wouldn’t you want to……..take two

So, I keep dreaming.  And Bali is one of those places I keep dreaming about.  After stumbling across travel journalist Pico Iyer and his book Video Night in Kathmandu, all I’ve wanted to do was to get lost in Asia’s intricacies.

Bali is one of those countries where I don’t necessarily want to see this:

I want to see this:

However, I realize that this isn’t Bali in its entirety.  Thus, a few things abou this place:

1.  It’s an Indonesian island that boasts the highest amount of tourism in the country and is known for its arts (music, dance, and painting for example)

2.  Bali is still highly influenced by the Indian and Chinese, while Bali’s first European confrontation was with a Dutch explorer in the 1500s.

now for some good stuff,

3.  The island is only eight degrees south of the equator and it’s only 95 miles wide by 69 miles long.  AND it’s highest point is an active volcano that last errupted in March 1963.

4.  The capital is Despasar and the more resort oriented town is Kuta.  Iyer spends a lot of time writing about Kuta and Ubud, the interesting binaries exposed by this area made for a fast read.

5.  Coral reefs, beaches, black sand, the Black Giant Squirrel, the macaque

6.  Nearly 93% of the Balinese population practices Balinese Hinduism, which lends itself to some of the most amazing temples I will ever hope to see.

Unfortunately Bali has been striken with some bad press because of recent terrorist attacks (2000 and 2005).  Their economy has also been greatly affected by the attacks due to the fact that Bali does depend so intensely on tourism.  Which is another reason to visit, they continue to encourage the safety of the area and continue to invite visitors.

But I can attribute the real reason I wish to venture to Bali so badly to Pico Iyer’s well crafted words.  He depicted the country in such drastic differences living together on one island.  Hippie art colony and Marriots with reflecting pools and modern glassy hotel rooms.  Long flat beaches with lapping waves and the trecherous volcanic mountians just a few footprints away.  I want to see it all.  Experiencing the two extremes at once is such a romantic idea, encouraging one to explore their own unique binaries.

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