Going to Bali was one of the first places I’ve visited/things I’ve done before my sister, Tanya. A shameful, selfish boast of a beginning to a blog entry, but I really can’t help but be a little bit proud ;)
First thing I noticed about Bali: it smelt GOOD.
What I loved about Bali was how different it was to anywhere else I’ve been. The structure of the temples, their oriental look as opposed to the deliberate detailing of castles and churches I’ve seen in places like Rome with my family. The cultural aspect of the holiday was definitely achieved – the guide who showed us around the temples told us about Balinese culture and the story of the temples. I kept on wondering since the arrival in Bali what the card trays of flowers, food and incense (i.e why Bali smells so good) was about, and it turns out that it’s an offering to the spirits every day (sometimes presented both morning and evening), thanking them for all that they’ve been given. A pretty nice sentiment we could all submerse ourselves in a bit more really – not necessarily thanking spirits for an Atheist and a sceptic like myself, but you get my drift and my attempt to be philosophical ;)
Me and Alan went to Bali Zoo, where we were able to ride Sumatran elephants that have all been rescued and are now taken care of at the zoo. Riding an elephant is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, and it lived up to all of my expectations. It was quite rocky, but in a slow, soothing way – you felt like you could ride an elephant everywhere and make it your primary form of transport. On the downside, you’d always be late, but then it’s so cool you wouldn’t particularly care. We took part in the ‘animal encounters’, which involved us having a Binturong (an Asian bearcat, look it up – funny animal!) around our necks, holding and kissing a crocodile, and stroking a tiger (7 months old). Anyone who knows me understands how much I love cats, especially the Big Cats (with the exception of my own domestic cats back at home), so I was literally jumping up and down in my seat. A whole day devoted to animals makes me very, very happy.
One thing I can’t forget to mention is something that’s very popular in Bali, and that’s surfing. I was determined to go surfing on this holiday, and it was incredible. Seeing as the last time I went surfing I had a surfboard to the face and almost broke my nose, I was a little bit wary of my accident prone self. But obviously, being on the UEA Surf Committee back home, I couldn’t (and no way would anyway) develop a fear of surfing! Alan had been surfing once before, so it was decided he’d have a lesson, and because you would be coached in intimate groups of 3, I thought I might as well have a lesson to be told how to improve too. The teaching in Bali is a lot more catered to the attitude that you will be carrying on surfing as a long-term thing – they taught you more than just what you’d need to do, but about the waves too, so you actually understand why you’re doing what they tell you. The waves were perfect and I felt myself get a lot better. Nothing is quite like that self-satisfaction after a day of surfing. It was also amazing not to be constricted by a wetsuit in the bitter cold of English seas.
We had a couple of days relaxing on the beach too, and were able to go out to restaurants every night because they’re pretty cheap in Bali. Basically, Bali was the perfect holiday, with just the right amount of activities and relaxation.