In the late 1980s I spent a couple of months in Indonesia and made many friends among the women of Bali. One night my landlady told me that she and some other women were going to go to the local temple to do a special women’s moon ceremony, and would I like to come? That night she and I walked the mile or so to the ‘big temple’ and joined a small group of women who were sitting in a circle talking. Some spoke English for my benefit and others translated for me. The typical glasses of hot lemon water were offered all around, and the ladies drank. And so did I, expecting the soothing taste of citrus and sugar. To my surprise, the glass held lemon, yes, but also arak, a fiery grain alcohol that is harsh, unforgiving and best avoided. My throat screamed, my eyes stung, and I coughed while trying to swallow. Man, it hurt going down! The ladies looked at me and roared with laughter. The joke was on me, but also with me … because Balinese women don’t drink. Many times I had been told by local ladies that I couldn’t be a Westerner since I didn’t smoke and drink “like the Australians do.” As a woman traveler in ‘Eastern’ lands I rarely drank unless I was with other Westerners, since few women in South-East Asia drink in public. This marked me as being different than other tourists to the ladies of Bali and hastened our friendships, since they told me that I was “more like a Balinese woman.” While that probably wasn’t the case, my public abstinence singled me out from the sometimes-intoxicated tourists they encountered. So you can imagine my shock when given a tumbler full of arak, since I had never seen a Balinese woman drink alcohol.