We decide over lunch that she's almost certainly a Bulgarian hooker, this girl with the blonde mullet, the full-body tan and the iPod tucked fetchingly into her G-string. With the dreamy-jerky movements of a Sim she dances alone at the centre of the beach-shack restaurant, directing her Mona Lisa smile at the dreadlocked Aussie surfers.
As her toasted pelvis rotates mesmerically, two things strike me. First, that she gives new meaning to the term Bali belly. Second, that as livings go, Bulgarian hooker probably still beats 50-kilogram top-of-the-head load-bearer for $2 a day, like the mother of the taxi driver who brought us to this out-of-the-way Balinese beach.
Bali is something I never thought I'd do, largely because of its Gold-Coast-with-grass-huts rep and a personal aversion to holidaying with the home crowd. Paint me snobbish. Certainly we avoided Kuta, arak, pushy street hawkers (even those not dangling dodgy baggies) and anything behind plate glass. We also - speaking of Bali belly - avoided the local water, although without total success.
But the true snob wouldn't even have been there. The true snob insists Bali was ''ruined'' back in Donald Friend's days and hasn't been back. So I was pleasantly surprised to find a lively and intricate culture ticking away, just under the resort layer. (Easily our best meal, for example, was a paper cone of fresh pandan buttons with coconut and palm syrup from Ubud market.)
Travelling in the Third World, if we're still allowed to call it that, always mixes the guilty delights of feeling suddenly rich (when you know you're nothing of the sort) with the tempting rationale that just being there helps spread the love.
The man who rakes Jimbaran Beach each sunrise, before the hotels peg out their deckchairs, does it with a rope-led water buffalo and two semi-feral mutts. But when the sun rises and the fat white people switch from air-conditioned lounging to the sun-drenched sort, the slender brown people depart, Cinderella-like, to the unclean, unswept end of the beach. It's not that Balinese people don't use the beach, they take the grubby end.
Perhaps this is OK. Western tourists will lie only on clean beaches. And where tourists won't lie, they won't spend. So if you want their cash, you do what it takes. That's capitalism's core deal.
And there are clear economic benefits. People who live in Bali's still largely untouristed north say there are no jobs, young people leave the minute they finish school and even their parents must commute south for work.
But how must they feel, as they're shuffled off their own beaches? Locals are increasingly conscious that their children, with little or no hope of owning even a modest house on their own island, will probably end up as tenants and servants to people who can blow more on a holiday than many Balinese will ever earn. Not so different from Aboriginal people here, perhaps. Except that, for the Balinese, there's a major political complication. Without tourism, Hindu Bali would be just another penniless province of Muslim Indonesia, increasingly vulnerable to the predations of an unsympathetic government.
Bali's magnetism is neither nature nor culture alone, but the magical interplay of both. Yet can either survive 2.5 million tourists a year? Or will it all soon look like Kuta? Already Bali has 50,000 hotel rooms. That much of this development is beautiful is thanks largely to a loose 1970s collaboration between Friend, the Jakartan filmmaker Wija Waworuntu, the Sydney architect Peter Muller and the larger-than-life Sri Lankan architect-barrister Geoffrey Bawa.
Between them, inspired by local palaces, they cooked up ''Bali style'', now a sort of global soft porn for design heads. You know the look. Dark satiny timber, broad eaves, simple planes, glancing daylight, walled courts, infinity pools, gauzy hangings, luscious views and frangipani evenings strewn with tiny lights. Far grander than Bali-colloquial, Bali style has shades of Japanese serenity, Polynesian sensuality and cool Moorish seclusion. It does for Bali architecture what Paul Simon did for Zulu music; enriching and teasing it open for Western tastes without diminishing its power.
But this very lusciousness, with its enormous drawing power, is part of the problem. Already, while tourists pad around endless azure pools on emerald lawns fringed with luxuriant tropical planting, Bali beyond the touro-strip is parched and brown.
Locals say it hasn't rained for a year. The lovely golden cattle sit emaciated on picked-bare dirt. Groundwater is depleted, rivers dry or polluted, and lakes seven metres down. Water comes by tanker over roads that are more pothole than asphalt, and then by head - yet the big hotels strenuously oppose any increase in the water tax.
For the moment, Bali continues to rotate its pelvis and smile seductively at its fat white guests. But does it, in quiet moments, wonder at what point hospitality becomes prostitution?