"....... for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust" Psalm 103:14

Beautiful Bali


I've had a crush on Bali for a while. I guess it's not particularly surprising, after all it's both cheaper and faster to get to Bali from Perth than just about anywhere else in Australia. But in spite of living in Perth all these years, Bali was a place I'd never ever visited until I became single again.

Bali in the 80s
Back in the 80s, when my generation were all getting married (for the first time, that is), many of our friends headed to Bali for their honeymoons. Bali in the 80s. Looking back I think I would like to have experienced that. At the time though, my husband said he couldn't think of anything worse than going somewhere and getting sick on your honeymoon. Ironically, we went to Thailand instead, probably equally risky at the time (but thankfully we didn't get sick). Several of our friends got Bali Belly, and one came home from his Bali honeymoon with Dengue Fever. Shudder.

After that, my ex-husband was never interested in Bali as an option, as nearby and cheap as it was, and so we went in other directions for our holidays.

A little jaunt to Bali
My first ever trip to Bali came in 2011. Three years after my marriage had ended, and I was ready for a little travel. I'll admit, there was a teensy hint of "thumbing the nose" at my ex-husband's long-time aversion to Bali (not proud of that) but when my closest girlfriend suggested we go together, I was delighted at the thought. Glad to be travelling with a friend who'd already been there, I just let her do the planning (at which she excels....... in Excel, no less) and went along for the ride!

Ummm...... not quite what I was expecting. Where are all the lush tropical trees?
The culture shock came early, but passed pretty quickly. After arriving late at night, my first real look at Bali didn't come until the following morning. I wasn't quite prepared for the clamour and chaos, the disrepair, the occasionally unpleasant (and very occasionally appalling) smells coming up from holes in the road or rubbish-laden streams. I think I walked with my mouth open in amazement for a while. But once I got over the initial gob-smacking unexpectedness, got used to all those zeros, and got out of the built up areas to see a bit of the "real Bali", I was on the downhill slope to infatuated. I loved (almost) every minute of that holiday. And the next, and the next, and the next............. From the amazing Indonesian food, to the hilarity of bargaining with the locals. The massages and pedicures, and the opportunity to learn to cook Balinese style. The delicious warmth and humidity, and the sights and smells. From the delightful, friendly, hospitable Balinese people to the absolutely stunning scenery, I was hooked.

Now that's more like it!

Not something you see every day.........
An annual holiday destination
Since that first encounter with beautiful Bali, I've visited every year. That makes 7 visits in 7 years. We haven't always had totally amazing holidays. There have been some not-so-good experiences, thankfully short-lived, such as when I pulled a muscle in my back somehow and spent a couple of days in bed dosed up on paracetamol, more disappointed about missing out on the snorkelling and other fun that could have been had than anything else.

Or the time last year when we got stuck in Bali as Mt Agung decided to have a little hissy fit, and we had no idea when we'd be able to get home again..........

Mt Agung the day before it blew its little top.
Or the times when I reach my limit with the locals calling out "Taxi?" "You want taxi?" or "Looking?" "You look my shop?" or "You buy?" "I give you good price" "How much you pay?" Even for a Bali lover like me, it can wear thin after a while. But all great love affairs have a few little annoyances over the years, right?

Stunning Bali
I love the coastal and mountain scenery, the lush gardens, the outdoor bathrooms, the amazing sights and sounds all around. I love packing for Bali - shorts, strappy tops, sundress, hat, bikini (yes, only in Bali), sarong, thongs (that's flip-flops for all you non-Aussies), and not much else. All the more room in the suitcase for those hard-earned bargains!

Getting the hang of bargaining, Bali style!
I think for me, Bali epitomises the relaxing tropical getaway - when I step off the plane, even though it's quite a trek to get to and through the airport, I can't help loving that warm tropical air and the hint of frangipani all around. There's just something about those first few sultry, warm, incense-and-frangipani-laden breaths of Bali that says "holiday".

Ah, this is the life!
Where to next?
A little sadly, we likely won't be going to Bali this year. We have other potential trips to think about, plan and save for, so our annual Bali holiday may be a thing of the past. I feel a little wistful about that, but keen for new adventures too. I'm sure we'll get back to Bali at some stage.

Who knows what the next year or so may bring!!

6 comments

  1. I have never been to Bali and must admit that that is because I have never had any desire to go! I think the idea of non-Australian food, dirty streets, constant harassment by the locals, humid weather and the potential for getting a stomach bug has put me off to the extent that I'm not sure I would go if you paid me haha. BUT having said that, this post certainly does a good job of selling the Bali holiday and it's hard to discount your obvious delight in many of the more positive aspects of Bali! For a split second I was wondering on what I may have been missing out on all these years :-P.
    I hope you enjoy your alternative holidays this year :-). xox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, yes it's probably an acquired taste, but I do love the non-Australian food and the humidity, and have never had Bali Belly. I'm sure if I had, my thoughts would be quite different! Perhaps I missed my calling and should be a reviewer of travel destinations - how good would that be!!!

      Delete
  2. I've been to Bali in the 1980's on a post-honeymoon holiday with my husband and after both experiencing Bali belly and co-ordinating who went to the toilet first, I was glad it wasn't our honeymoon! It was great to go but I didn't have a burning desire to return. Then 5 years ago our daughter had her destination wedding there in Uluwatu - and we (of course) went again. It was a beautiful spot for a wedding - gorgeous chapel on an ocean facing clifftop etc - but I'm just not a big fan of tropical 3rd world countries - and the poverty and constant haranguing from the locals is a little wearing to say the least - although I must say, they are a very friendly nation. We'll probably go again, but I've never seen the appeal of going regularly like a lot of WA families do - and the idea of taking children to somewhere so unhygienic gives me palpitations!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no, that must have been awful Leanne! I am a super-cautious traveller at the best of times, but when I travel to Bali I take extra precautions against any kind of illness, and so far have had no dramas of that sort. I'm pretty sure Bali is a lot more hygienic these days than it was in the 80s, but I still think it's wise to be careful. Uluwatu is stunningly beautiful, and my husband dreams of surfing the long break there, but whether it will happen or not remains to be seen. He surfed the west coast with great delight a few years ago and I enjoyed lazy mornings on the beach reading, watching and taking photos of him. I do have to say that our favourite places in Bali are definitely out of the way of the crowds, in the mountains, on the east or west coasts, or on one of the islands not far away! Usually around this time of year I start dreaming of being in Bali again, I'm sure it's something to do with the winter weather and longing for the tropical warmth!

      Delete
  3. Now that I live in the region, I hope we will get to Indonesia sometime.

    I just shared a post for family and friends outlining why, as much as we love our choice to move to Vietnam, they might not love it. Personally, I love the smell of Asia, and I think the happiness of walking in flip-flops in any weather is a worthwhile trade-off for not having a proper sidewalk to walk on. I see westerners visiting Danang complaining about all the noise and construction, the dirt and dust, and so I advise my friends and family back home - if you prefer your travel to be neat and clean and well-ordered, best skip Asia!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's true Red! While it is possible to find neat and clean and well-ordered in Bali, you do have to know where to look. But I also love the eclectic mix of traditional and western, and that tropical smell gets me every time. We are hoping to get to Vietnam in the not too distant future - we had hopes for this year but other things got in the way. I have started my research but had to put it aside for now. I'll keep your blog in mind for when we're ready to restart that one!

      Delete

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this post. Please feel free to leave a comment!