What is Bali?

Trip Start May 31, 2008
Trip End Jul 14, 2008

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Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Thursday, June 5, 2008

Describe Bali?  This is a start.... Stone carvings decorating houses, temples, street corners...everywhere.  Gods, goddesses, indescribable creatures...well taken care of ...all wearing cloth sarongs and waist sashes and most with a parasol over their heads. 
Offerings, every morning and every evening...around temples, in front of homes, stores, stairways, bicycles...anywhere that might be accessible to an evil spirit.  Offerings carefully arranged in palm leaves or banana leaves...of rice, flower petals, food, eggs, snacks for the spirits.  The smell of incense, accompanying the offerings....always in the air.  Soft spoken people...who take an enormous amount of time every day creating these offerings and placing them in the appropriate spots. 
People dressed in sarongs, both women and men, with colorful sashes...always leaving shoes outside.  The constant sweeping and mopping of the floors....always spotless...shining...you could truly eat off of them.  Temples everywhere ... spacious... ornate.  Narrow roads...supposed to be two lanes?...zillions of motorbikes... driving on the left side of the road...the passengers seat is now the drivers seat.  
Crazy sidewalks...no sidewalks...no room to walk, except amongst throngs of people.   People looking directly at you...friendly...always sharing a greeting.  Men playing chess on the grass as they sit alongside the street...hearing the words "taxi" or "transport" or something like that just about every time you pass a group of them...offering their services of a ride, or tickets for something, or massage or some type of health treatment, or rental of something, or anything you might not yet realize that you need...and if you refuse, then "maybe tomorrow" or "don't forget me" closes the interaction.   Vendors selling food, woodworking, sarongs, instruments, jewelry...all sorts of stuff...and sometimes a bit too persistently.
 Hot hot temperatures, beautiful blue skies, plenty of mosquitoes on the prowl at dusk...street dogs....street monkeys.  Good food / bad food...but plenty of choices.  Funky toilets...once again.  And a whole new language...I've got my few choice phrases...working on a few more...  people proud of their culture...retaining tradition ...dance, dress, language... while still moving into the world stream.
 I've only been here a few days...but these are parts of everyday existence....the things that make me know I'm in a totally new place....one foreign to me....and all I can do is skim the surface...pick up a little culture, visit a few temples, watch a few dances, eat some food variations...and most of all interact with the local people...and the environment.  So that's what I'm doing... I already feel the lack of adequate time to take it all in.  so I'm trying to be patient and remind myself that I can't possibly see and do it all...but it's really cool to see and do what I can.    

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