After speaking about Buddha, Buddhism and other mysticisms, I have to speak about Gods Island, marvelous Bali in Indonesia. But planning this article I had one harassing question : what could I say that hasn’t already been said? It was in that precise moment that I realized how much everything I read preparing my travel, thousands of blogs, books, guides, wasn’t useful to avoid a terrible mistake … do you think I’m catastrophic? So keep in mind that we can afford maximum one travel a year and if it goes wrong we have to wait one long long year…practically a catastrophe!!!
I examined a tons of blogs, revised long and wide my Lonely Planet and I read a really precise and detailed book from Cabiria Magni “Bali.Appunti e colori dall’Isola degli Dei ” and despite that something went wrong. Until that moment I hadn’t realized how much improvisation had always be the winning card in our travels.
I will tell you how we plan our adventures in a second moment , but now I have to give you a little hint to let you understand what compromised this experience. We never book our accommodation from Italy, we choose a location and only there we choose where to stay, if we don’t like the area we simply change. This year we have been a little bit lazy and we have decided to trust to a popular reservation’s site. So we have chosen the area according to the site reviews but when we arrived we immediately realized that we did a terrible mistake. Our choice was in a very touristic area in Bali, Kuta, so that we could be close to eating places, the beach, and basilar services to move around the island…but we missed a foundamental detail:there is no public transport in Bali , nobody talked about it in all the blogs I read, a balinese boy told us every balinese family has a car (he told us “balinese are rich”). This area seemed to be the right choice but it wasn’t so… we were in an overbusy district and its small roads couldn’t afford so much traffic, furthermore there were no sidewalks at all (even if this is not a strangeness in Asia). Our hostel was in a peripheral area in Kuta, in the smallest road in the world and outside it , it was impossible to move in any direction. Maybe in an other area we could have reached all the attractions we choose to see. So the question is: why didn’t we move to an other hostel? For a while we considered it but the fact that we paid everything in advance, and our stupid pride which prevented us from admitting we were wrong made us choose to stay there and fight.
We are fighters so we succeeded in visiting some of the marvellous attractions in Bali, we didn’t give up and with the help from a travel agent we organized some ( unfortunately only some) good excursions we dreamed about from Italy. Each morning he came to pick us up (as rich people) directly inside the hostel because it was impossible for us to wait for him outside, and he took us where we liked…in the reality he let us believe it while he started and in the middle of the trip he told it was not possible to go where we liked, it was too far, there was too much traffic. The traffic was in effect terrible, something I didn’t considered because I didn’t find nothing about it among the tons of informations I collected.It was so unbelievable to prevent you from getting out of the car and see the breathtaking scenery of terraced rise fields, a sort of 3d picture where you are the actor. It was impossible to take a walk to enjoy it , too many cars everywhere.
It went absolutely better in Ubud where we saw the monkey forest, an area inside the forest where monkeys live freely jumping from a secular tree to the other or on the temples hidden among them laughing to curious tourists. The contact with these shrewed little animals is always crazy .
We saw some hindu temples really different from buddhist ones. Here you have to wear a Sari, a sort of pareo to cover your legs that they’ll give you at the entrance. Each temple is part of the nature around it . The one I liked most was, no doubt, Tirta Empul and its petirtaan, a pool where hinduists can draw to holy source to have their purification rite. All the place is really impressive and to complete the magic there is the incense’s good smell lighted on and a sort of little boats full of offerings to gods, they are made from big leaves filled with flowers and fruits.
In kuta we hardly reached the beach, a long yellow sand tract soaked by waves where novice surfists shily approach to this sport, nice street vendors charm with their marvellous goods and good kite drivers take advantage of omnipresent wind.
Everywhere you can see the frames on the emptiness , strange constructions difficult to explain which look like holy buildings big doors without doors. The most famous one is Pura Lempuyang Temple, located on a mountain top reachable after so many steps and when you arrive you realize that there is no temple at all. In other words through that door you understand that , as Cabiria Magni says ” this is emptiness showing itself…there is no temple , we are our temple.Sometimes we should change the perspective from where we are used to see the world to understand that the world doesn’t end where our sight arrives, it is merely easyer“.
So…I wanna end this way the chronicle of a trip which isn’t our best experience , Bali is a marvelous place but sometimes you have to accept to change perspective.