Storm in a C-Cup.
By Ian Jarrett ~ The Grumpy Traveller
Tuesday, 16th August 2005
The Grumpy Traveller, aka Ian Jarrett, has been in Bali for a week where his attention has been drawn to bears and breasts.

One of the joys of my week on the island of the gods has been lying back on the sun bed – gin and tonic in hand, of course  - reading those tucked-away news items that you only appreciate when you're in totally relaxed holiday mode.

First to grab my attention was a story in the UK Daily Telegraph that the breasts of Britain's women have grown by a cup-size in the past decade.

An average bra size of 34B 10 years ago has increased to a 36C across the UK, the bra manufacturer Bendon has discovered.

Retailer Marks & Spencer confirmed this uplifting piece of news but said it had only noticed the change in the past five years. (I'm not sure whether this means that the breasts of Marks and Spencer's female customers have been slower to grow than, say, those of ladies who shop at Harrods)

I mentioned this news item to Mrs Grumpy, as she was painting her toenails, but she said this revelation was nothing more than a storm in a C-Cup.

The other item that I found compelling was the discovery of a wild bear in Switzerland – news that especially surprised those who thought Switzerland was full only of bankers and bores.

It seems the bear has sent the Swiss into a frenzy. Bear fever has gripped the nation – although, to be fair, it doesn't take much to get the Swiss excited. They get hooked on things like national yodelling championships and cheese with holes in it.

Hotel sales have surged in the area where the bear was spotted; a local baker has produced a bear pie and Swatch has timed it perfectly by marketing a watch with a teddy bear on the face.

It seems the Swiss bear is real enough, unlike the Surrey puma, which is spotted in England every July just to give the UK tabloid newspapers something to write about during the slow summer news season.

Or the Loch Ness Monster, perhaps the most enduring of all tourism scams.

But I do think the Swiss are onto something with the runaway bear. It's niche tourism at its best. Suggest there is a dangerous animal roaming the neighbourhood and the tourists will be on the next plane.

Maybe Phuket could tempt tourists back by releasing a black rhinoceros; Singapore should consider having an ex-Raffles tiger roaming Sentosa; Bali could keep a hippo in reserve for tough times, although the local hoteliers probably feel they have enough wild animals with young Australian males roaming the bars of Kuta.

Still in Bali, this column wouldn't be true to itself if it didn't have a grizzle about something.

So let me end by asking why the authorities in Bali still turn a blind eye to street money changers who attempt to short-change customers at every opportunity.

There are honest moneychangers in Bali but there are also many who are cheats – and they are the ones who are remembered by visitors when they plan their next overseas trip.

The Grumpy Traveller has heard so many tales of tourists being duped by unscrupulous moneychangers that he feels it's time the authorities stepped in and kicked these thieves out of business.

Don't let the island of the gods become the island of the crooks.

IAN JARRETT is based in Fremantle, Western Australia from where he travels frequently in Asia on assignments for travel magazines.

He is a member of the BamBoo Alliance, a group of leading travel writers in the region. He can be contacted at ianjarrett@mac.com
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