30 October 2011

Bali is Beautiful

Bali is beautiful, and to say so risks swamping the beauty with tourists from everywhere, drawn already in the hullabaloo from Eat, Pray, Love, filling the rice fields with houses, filling the streets with motorbikes, filling the restaurants with computers and sunglasses, filling the pockets of the serving class, drivers and masseuses, with pocket change for us, a bare living wage for them, because it's a good deal for us and a matter of survival for them.
Bali is beautiful, despite the rain and the humid heat, which saps motivation and drive and the other hormones of the alpha male Westerner; despite the clamor in the rice fields at night forbidding sleep, from frogs, ducks, geckos, birds, crickets, and in the day from construction sites, ceaseless hammering, electric saws, cement mixers, motorbikes, more ducks and frogs and birds; the wind bringing more rain, distant thunder, even, once, an earthquake.
Bali is beautful, regardless of my definitions or cynicism or ceaseless quest to find meaning or beauty here; heedless of my intention to relax or produce; smiling in the face of my glum preoccupation with heat or humidity here or the cold rains of home; oblivious to my plans to depart for sandy shores, distant continents; uncaring of my scratching of the bites from invisible insect predators, mosquito nets notwithstanding; Bali beautiful in its own rain and quiet grace and narrow paths and unhurried pace, its ceremonial flowers and incense and decorated thresholds, its clean tile floors and ornate sculpted roofs and facades, its clangorous gamelan and haunting flute.
Bali is beautiful - leave it at that.

See also: "The Last Tourist" (Bali, 2007)

video footage: Bali gamelan drum group in ceremony near Candidasa