What an amazing place Bali was! We originally planned to visit other islands in Indonesia, but stayed all 3 weeks on the island of Bali. I truly enjoyed every minute and even learned to love the thousands of motorbikes, dogs everywhere and the constant “Taxi? Maybe tomorrow?” The people were an absolute delight. They are very happy and content as a whole. The Hindu religion was fascinating to learn about and everyone was open to telling you about the offerings and celebrations. I was able to visit 3 schools during our time there, one was a primary school whose headmaster was the woman who owned the small hotel we were staying at. The children, especially the girls, were so happy to practice their English and had lots of questions to ask. Seeing tons of happy, smiling children says a lot about a place and in Bali that is all we saw. It is hard to say what my favorite thing about Bali was. The temples were amazing and all a bit different when you look closely, I never tired of seeing another. The food was fabulous and there were tons of vegetarian options especially in Ubud. Bali is definitely somewhere that I would like to visit again, for a small island there is so much to see and do when you get out and about! The only thing I won’t miss about Bali is the ants. They were everywhere!
Well, as I said in my First Impression, I was wondering if Bali might have exactly what I was looking for in a travel experience. This culturally infused “Island of The Gods” did not disappoint at all. From the moment we got here until the moment we left, my head whipped from side to side following my eyes to catch a glimpse of a scooter carrying an entire family, construction workers in flip-flops, beautiful rice terraces, a dog narrowly escaping death from a passing car because he was laying in the road and continued to do so all day, women carrying heavy materials like lava rocks, bricks, and buckets of rocks on their head, gasoline being sold in water or vodka bottles on the side of the road, offerings being put out at the entrance to every shop and home to please one of the many Gods, the food stalls made out of nothing more than a few pieces of wood that had some of the most flavorful foods made from the heart, the detail in the temples or even just the door of a home, the amazing statues, the list goes on and on. But the one thing that stood out to me more than anything was the sense of community and family values. You can tell a lot from a young child who has yet to learn how to hide emotions when you look into their eyes or at their faces, these kids were happy and so full of life. To me, this says everything about the people they are surrounded by and it wasn’t just in a few places, it was everywhere. If there were ever a place to prove the point of not needing a lot to live a full and happy life, this is it. The people of Bali don’t have much, but what they do have no one but themselves can ever take away. As I sat talking with a young wood carver one night in Ubud, I learned of a shift in culture happening on the south part of the island in Kuta. He told me that the people were starting to not want to help one another as much, unless they were getting paid, and that they were not as dedicated as once before to helping their villages with the ceremonies. My fear is that with all of the tourism will come greed and that a new generation is emerging that does not carry the core of this culture with it. If this starts to spread out of the south into other areas, Bali could become a completely different place. Only time will tell if good will prevail over evil and if the children will all smile as proudly as they do today. I can’t wait to see what happens and experience more of this wonderful place when I return. I’ll definitely be back.