In March, 2010 Karyn and Jay set off for the island of Bali for a part business trip part vacation, and part life experience sort of trip. With the island of Java to the west and Lombock to the east, Bali (pop. 3.5 million) is the only Hindu province surrounded by the remaining 33 muslim provinces of Indonesia. Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world with over 18,000 islands. We agree with Margaret Mead’s assessment “Bali is an enchanted land of aesthetes at peace with themselves and nature”. Balinese Hinduism is deeply interwoven with art and ritual, daily offerings and daily celebrations. Bali's tourism brand is Bali Shanti Shanti Shanti. ("Shanti" (शान्ति) meaning peace). The perfect birth place of our malas.
Distance between Boulder, Colorado, United States and Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, as the crow flies: 9151 miles (14727 km) (7952 nautical miles) which equals an approx. 21 hours worth of air travel and 14 hour time difference with Karyn stopping in Seoul Korea, and Jay stopping in Taiwan (took separate flights, long story). $1USD=10,000 Rupiah made for rather simple conversion. Avg. temp. while we were there 90 degrees with 87% humidity. We were told it WASNT the hot season. We always seemed wet with sweat, ocean water, pool water or from a shower.
Language = difficult. With over 350 native languages in use the most common one is Bahasa Indonesian, we got a few key phrases down, the one we most used was terima kasih (thank you). When Karyn, using her handy dandy dictionary, gave directions to the driver in Bahasa Indonesian she was given a long response in maybe Bahasa, none of which she could understand! Lesson learned. Gratefully many people new a touch of English, some very well.
We are grateful to our friends, business partners and hosts Soma and Shiva for letting us stay at their beautiful villa in Pecatu, near Ulu Watu. We adored meeting our new friends Kunda and Sangeeta (and fellow band members of Sankirtan) from Byron Bay. We are so happy to have met all of Soma and Shiva’s beautiful staff (Made, Made and Made, the Balinese have only four names for family members denoting birth order and caste) who did all our cooking, laundry, driving, cleaning, and the occasional massage! We were so glad to finally put some faces to those we work with at Aum Rudraksha/BaliMalas. and to see their offices. We were touched to meet Robin Lim of Bumi Sehat, it is often to hear of those trying to change the world, but to actually meet someone who IS was truly a blessing and very humbling. The Bali Spirit Festival was the culmination of our trip and as always an inspiring time for Karyn to be with her teacher Shiva Rea, at the sacred Monkey Forest Temple and given the treat to visit the inner most sanctum of this temple after performing the first ever western Kecak dance there!
We were in Bali for two weeks, which felt like at least a month. We traveled from the southern most point at Soma’s villa on Bingin Beach on the Bukit to the northern island of Menjangan island for the most incredible snorkeling/scuba. We loved staying at Taman Sari so much we expended it a night, and sponsored a baby coral in their reef project there. We stayed in Ubud at the Mansion, in the center of the island and drove scooters everywhere (on the opposite side of the road, a real experience in itself). Time, minds and hearts were all expanded. Our tans are beginning to fade and peel but I can still smell the scent of frangipani in our clothes. As a friend told me, sometimes the real trip begins once you come home. We are finding this to be very true.