The spirit of Bali
Close your eyes! Are they closed?… Of course not, if not, you would not be reading these lines right now!
Imagine a place where time has no importance.
Imagine a place where humid heat meets all the colors of the rainbow, where lush vegetation makes room for paradise like resorts, where every “Hello” is accompanied by a smile, where detailed architectural ornaments of temples are next to zen style spas, where rich and poor people do their everyday ballet in harmony.
Harmony! That’s the sense that you’re left with after all of your senses are bombarded with various stimuli that should not be together. But Balinese seem to be amazing chefs: they have found a way to harmoniously balance different ingredients that normally are not in the same recipe.
In such a paradisiac place you are invited to explore a different face of the island every day. And that is precisely what we did.
We hired a private driver for two days who took us on a discovery tour around the northern part of the isle. In a spice plantation we learned how to grow vanilla, white and black pepper, cacao, different types of tea, ginger, cinnamon and of course the famous luwak coffee – the most expensive coffee in the world (which is eaten and then pooed by a mongoose, dried, roasted and grinded – yummy… not!). People say that gives the coffee a more intense flavor with hints of musk and caramel. Zeb agreed!
The main culture in Bali is rice (of course!) and everywhere you go you can see it on the side of the road. But the most spectacular rice terraces are Tegallalang and Jatiluwih – which is so impressive that Unesco included it in their list of World Heritage sites. The hard work necessary to keep the terraces functional is easily seen on the faces of the farmers working on them.
All that rice needs a lot of water to grow and with all those rivers and springs around us, we could not stop ourselves from jumping into it. The intense everyday heat demanded for extreme chilling methods, be it in a sacred spring or on a 18 km long, 3 hours rafting adventure which started on a 2700 m high volcano and continued through rice fields, palm trees plantations and small villages.
And with such a massive volcano on the island it’s no wonder that you can find black sand beaches with azure water on the northern part of Bali. The dolphins at least seem to like it, as they come visit every morning.
Any tour would not be complete without the diverse Balinese temples. But that’s another story that you can read in a different post – go look for it!