Although the contest is officially over, balidiscovery.com will continue to share some of the many excellent entries received from Bali Update readers from around the world. This is from Patricia Kaler of Bloomington, Indiana (USA).
Bali, "the Island of Dreams," where one gets lost in the mystery and the magic; the history and the folklore; the harmony and the spirit both
of the land and the people.
If your dream is a "beach holiday come true," then select from the crowded beaches or a solitary experience. There is multiplicity of nightlife - from elegant open air restaurants to a simple table at
the seaside; the cuisine is lavish and fresh. Fruits of the Sea and fruits native to the island make eating and unforgetable delight. And
there's music from traditional gamelan in open pavilions to a mix of the old and new in the nightclub experience.
For the art collector, the Bali dream is rich and expansive. Not
only can the doorway itself be a carved wooden wonder - but in so many doorways one will see creativity in process. Woodcarvers, weavers,
fabric dyeing, embroidering, silver workers, basket makers, potters and bamboo artists are scattered in the villages across the island.
Bali is best seen on foot, when possible away from the traffic density on main roads. Balinese roads can be a parade route for escorting village deities to the sea in procession, or for cremation ceremonies in procession, or for filing to local temples dressed in elegant festival tradition.
Bali landscape tells the story of the people. Balinese celebrating mindfulness and respecting the land. Even the steepest land is terraced in rice paddies hugging the hillsides. The varying stages of planting creates a scope of shades of green that mesmerize the senses along with the warm sun drenched breeze. Ancient irrigation of aquaducts, dams and sluces bring life to the new and mature fields lying neighbor to each other. Abundant harvests are the repayment for the intensity of work. Balinese maintain harmony through mindfulness of the land, the gods and of each other. Smiles are easily attained and deeply etched in the faces as smiles journey outward from the soul. One feels the
contentment in Balinese people. They find their rightful place in the middle ground between their belief in Divine spirits dwelling in the mountains and the tradition of dark forces lurking in the sea. Temples dot the mountainsides in reverence and in magnificent procession, offerings are carried and emptied into the sea.
An example of the mystery of Bali can be seen at sunset in White Herron Village. At the call of dusk thousands of white herron birds come to this one street to circle overhead before landing in trees lining the streets. By sunset the trees are covered in white. The birds stay the night and leave in the morning.
Is there magic in the light of the setting sun or a voice of spirit creating the majesty of this ritual?
While all of the above make a Bali Dream Vacation, there is one yet richer experience for me.
As I write this entry, Callista is two and Jett is one year old. They live in Bali with their mommy who was born in Bandung, West Java, and their daddy from Oswego, N.Y., U.S.A.. I am their grandmother.
Every Sunday their daddy takes them to the sea. Children in Bali are most respected for being closest to the heavens and they are carried everywhere to keep their feet from touching the dirty soil of the earth. My babies are allowed the exception on Sundays, while they play in the sand and the sea. Every Sunday, from my home in the United States, I bless the rich Balinese traditions, the harmony and the mindfulness which are molding the lives of my grandchildren. Every Sunday, as the sea washes away their growing footprints, I bless them as I am also blessed by a Bali dream come true.
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