Monday, October 20, 2008

Memories from the Island of the Gods

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.

18 comments:

Mallory Elise said...

ooooooooh soooooooooo beautiful! i don't blame you, why the hell did you come back!

but welcome back anyways, i want to see monkeys!!!

pea & pear said...

I actually said 'yay' as the page loaded and you were back. I am so jealous of your vacation and am now planning my balinese holiday in my head as I type :)
Welcome back :)

Aran said...

oh my goodness... those photos are stunning christy!! beyond words!!! sorry you fell ill... hope you are fully recovered.

Dee said...

Welcome back! I too wanted to pack my bags and move in. Your photos remind me that it's been waaay too long.

Have you read Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, pray, love? There's a lovely bit about Bali; it's a sign, I tell you.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

All that colour, and monkeys too! Heaven indeed!

Vera said...

Christy, welcome back! I hope you are feeling better. The photos are amazing! I wish I could visit the same places one day.

Y said...

What a beautiful, idyllic place. There hardly seems to be anyone around in those photos as well. Looks peaceful :)

Mrs.French said...

shockingly beautiful..thank you for sharing! xxoo

Mallory Elise said...

hooray! monkeys! hey maybe we should open a travel tour guide company together someday--the specialty is that on the buses and cars there are always little boxes of pastries and every two hours we break for tea!

linda said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time :)
Always difficult to start blogging after a vacation ;)
Hope you've recovered!

onesilentwinter said...

Stunning photographs!!

Elra said...

I am so proud that many people still love Bali, although I know for sure that Bali has change tremendously for the past decade. It is sad in away to see my father's village become a small town and some rice villages disappear. But, it still beautiful and the spirit, culture and the religions remain the unchanged (at least, this is how I see it with my own family in Bali).
Beautiful photos, and so glad that you enjoy your very short trip.

Ash said...

I love Bali!!! Its soo beautiful there and so are you're pics! Can't wait to go back there one day!

Tartelette said...

Hope you are fully recovered now! Dang those pictures are beyong gorgeous! All these colors! No wonder you love it so much there!

Veron said...

these are breath taking pictures! Thanks for sharing!

Oakley Rhodes said...

amazing amazing amazing photos! welcome back, ready to enjoy summer?

Thip said...

Beautiful photos, Christy.

ice tea: sugar high said...

Didn't know you're Indonesian too. I am too planning to go for a short holiday in 10 days. I'm afraid bali will not be one of my stopover city this time. Sigh!