Despite my extensive travels and residences around the world, I knew very little about Bali or Spirit Tours. I also felt embraced and venerated by the Balinese people, who hold their elders in high regard.
Bali is a land of thousands of temples, many of which were established as early as 1,000 A.D. In these places of worship, holy men, withered and bent in old age, perform blessings for locals as well as any tourists willing to dress appropriately, in sarongs, and to learn the proper procedures to receive the blessings of prayer, with flowers and wetted rice, the latter of which was placed on our foreheads and in the hallows of our necks.
Bali’s landscape is comprised of luxurious rice fields, peaceful rolling hills, and open land thick with vegetation. The city of Ubud is the artistic and cultural center of Bali. There we enjoyed the elaborate costumes and choreography of delicate Balinese dancers as they told stories through traditional dances. With expressive make-up and bright and illustrious fabrics woven into native dresses, these quiet and unassuming performers were transformed into exciting and picturesque storytellers. I was mesmerized each and every time by them and the musicians who accompanied them.
The traffic was a tourist sight in and of itself. Don’t plan to drive in Bali. Even if you’re a passenger, it’s best to keep your eyes closed … it’s that scary. No stop lights, no traffic lanes, no right-of-way signs, and hundreds and hundreds of motorcycles, many loaded with families of three or four! And yet it worked.
Horn honking and road rage were noticeably absent. There were very few accidents, and no flipping anyone off. At one point, a funeral procession was making its way, on foot, down the center of a two-lane road. In a show of respect, all traffic stopped while ashes were cast off a bridge next to the road. No one
complained about the forty-five minutes it took to conclude the ceremony.
In addition to the sights and sounds and smells of this tiny island, the stand-out attraction is its people. The Balinese are uncomplicated, honest people who are devoted to the concept of karma. Put simply, those who are good, will receive good, and vice versa. Thus, there is relatively little crime in Bali. People truly love serving where they can bring joy into the lives of family, friends, and everyone they meet. Without exception,
I hope to return to Bali one day to see more temples, eat more delicious foods, and, most importantly, to visit the kind and generous Balinese people. I will always feel welcome there.
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