Bali Part II – following up from the first Bali post dated May 16, 2020.
Unless I was in togs and a rashie, the order for my days in Bali were shorts paired with vintage embroidered tops and cotton tees, a pony tail and sandals. If visiting a temple or just taking a walk through the streets of a local village I respectfully donned loose linen trousers and a long sleeved shirt but apart from that, I pretty much lived in my togs.
Some places I visited were dirty, noisy and chaotic. Others, serene and quiet. My skin darkened under the hot gold Indonesian sun and the days, like any good day, passed far too quickly.
Socially distant……….before there was such a thing
My Bali days were spent diving amongst brilliant coral shelves, awaiting the appearance of the elusive and gentle manta rays – they did not come, seeking a perfectly beautiful wave, island hopping and feeling the strong ocean currents pull at my body. In moments such as these, I cling to a peace I could never shatter. The ocean, without fail, continually renders me present and it allows me to discover tiny corners of my heart I do not know to exist.
Every morning, I watched the same sun rising over the same part of the ocean but always under a very different sky. Early mornings filled with colours not expected are so good for the soul.
I rode in vessels at best not sea worthy. On a day where the sky continually darkened, straining toward storms, the dive boat was swamped by huge ocean waves. As the increasing swell crashed against the hull, the floor panels began to separate allowing the sea water to flood in and swirl about my ankles. Nothing however, could have dampened my spirit for more adventure.
I often walked to temples and through markets. I watched as small lean squirrels stole offerings left by local worshippers, butterflies beat their wings against the heavy air and I people watched.
Other days I gave myself permission to just be. It is a rare thing for me to relax and relax without guilt. I read and beachcombed, I wrote a little, found joy in the mundane and drank beer on the beach when water no longer cut it.
Eat Bali – Ostentatious food and the equally annoying self professed ‘foodies’ do little for me. Give me the smell of char grilling satays, sambal frying in a hot wok, the rich cloying smell of dried shrimp, the damp scent of steaming rice and the sweet aroma of bananas frying in batter any day. Places to eat where tiny cats mew around your legs and hawker markets where locals gather perched on low plastic stools. No pretense, nothing perfectly styled, non-touristy and no fancy photos.
This is the face of someone in their happy place. Please note, it is also the face toddlers make when they fart 🙂
I tend to eat much more fruit when in Asian or Indonesian regions. Mangosteens, snake fruit, jambu air (rose apples) and boni are readily available and great favourites of mine.
Drink Bali – An ice cold Bintang is a sure fire way to beat the heat in Bali. Meaning ‘star’ in Indonesian, this pale refreshing lager is available everywhere on the island.
Meeting up for cocktails – tick. Tea tasting – tick. Kopi Selem – tick, tick, tickety tick.
Stay Bali – We stayed at the Sofitel in Nusa Dua for this Bali visit. With its blend of French sophistication and elegant Balinese culture, dedicated and friendly staff, lush gardens and a clean private and quiet beach bordering the Indian Ocean, this is a beautiful and luxurious place to stay. Definitely 5 star without the conceited price tag. I highly recommend a stay.
I’m not a pool person but if I was……..
It was lovely to return to Bali after so many years. Much has changed however there are some things which will always remain eternally Bali. Those dramatic and dominating volcanoes, the petal offerings, the locals so beautifully radiant and generous, a spirituality and culture which is unsurpassed and that surrounding wild and unpredictable ocean.
There is much to love and some small things to loath but that is and always will be Bali…….x
Togs – swimwear/swimmers Rashie – rash shirt: a shirt worn by suffers to protect against sunburn/heat rash etc.
Kopi Selem – Indonesian style coffee of course coffee grounds boiled with solid sugar. Very similar to my adored Turkish coffee. YUM 🙂