It has been a week since I got back. Why no blogging, then, you ask. Three reasons. One, I fell ill towards the end of my vacation, and haven't completely recovered. Second, I wish I did not have to come back. The third is one of my strongest vices which I will keep under shrouds until the next post.
But going back to the second point. As you probably know from my last post, I mentioned that I will be squeezing in a trip to Bali during my short holiday. I did. And now I can't think of wanting to live anywhere else.
All right, I do exaggerate. But seriously now. Bali is known as the Island of the Gods. And I can't think of a more apt description. My previous memories of the island were too far away to make more than a hazy imprint of its beauty. I must have been no more than 13 the last time I visited Bali. It did not take me long, however, to be completely smitten by the place. I truly felt the elusive charm that had enticed so many Western expatriates to call it their second home.
We stayed at Tanjong Benoa, at a hotel where service was well above and beyond inspiring. We visited the popular restaurant/cafe/shopping strip Seminyak, home to the famous Ku De Ta. We had dinner at Kafe Warisan, which French chef/owner Nicolas Tourneville carefully nurtured over the past eleven years from a 10-table restaurant to a world-renowned establishment. We had the best Nasi Campur at one of the more modest restaurants I have been to. But the jewel that shines above i all is Ubud, a magical town far away from the overcrowded and overheated beaches.
Ubud is nestled among the hills of Bali, which made its climate substantially cooler than the more popular becahside destinations. Over the years, I have heard much of Ubud, so I realise that I am not what one would consider a pioneer luxury traveller. There is something about Ubud, an intangible charm that you could associate with the comforting respite that many spend their lifetimes searching for but few were lucky enough to find. From the shady foliage of Puri Saren, the thriving arts and crafts scene, to the magnificent rice fields and the bustling yet serene sights of the shopping strip of Jalan Monkey Forest, Ubud was more than what I had in mind.
As luck would have it, the village temple also held its annual odalan, or temple birthday, on the very day that we chose to visit. That means visitors are treated to the captivating sight of numerous processions of local women carrying pyramid towers of sesajen, or offerings, on their heads to their village temple basked in the light of the golden setting sun.
And then it was gone. I never knew that 4 days and 3 nights could feel so short. Bali was like a much cherished lover lost much too soon, leaving one with only memories and a bittersweet longing of a time when one can really believe that the world is truly a beautiful place to live in.
P.S. I did not get the chance to take snapshots of the odalan procession, mainly because the setting sun made it very difficult to see and manually focus my camera, and we were rushing to beat the traffic to Denpasar. I wished I had taken many more photos of all the beautiful sights that I have seen, but I'm more for living those moments than trying to capture each and everyone of them on memories that only my compact 2 GB card could remember.