Now we are home I am spending time refecting on our holiday and trying to capture what it was that I loved so much about Bali. I have travelled quite a bit and love many parts of the world but there was something about Bali - but what was it?
Some thoughts (and I am sure many have other ideas)
Sitting curled up on my day bed as the afternoon ends, sipping a drink and looking out of rice fields and 'jungle' with no sound apart from the water rushing though the creek, an odd monkey call and the rustle of the evening breeze through the trees.
The smell of the incense as they place offerings on the shrines, ground and trees around our verandah.
The fact that religion is not just a part of their life, but their life is part of their religion.
The smiles - not just from hotel staff, which you tend to expect, but sitting in a car at a traffic light and a motorbike with mum, dad and two kids draws up next to you. I look out of the window and am greated by wonderful smiles from total strangers.
When commenting about something I like about Bali, a Balinese person will place their hands together, give a little nod and say thank you - they are genuinely happy that something has made me happy (even if they had nothing to do with it)
The wet season - watching the clouds move across the sky at a rate of knots, not knowing what the weather will be like in 5 minutes time. The humid days, which slow you down, then the evenings when the rain often comes along with a breeze which brings with it the smell of the frangipani and other flowers.
Sitting in a restaurant having a meal when suddenly the heavens open, and I sit entranced watching the rain dance off the plants, pour through the thatch of the restauarant, and watch the staff greet the bedragled new customers seeking shelter from the rain., getting towels for them and generally making sure that the children are dried off.
Everyone in the restaurant moving their tables into the middle of the room so that the people on the outside don't get wet. Instead of nicely separated individuals, we are suddenly a large group clustered together in the middle, and hey suddenly we say hello to each other.
Lastly, yes I enjoy feeling a little rich - suddenly I can afford cocktails, massages every day, and don't have to look at the prices on the menu because I can afford everything. But that is not really what makes it so special, it really is the people, the environment and that something spiritual that I just can't name.
I guess I am in love with Bali.