woensdag 26 januari 2011

World Wednesday: Beautiful Bali

January just doesn't seem to get out of the way. It's like the cold, grey weather is here to stay. These days make me long for tropical places where I can just put on my slippers in the morning and pop outside. To places where tropical birds sing their vibrant songs and the smell of flowers is abundant.

Or the smell of incense.. Like on Bali. To me the most beautiful place on earth. I had the chance to visit when I was three months in Indonesia for work. I stayed in a small guesthouse in the middle of rice paddies. Every morning when I left the guesthouse, I could spot small offerings of flowers, rice and incense everywhere I walked. On my doorstep, on at the entrance of the compound, on the sidewalks, steps, statues.. With these daily offerings the Balinese appease the various gods of Balinese hinduism. Women and men make these offerings fresh every day, plaiting palm leaves into small baskets or patterns to keep away evil spirits.

Spirituality and nature are integral parts of everyday life for the Balinese and you see this reflected in the island's architecture. Wood, bamboo and rattan are everywhere, earth tones are dominant, and thatched roofs abound. Combined with gorgeous green landscapes, the houses ooze relaxing, contemplative vibes. Simple and elegant.

And did I mention the rich Balinese culture - painting, sculpture, woodcarving, handcrafts, and performing arts? The fantastic food? Oh well, let's hold you up no longer, I'll take you there with some pictures! Some are from my own journey there, others are from the great book Living in Bali, by Taschen.

View from the guesthouse and me relaxing. Not meant to make you jealous.. No really! :)

Balinese offerings
Want to see some pictures of Balinese houses? Then brace yourself  'cause here we go. The pictures are from the book Living in Bali and the houses are mostly from foreigners, but you get a good view of Balinese style.

These homes are clearly from foreigners, because showers in Bali are mostly 'open air'. It was the most amazing experience when I discovered the bathing room in my gueshouse. A place like a little garden, with loose stones on the floor, flowers coming down the wall, and except for a small roof, open air. A tap with which to put water in a bucket, and water yourself with a big spoon.

'My' shower.. :)
Typical for Balinese style, no walls!

I know, I know, too good to be true, this tree house!

Impossible to end this post without a picture of frangipani. The flower that - can I really say that? yes I can - changed my life. The most delicate, sweet perfume, a flower that carries hope, love and sunshine with it. I currently have a flowering hyacinth on my table, that does a very good job of bringing a wonderful smell as well!

Well, that was World Wednesday for today. Hope you liked the journey. Let me know if you have tips for this weekly column. Have a nice day! 

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