Balinese celebrate life in a way we have not felt before in any other country. No wonder, the beauty and abundance of the island is radiating a zest for life, and it is contagious.
Bali, Island of Colors
This island is for sure the greenest place we visited in the last months. From the jungle to the rice terraces everything is lush green. Coming closer we found a big variety of plants, flowers, birds and also people embellishing the nature with all colors of the rainbow. You will see in the pictures the richness of colors that can be found here.
We found it very funny that the plants you buy at the flower market in Europe for half a fortune and try to keep alive in your flat or garden are growing in Bali like weed on the street and in the forest. As there are no gardeners around, nature solves it and its raining from time to time. And if it is raining, it is raining for real…!
All this colorful chaos is embedded in a landscape varying from high majestic volcanoes (up to 3700 m) to the deep blue sea, and all that just some kilometers apart. Due to this geography we realized, that what looks close on the map is not that close in reality. Driving just 50 km takes at least 2 hours. But it was worth it, and after visiting the mountains or some scenic temples we always found amazing beaches. Some with white sand like in the travel brochures, others with dark black sand, due to the volcanic activities. However, under the water surface we always found corals and fish in all shapes and colors – regardless of the color of the sand… :)
Island of Ceremonies
Balinese people take their religion very seriously and celebrate it all time visibly. They celebrate rituals and ceremonies for all occasions. Offerings of flowers, fruits and rice are made at least twice a day, all corners of houses and shops are consecrated with small banana leaf baskets full of them. Even in hotels, there is a “responsible person” in charge of protecting the property against the evil spirits. When walking on the street you can easily step on one of the offerings placed on the sidewalk in front of the doorsteps. But we have learned that this is not a problem, as the gods suck out the positive energy from it immediately when presented.
We could also attend some bigger ceremonies in temples, one even where the whole city of Ubud was involved: a Royal Cremation Ceremony. Another highlight was the Kecak Dance performance – originally a trance ritual accompanied by a chorus. It was very interesting to see, that regardless of the purpose, people are happy and vivid and celebrate as a community.
This environment creates an atmosphere of harmony where even the road traffic gets affected. Still somehow chaotic (not like our training in Vietnam – see post here), but smooth enough to make us comfortable using scooters and a rental car to independently explore this kaleidoscopic island.