December 28, 2013 – January 5, 2014
Bliss in Bali. My take in 50 photos.
I lied. It’s actually 51 photos.
Bali was wonderful. It rained 60% of the time and it was still wonderful. Why? Because of the people. The deeply rooted, passionate balance they have between human, nature, and the divine. It wasn’t until my short, yet mesmerizing, two day visit to Ubud that I came to understand this.
I know this because of Putu. A do it all type of man that works at Alam Sari, where we stayed in Ubud. Constantly smiling – it made you happy to look at him. He was our driver on many occasions as well as nature guide; he is pictured above with the friendly spider on his arm.
(I have to admit, I had forgotten his name but with a simple Wikipedia search was able to find it in seconds. How? Because only 4 names are used in Bali, based on birth order, and for some, caste system )
We spent our first 7 days in Canggu. A small, lovely, community about 45 minutes outside of Seminyak, the biggest city in the area. We stayed at Sejuk Villas where the wedding of Beth (Sarah’s cousin) and Alex took place on NYE. It was lovely to meet some of Sarah’s extended family – especially a bunch that is so spread out all over the world. Morocco, Italy, Indonesia, Australia, the list goes on.
In Bali, there are no greetings – just smiles.
Especially in Ubud. Smiles everywhere. Putu explained to us that your hand would be too tired from waving, or your voice lost from greeting, so everyone just smiles instead. Seems like a good solution to me. Indeed, we saw smiles of all shapes, sizes, and colors. 😀
I truly learned a lot about the people and the culture during my short stay. Here are a few brief notes I jotted down:
1. Bali is not Hindu.
2. Mount Batur erupts every 20 years. This is why they can grow literally everything – the soil is very fertile.
3. The Dutch introduced the irrigation system.
4. The Hindu introduced rice.
5. They believe in only 1 God. There are 33 different names for this God.
6. At the age of 20, men file their 6 front teeth flat across the bottom. This is to remind them of the 6 bad things; greed, jealousy, dirty, angry, lazy, and gambling.
7. They believe in 5 elements; water, fire, air, soil, and gas.
From these elements we are born and die. “From nothing back to nothing.”
One of the most important pieces Putu told us was;
Not all things can be explained.
Not all things must be explained.
And this is why the Balinese are happy. Everything is a process or a part of the process, good and bad. You will see black and white together everywhere. This is because they pray to the good as well as to the bad. They pray to the bad in hopes that they can help, understand, and perhaps change them.
I don’t think I’ll meet a more peaceful and harmonious people in my life. I want to go back.