I am feeling a bit philosophical so forgive me if I wax a little lyrical tonite. We’ll put it down to too much of this gorgeous Bali sun and the awe-inspiring sunsets 🙂
Yes, I am in Bali!
Bali, a land deeply rooted in its history (not the white man part) and culture. Yes, there is the Bali of “Lonely Planet” full of night clubs, hook up hostels, backpacker bars, yoga guru studios and discount warungs for a cheap meal. Peel back a few layers of Aussies, Kiwis, Brits and the token American and you will find another Bali. The one I fell in love with 3 years ago on my first visit.
It begins the minute you arrive at the airport. These chiming bells, non-stop through the terminal. A mantra. An annoying hypnotic sound that at first has you gritting teeth and praying for the immigration line to move faster. The bells follow you. They are a constant part of daily local ritual. Ting Ting Ting Ting…
Your second impression comes the minute you arrive at your first destination. Before anything, you are presented with a cold washcloth infused with essential oils of the local flora, sweet frangipani and lemon grass. You breathe it in as it covers your sweat stricken face (its hot hear ya’ll) and find yourself taking a deep breath so as not to forget this heady intoxicating scent. Next – a welcome drink! Some fabulous fresh fruit juice garnished with a frangipani (get used to it, its my FAVORITE flower in all of Asia and Bali embraces it). This little ceremony happens at hotels, restaurants, cafes, even the random shop will offer up the cold infused towel. You begin to crave it, yearn for it. I am completely addicted, if that wasn’t already obvious.
For me, Bali is true PARADISE. I am a beach girl. Check! I adore tropical fruits and juices. Check! I love any place that adorns all sinks, tables, nightstands, showers, bathtubs and counters with fresh frangipani. CHECK! I love a rich layered culture, especially one with handicrafts and arts. Check! I love tribal dance and ceremony. Check! I love frangipani, coconut, hibiscus, mimosas and every other tropical bloom. Check! I crave hot weather. Check check! I identify with a place that has a God for sun worship. Check! I could live the rest of my life in a bikini, sarong and sandals. Check! Why am I leaving tomorrow?
FOOD. Fragrant Bali basil, lemongrass, ginger, tumeric, nutmeg, chili!, parsley and sweet onion are the foundation flavors to which they add local crab, scallop, fish & shrimp. A splash of coconut milk and a bit of kaffir lime leaf and you have all the makings for a meal so heavenly you set your watch to the next meal time.
Given my “day job”, Bali is inspiration for me design wise. A deep history in wood carving and an appreciation for contemporary design has created an architecture like nowhere else I have ever travelled. They get it. They can take the traditional heavily carved elements and perfectly harmonize them into a warm modern open air villa. Again, I ask, why am I leaving tomorrow?
I could go on for an entire book on why this is my paradise. However, someone sent me a ray of knowledge today that struck a cord. In another part of the world (where Heather was not basking in the sun being served fruit skewers every 30 minutes and fresh watermelon juice) it was raining. The rain cleared and a BREEZE followed. This was someone else’s PARADISE today. I could smell the lingering rain and feel that inviting breeze. Perhaps PARADISE is not a place, but a feeling. A feeling that we are right where we are meant to be at any given moment.
(Here comes the waxing part I warned you about)
I finished a book tonight that I actually started last November. Been busy. As the sun spent it last rays and my glass of sunset champagne emptied, the book ended with a Sanskript poem…
“Look well to this day, for it is life. In its brief course lies all the realities of existence. For yesterday is but a memory and tomorrow only a vision”.
What is your paradise?
PS. Tomorrow I will write about ALL the amazing food I have had! So good, fresh & local!