Friday, December 9, 2011

Back from Bali...

We are finally settled back in from our 2 week getaway to the beautiful island of Bali; the jet lag lingered around a bit but we finally shook it off. It was our second time there (last was 2008), and this trip was just as incredible and magical as the last. The culture, traditions, people, beaches, villages, resorts, temples, restaurants…all amazing and unlike anywhere we’ve traveled before. In my opinion, it is a must for any traveler who loves to indulge in breathtaking scenery, kind & welcoming people, beautiful beaches, unbelievable dining experiences (seriously – like nowhere we’ve ever been!), fabulous shopping (make sure to bring extra bags for your trip home), and a mix of 3rd world life meets luxury accommodations. For us, this translates to bliss!

In Bali, there are endless sights to see and places to explore. Motorbikes buzz around every corner of the major towns in a harmonious symphony (I’m still not quite sure how it all works, but somehow it does!), and from dawn till dusk every native has a job to do – whether it’s heading to the market at 5am to begin the day’s cooking tasks (the women of the households do this daily – often before they start their 8am jobs at the local resort, spa or restaurant), or heading to the rice paddies, or running a local small shop, each person in Bali has a very active day – much longer (and in most cases, more hard-working) than any Westerner. It’s quite extraordinary, really.

We traveled primarily on the south west coast (Uluwatu, Seminyak, Canggu), with a 2-day trip to Ubud mixed in halfway through the trip. Each area has something different to offer, and each as fascinating as the next. In only a mere 3 years since we last traveled there, it has already changed quite a bit – new developments litter the horizon of most towns, and global retailers like Quiksilver, Hurley and Billabong have since taken over local retail space to put up their modern, Westernized stores…boldly sticking out amongst the authentic and charming ma ‘n pop shops that have made up the “eat street” area in Seminyak for years – known as one of the best shopping locations in Bali. It is unfortunate to see how quickly things can change; the traffic was double compared to our last trip, and it is very apparent that more global retailers will quickly be taking over the local boutiques and restaurants to land the prime real estate that the island offers. So, if you haven’t been to Bali yet, I’d add it to your travel to-do list in the next couple years, if you can!! I can only imagine how different it will be when we plan our next trip.

Although much has changed over recent years, Bali remains truly extraordinary – the natives hold onto their tradition and culture like nowhere I’ve ever been – while the development of the island is changing daily, they do not allow their beliefs to be “modernized.” Twice a day, every day, they give offerings to the Gods in appreciation and hope. These offerings are scattered amongst the streets, outside of every store, every restaurant, every business you come upon…little boxes made of banana leaves, there to keep the locals safe, healthy, and happy, while giving the Gods thanks for all they have provided that day and will provide in the days ahead.

I’ve included a few pics below to share our experience…hope you enjoy!