Stop and smell the flowers… Bali, Indonesia
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Seeing flower offerings on doorsteps every morning set the tone everyday… Drinking fresh coconut juice out of a coconut. Laying poolside as a family immersed in totally different worlds, enjoying reading on a warm quite afternoon. Watching Jason teach the girls to dive. Hearing their sweet laughter fill the air every evening as they played “who can find the rock the fastest” (gorilla underwater- style). Bali consisted of so many exciting and amazing adventures–I will dedicate to just a few:
“The monkey forest” –Jason could not get a monkey off his back–literally! It was hilarious!! I will include the video for this priceless moment : ) I will never forget my experience with a monkey and her shinny black rocks…. Very much like a girl with her new rock on her finger; she kept insisting that I look at what she had in her hand–a peanut and two very sparkly black rocks. It was so funny and I must say I was impressed with them… I still wonder where she got them from? She kept reaching out to show me over and again, setting them down and picking them up again. After she insisted, I leant forward to appease her looking closely, “Wow! Those are some beautiful rocks you have there!” I said aloud. She abruptly snatched them away and hissed at me!! I ran quickly! The girls were with me and we all laughed at how we went from being totally entranced by this monkey and her shiny rocks to fleeing out of terror… I couldn’t help but think of a neighborhood boy that would play this game… parading his candy in front of everyone until someone asked for a piece and then snatching it away… We really are not that evolved : ) LOL!!!
Sunset Beach Horseback ride–Ella’s dream…. After being lost for 1 hour we got stuck behind a caravan of cars carrying a kite the size of 2 king sized beds. Two car loads of men sitting outside their windows holding onto their pride and joy–their handmade kite, as they drove down the road about 3 miles per hour, bumping Balinese music. You had to appreciate the sheer camaraderie and devotion. Once we arrived I don’t know who was more happy with their horsepower Ella or Jason : ) They did not have a horse for Jason to ride–but instead gave him a quad. Ariana and I were happy to finally get out of the car : ) It was great, we made it just in time for a beautiful beach sunset, horseback riding and candle lit dinner–while watching the large red kites fly off in the distance.
What makes a destination “beautiful”? As we travel from place to place I have become more aware that “beauty” is a very delicate recipe. Just as every recipe tends to have it’s staple ingredients, so too do all destinations, i.e., land, people, commerce, government, climate–The taste of the recipe is determined by how each of these are “seasoned” and how they work or don’t work together. Every destination seems to be a complex co-dependent evolving masterpiece. When one taste changes all the others must assimilate and compliment or the recipe will fail. When all ingredients work together their individual flavors are not only enhanced but the overall experience becomes a magical experience for all the senses.
One month in Bali…. It started that we weren’t even going to come to Bali–This changed to a week upon our travel agents suggestion. Then it changed to 2 weeks upon further discovery–and then ultimately changed to a month once we fell in love. Before arriving I prepared myself and the girls to experience a poverty stricken, alarming and potentially heart crushing experience–only to find a kind of pure happiness that I have rarely seen anywhere in America; or in the world for that matter. Our experience in Bali was a culture that prioritized purity, nature, health and happiness. Filled with genuine smiles. Where you see women of all ages walking, carrying baskets atop their heads, wearing bright colored sarongs and taking the time to put flowers in their hair. Where everyone does not just stop to smell the flowers, but they actually revolve their days around this beauty and celebrated it in all that they do. As conflicted as we were with having to leave–we knew after a month we needed to continue our big adventure–taking solace knowing we will always have our “beautiful” Bali to come back to.