28th Aug 2009 - 30th Aug 2009
During my recent trip to Bali for work, I took a weekend out for some me-time and relaxing. When I couldn't get on a dive boat for a dive, I opted to go on a "Bali fun boat" for some snorkelling on Lembongan Island about an hour from Bali. This boat was slightly daggy, and included snorkelling, a banana boat ride (where I LITERALLY bumped heads with a very cool American lady who provided company for the rest of the day and night), a delicious bbq, a visit to the island village and free sunburn :-) Ah, it was all worth the $50 really for the entertainment value and for a relaxing day on the sea and in the sun.
While I was away on weekend, it wasn't actually the beauty of Bali that stood out for me. It was actually the Balinese hospitality that has stayed in my mind. I'm not saying that Bali doesn't have beautiful scenery, because it does (though the beaches don't really compare to those in Australia!). However, I believe it is the people who really make Bali the special place that it is. The Balinese seem to show a special kind of tolerance that you don't see in many places. They not only put up with the drunken, Aussie yobs and rude Europeans , but remain friendly and smiling and helpful all the while. There is a gentle-naturedness about Balinese, which I think probably comes partly from the spirituality that openly exists in everyday life, and which exudes calm and peace, and also from the fact they live an island kind of life away from the big city. Nothing seems too difficult and the locals appear to go out of their way to help everyone. I suppose some of this is to do with the tourism dollar being so vital to their survival, but I get the feeling that it is also just the nature of the these island people, and it is a rarity to find in this world today.
In any case, I enjoyed my weekend getaway of snorkelling, sunshine, and dining. I'm looking forward to returning in a few week's time when there is a national holiday in Indonesia, and then I'm going to explore the Gillies and Lombok. I'm sure these more untouched island paradises will bring me a host of other lovely local encounters. I can hope so anyway!