Flying East to the Sun - Bali

We have just returned from another wonderful adventure exploring the peaceful island of Bali and the hustle-bustle of a vibrant Hong Kong.

What stood out most for both David and I were the people. The acceptance of the way things are with no aggression experienced in any way in both areas. I find it fascinating, as I have often ranted about the demise of Tibet by the concerted efforts of the Chinese. While Hong Kong is hardly China, I was wooed and converted to enjoying the politeness, the helpfulness and apparent will to please a visitor not to mention the astonishing shopping opportunities, color and places to visit.

We meandered through Bali in a concerted effort to see as much as we could in heavy humidity and high temperatures. We managed to view rice fields, sip chais and explore beaches too. The villages are clean and filled with people who buzz around on their scooters with one to five people clinging onto the handle bars and seats.

We dodged stealing monkeys in Ubud, marveled at patient fishermen near the volcanic lake and enjoyed Lewark coffee - which has the civet as host before the bean is cleaned and roasted to make a mild and delectable flavor. We also sipped our way through teas ranging from mango to lemon grass and milky chai. All quite delicious.

We encountered quite a lot of wildlife on our journeys and while we never really needed to slash our way through the jungle, we experienced enough wild-ness to be delighted we were in a well run resort near the beach. The traditional dancers were as dramatic and well made up as expected and the ice-cream was as good as if not better than any Italian Gelato we've ever tasted.

While driving through the villages of Bali an apparent spirituality pervades the air. Hindu temples seem to be around every corner with small shrines which are cared for daily found on pavements, near homes and at the entrance to every shop or alley. Buddahs sit silently with hands raised for blessings. Lotus flowers stand proudly for days opening and closing with the sun. Mandalas appear in nooks and corners so people pause and reflect.

The crafters are meticulous and work quietly with a simple nod of head as acknowledgement to re-focus on their skills. We met batik makers, spinners, calligraphers and weavers. I was amazed to see women crocheting as well, with mask makers and carvers following their family traditions. So the apprentice is very much respected and proud to be carrying on skills learned and unchanged over centuries.

We enjoyed our afternoon constitutional which was marginally cooler than the day time - at least the sun was down. We participated in beach volley ball - as spectators I add hastily. Watched fishermen wade out at low tide to catch their evening meal - small fish to make a stew. It is kite season at this time of year and children run on the beach testing their kite for the festivals coming up where all sorts of rules apply - no cutting of strings, height of flight is important as is balance. All very exciting.

After our restful time in Bali, our next destination was Hong Kong where we arrived in a grade 8 typhoon, but more about that next time.

As ever, keep well and warm.