Before I left for vacation, I was in a WTF Korea mood. I could peg it on lack of sunshine or nutty kids or bad school food kimchi, but mostly I was just in the kind of funk that only a vacation can cure. It worked really well and so has having dear friends return to Korea for another year of teaching. Sunshine and fresh fruit (and my best girlfriends upon my return) really helps me to put life into perspective!
Bali, for me, can be summed up in one word: genuine. We interacted with people in tons of settings from one night in a resort in Sanur to taxi and bus drivers, waiters and brahmans, market hawkers and people mixing pig blood into rice for offerings to Hindu gods. They all had smiles and seemed truly interested in sharing Balinese culture and information with us. It’s easy to think that this was part of their job, but along with the fact that many people we spoke with would not benefit monetarily, the ones that stood to benefit were really polite! If you’ve ever traveled and had the opportunity to go to a market, you’ve probably been chased down or harassed or just felt generally harangued after the experience. In Bali, you say no, and they say okay. It was very refreshing.
Another thing I really enjoyed was Balinese indirectness. In Korea, some people have a tendency to be quite blunt and to a Westerner, it can seem very rude (and sometimes, it just plain is). But in Bali, you’ll be told things in a very roundabout way. For example, one morning the incredible D and I were having breakfast at our jungle-setting villa outside of Ubud (!) and the server asked us if we wanted more tea or coffee, how were we enjoying our breakfast (melon slices and bubur ayam–yum!), what were our plans for the day, oh, the driver to take you to the elephant park is here by the way. We were immediately scrambling trying to leave, but he just kinda waved at us and said he’d wait. This would never happen in Korea. It was amazing.
If I were to take the time to share with you every single detail of the trip, you’d be reading for hours. And the big interest is of course, the photos. So I’ll be posting photos from each place we went along with some anecdotes for the next few days to break it up for ease of readers and for me, the blogger.
Now I’m back in Korea and there’s a lot in life sorting itself out, but do know that I am still devoted to chopsticks and seaweed for breakfast and hair bows.