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A Month in Bali

February, 2003

The tourists at work.
The tourists at work (83k)
Jamie (72k)
Agung Cottages.
Agung Cottages (92k)
Our bath.
Our bath (60k)

This is a report of our month-long adventure in Bali, on 10 pages. It is not intended to be a guide for travelers; it is only a record of what we did here and what we saw along the way. Some of this adventure was carefully planned in advance, but much more was just a matter of luck. For example, we happened to drive into a small village just as its annual religious procession was beginning. The procession lasted only a few minutes, but we were there to follow along. And we were fortunate to be in Bali on the day when another village held its annual religious ceremony, one that is no longer practiced elsewhere on the island. On the other hand, we did not visit some of the standard tourist destinations, like Kuta Beach.

Everywhere we went we were impressed by the beauty of Bali, especially in the rural areas. The scenery was always fantastic. The rice fields look like a well-tended garden. The mountains rise out of the mists as a faint backdrop. And the Balinese seem to do everything with a certain artistic style. But more than that, Bali satisfies all of the senses. Everywhere we went, we heard the background noises of nature: birds singing, insects buzzing, and - most of all - the sound of falling water. Much of Bali is hilly and irrigated, and the water falls from field to field throughout the island. The sound of the water was as relaxing as it was pervasive. We also smelled the flowers, the coffee beans roasting, and the incense from the daily offerings. Massage for our sense of touch, and food for our sense of taste completed the experience.

To be fair, Bali also has urban areas that are no better than other cities throughout the world. And there are places with garbage in the streets. But we chose to stay in Ubud and to travel the back roads where the people work with their hands in tune with the ancient rhythms of the sun, the rain, and the growing rice. Driving through the modern city of Denpasar on our way to the airport was a real jolt. After a month of peace and relaxation, we did not like to leave the quiet comfort of the older Bali.

Except for 2 days in a hotel (part of a package tour), we lived in homestays in Ubud. This was the best possible choice for us, as our homestay experiences were wonderful. The prices were very affordable and the families with whom we stayed were friendly and helpful. We were particularly impressed with Ketut's Place. In fact, we've devoted one whole page to our stay at Ketut's Place.

We arrived in Bali about 4 months after the terrorist bombings of October, 2002. Our experiences were affected by the huge decline in the number of tourists currently visiting Bali. We often were the only diners in a restaurant or the only customers in a shop. We visited major tourist attractions and saw only a few other tourists. In normal times, the tourists form a solid procession on the streets of central Ubud. We often saw only one or two tourists there. Although many Balinese are suffering badly from the loss of revenue, we had a much more pleasant experience without the crowds.

We spent almost a month in Bali. We would go for a major excursion one day, then spend the next day resting, sorting through the photos Jim had taken, and working on the website. Jim took an average of 120 photos each day, discarded some and then could only put a few of the rest here for you to see. Even so, there are about 130 photos on these ten pages and another 20 in the Bali photo gallery. You are certainly welcome to skip some or all of this if it gets to be too tedious. We will understand. But, we hope you will enjoy sharing our wonderful month in Bali, beginning with Ketut's Place.

Bali Index
A Month in Bali | Working in Bali | Walls
Ketut's Place | Silver | Pejaten Ceramics
A Taste of Bali | Temples | — Photo Gallery
Community Life | Rice Culture |  

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Jim and Jamie Richter, http://gotouring.com/razzledazzle/
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Created 3/2002. All photos are © 2001-2017 by Jim Richter.