Been there done that, I know, but really, there is nowhere even similar to Bali. It’s not Bali’s fault that yobbos by the score, rank footy teams on drunken end of season trips, and other demented, culture blind knuckleheads visit the “Island of the Gods”. I wish they didn’t, but that doesn’t mean the essential Bali is finished; it’s actually the same as it ever was.
The same but different, “sama sama ‘tapi lain“. Because the intrinsic Balinese doctrine is entrenched in embracing change, flux, and basically flowing with whatever happens. A blend of Hindu, Buddhism and old style animist beliefs, it is the ultimate in anti-dogma, constantly evolving through exposure to other religions. That’s why they have rolled with the punches, and why the touristy parts of Bali have gone from dusty fishing villages to full bore party/shopping scenes in record time.
And incredibly – amidst the often garish behavior of tourists, the heathen performances of drugged and pissed party animals – the same way of life the Balinese have always cherished and chosen is still there. It is a surreal juxtaposition. There are sacred temples adjacent to nightclubs, ancient ceremonies within a yobbo’s spew of shopping malls, offerings to deities and demons so close to Maccas that the sweet aroma of burning incense competes with the reek of secret sauce.
Move away from the tourist shock Kuta/Legian mess and the original Bali is right there. The trendy young local punks never fly in the face of tradition either, they simply embrace both old and new. The same 18 year old Balinese guy you partied with all night can be seen at his temple the next day, in traditional dress, deferring to the many deities in the Balinese Hindu pantheon. Guarded by spectacular carved paras stone (a soft, compressed volcanic ash that is a sculptor’s dream) gates, there are thousands of temples around Bali. Gamelan orchestras chime the sounds of the exotic east, and within the temple walls it may as well be the year 1400. In reality, for a Balinese the temple is never far away – every traditional Balinese home has its own temple as an integral part of the grounds.
Read the full story, here.
Source: Tracks Magazine | Text & Photos: David Sparkes