take the appeal of the terrace away. I started to make my way back to the top to exit the rice terrace. I looked up to the biggest grin stretching across the random Chinese mans face who was trying to get my attention earlier. I could feel him watching me as I made my way to the exit.

This isn’t an abnormal reaction when encounter people of asian decent. Their interest in black people is usually written all over their face. They are always so intritiged or think your some celebrity they seen on tv.

 As I loop behind him to leave he aggressively turns around as if this was his one and only chance to meet  with me and he just had to do it, right then and there.

Sharply he says “jambo” And waved with excitement.

I couldn’t help but glare at him in confusion which then invited him to repeat the phrase “jambo……. West African, yes”? ( jambo a swahili turn for hello)


“ ummmm no, I’m from California “ I said as I made my way past him.


He just starred at me in confusion and then proceeded to yell… “ beautiful dark skin” and topped it off with a thumbs up as I walked away.

I understand the uniqueness of my complexion and skin can be a novelty to foreigner or other cultures in general. Black people coming in so many shade we are not all the same , so I completely understand the novelty which makes us, us.  You look at other ethnicity especially of asian decent and when you gather a group of asian in a photo , everyone looks similar when it comes to skin tone. You gather a group of black people for a photo and you get a spectrum of  light to dark, yellow tones, red tones a unique variety of black people.

Traveling while black is an adventure in its self and always has some interesting outcomes. 

But this is the first time someone has ever spoken Swahili to me. 

Do you think it will be the last?

Share some of you'r traveling while back stories below. I would love to hear all about them. Follow link HERE to read up on traveling while black with Glo from The Blog Abroad.

traveling while black

Kiwi Blueberry Mojitos

Kiwi Blueberry Mojitos

What to eat- Bali food guide

What to eat- Bali food guide