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 OZschwitz schoolies choose Bali because it has more freedom, less restrictions

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OZschwitz schoolies choose Bali because it has more freedom, less restrictions Vide
PostSubject: OZschwitz schoolies choose Bali because it has more freedom, less restrictions   OZschwitz schoolies choose Bali because it has more freedom, less restrictions Icon_minitimeFri Nov 30, 2012 10:32 pm

TESTOSTERONE wafts off Shane Goodhew and his three shirtless mates in palpable waves.

They are toolies - men in their 20s who are in Bali this week to muscle in, literally, to the annual schoolies celebration. They are on the hunt for 17- and 18-year-old girls.

Goodhew, almost 21, says he is proud to be ''the bloke that parents warn their daughters about''. Over the past three years, Bali has become a favourite party destination for school leavers. Perhaps 6000 will visit over the last two weeks of November and the first of December, turning the hotels and clubs of Kuta into festivals of youthful high spirits.

OZschwitz schoolies choose Bali because it has more freedom, less restrictions Schoolies12012113013474

Sucking drinks called ''Illusions'' out of tall plastic cups at less than half the price they'd pay in Australia, masses of youngsters writhe and sweat to the music all night, every night, up and down Kuta's infamous nightclub strip, Jalan Legian.

In their wake come the toolies. They've had a few more years than the male school leavers to sculpt their pectorals and submit to the tattooist's needle, and they fancy their chances in the competition for girls.

''Not to be rude, but 17-year-old boys…'' Goodhew says, shaking his head.

''We come, tattoos and that, and looking a bit older. That's what the girls are after.''

Evidence on the street suggests he does not exaggerate.

Genuine schoolies Luke Hughes, Drew Smith, Jakob Walsh, all 18, and Mark Keats, 17, formerly of Westport High School in Port Macquarie, are unimpressed. ''There's too many of them - it's four to one,'' Smith remarks bitterly, ''and they're all on steroids.''

Bali's newfound popularity with schoolies is based on two things - it's cheap and it's virtually unregulated.

''Queensland has too many rules,'' says Erin Barnett, 17, of Bacchus Marsh, Victoria.

''The police are everywhere and you can't drink on certain parts of the beach.''

''There's more to do here and it's cheaper to do it and there's less rules,'' says Callum, 18, who did not want to give a last name. He is in Bali with 17 mates from Brisbane Water Secondary College on the central coast, one of many large groups.

During the day they'll go snorkelling, bungy jumping, or to the Safari and Marine Park. But at night, ''you can be hammered on the street and walking around''.

Under-age drinking is illegal in Bali but the restriction is never enforced.

So far this year no major casualties have come of the laissez faire approach. Kuta police chief I Gede Putu Dedy Ujiana had to have the concept of schoolies explained to him by Fairfax, but then said there had been few brawls and none too serious.

''Most of the time they just bump into each other, yell some strong words and that is it.''

But Bali's unrestrained nightlife does have its dangers. Magic mushrooms contain a powerful hallucinogen but are legal and widely available. Street vendors offer various other drugs and the local liquor, arak, which can cause methanol poisoning, is said to fortify the drinks in the cheaper bars.

A number of schoolies say they intend to get a tattoo on their last day in Bali - Callum's will adorn his chest and say ''Brother Like No Other'' - but some parlours are linked to hepatitis infections, even HIV.

The biggest danger, though, is more mundane - the allure to many of riding motor scooters without helmet or licence, which voids their travel insurance.

A sign of the increasing popularity of Bali as a schoolies destination is the appearance for the first time this year of the Red Frogs, a Christian-based volunteer group which has patrolled annually in Australia since 1997, helping the ill and the drunk.

Bali co-ordinator Paul Mergard says a number of youngsters have been hospitalised in Bali after motorcycle accidents, and others for the ''quite severe hallucinations'', including paranoia and anxiety, caused by magic mushrooms.

Overall, though, he agrees that ''there has been a bit of hype'' about Bali's risks. Many schoolies are regulating their own behaviour, and the tabloid habit of overstating the danger of schoolies is a bugbear for the young revellers here.

Arnika Andrews, 18, says that before coming, she and her three girlfriends from Goulburn Valley Grammar School in Shepparton, Victoria, were subject to a ''massive lecture'' from others. ''Everyone was saying, 'You'll die.''' All so far remain safe.

''It's so friendly. The Indonesians are so nice,'' she exclaims.

''We've had 13 years of education … we're 18 years old,'' insists classmate Ella S. ''We let our hair down for a week and if we're sensible and we understand another culture like Indonesia's, we can survive and have a brilliant time.''

''Are your parents worried?'' I ask, watching the toolies circle the swimming pool nearby.

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