Today we are in Bali, deep in a busy harbour with a progression of jets from around the world passing over the ship, landing at the adjacent airport. It is amazing to see the progression of aircraft and ship arriving and departing with tourists.
Traffic is almost unbearable as one tries to travel across the island. Thousands of motor scooters buzz around you in all directions, passing at the strangest locations and ridden by residents of all ages and gender. While back home only two people are customary on a bike, in Bali whole families ride on the scooters along with a myriad of packages.
Our tour went first to the beach community where the shops and hotels were five star and opulent and known for their beach locations and Indonesian cuisine. After the beach we headed for two of the larger Hindu temples on the island. Bali is 85% Hindu and the temples date back to the mid 1600’s. It is interesting to note that offerings are made to the gods each morning in Bali in the form of a small plate of flowers, food and incense. Outside of all shops, high class or low class, a filled plate is present in the morning. The Imperial Palace temple, as do all temples, have a number of courtyards. The outer courtyard is for cock fights which continue to this day in spite of being illegal at locations other than temples. The origin of the cock fight is the shedding of blood which is essential to their religion as a form of sacrifice.
With the majority of the ship’s crew being from Bali, the day in port enabled them to either visit with family in their homes or bring family members on board for a tour and a visit to the ice creme stand on the Lido deck. The ship bends over backwards to facilitate this day and passengers join in by leaving notes for the staff to spend time with their families and NOT make up our beds, freshen our towels or clean the bathrooms. Not really a hardship for any of us!
Like the last time we were here, Bali will not go down as a highlight as there are just too many people, too much traffic and almost an obscene contrast between the poor and the rich. While the countryside is lush, the terraced rice fields unique, the beaches beautiful and clean, the very hot tropical climate is not one in which I can get comfortable.