Monday, March 10, 2014

Bali: My month on the island of dreams has just begun

Hanging Out with Dad (Ubud Indonesia March 2014)

So many people dream of spending time on the island of Bali. And we were among them. But now we are here. In fact, we've been here four days so far. At this very moment we are in the central town of Ubud, an even more evocative site of dreams for some. First impressions are very mixed.  On the one hand there are the people. I don't ever like to stereotype people, so all I will say is that thus far we have been treated by every person (and I am not exaggerating. I do mean every person) we have encountered, with courtesy, kindness and a helpfulness and hospitality of a sort I have never in many many years of travelling experienced.  And there is the architecture; it is extraordinary. I mean it really is. For example, every house has its own family temple and the front gate to every home looks like the entrance to a temple with lovely statues (always including my favorite, the elephant god Ganesha), floral offerings and even incense. 

On the other hand in all those many many years of travelling, often in the world's largest cities, I have never before experienced the intensity both in terms of noise and congestion, traffic like there is here in Ubud. I have after two days yet to come to terms with the reality of it. If that makes sense. Ubud is a set of villages now more or less running into one large town, and there are only a few very narrow roads lined with buildings. So, what you get is a lot of  cars, bikes, trucks and pedestrians in a confined space which makes for maddening noise and chaos. Well, as I said, I've never seen the like in my life.

But, having said that, I am excited by the possibilities here in Ubud  for street and documentary photography. It's a very colorful place, with friendly people, lots of tourists and travelers. And there are so many wonderful streetscapes. This aspect of the town I love already.

I know that after a few days I will adjust to the negatives and relish the positives (I forgot to mention the great food. And then there is the tea! Best I've ever had, and what a relief that is after travelling to some very tea impaired places in the last year or so). So, to begin my positivity: I am typing this post which I will soon share with you all, on my laptop with my feet up in our very comfortable hotel room and can't hear a sound. Well there is the air-con! I think that, once I get out and into the street a few more times, this place will start to feel like home. I actually got a little hint of that vibe when out today for an hour.

So, stay tuned, for more posts from Bali.
Peace to all

PS I should point out that we have yet to explore outside the town. The traffic really does, from what we're told, affect only the central business areas of the town. I am also prepared to admit that my reaction could be a result of a bout of extreme sensitivity brought on by tiredness and travel weariness. As I say, stay tuned!

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