Friday, 10 January 2014

Bali beckons

Well here we are in beautiful Bali. The weather is glorious despite the forecast predicting rain every day. Here's one of the stone carvings dotted all over the extensive gardens of the hotel.





Yesterday we hired a car, driver and guide. I wanted my young friend to see some of the favourite places I'd enjoyed on my many previous visits to this enchanted island. Many things have changed. When I first visited Bali in 1965 it only had one hotel (The Bali Beach Hotel in Sanur). Thai International only flew to Bali once a week from Bangkok, so there were never more than three of four hundred tourists on the island at one time. It's a bit different now with hundreds of hotels and millions of tourists arriving every year. However There are still many places to visit where you can enjoy Bali without the hassle.
Our first stop was in Mas - home of the woodcarvers. Here's one of them at work. I like the way they make use of their feet.


And this is one of the carvings.


We were aiming to get to Lake Bratan and Bedugul where the 17th Century Pura Ulun Danube Bratan temple, built on a small island is dedicated to the goddess of the lake, Dewi Danu.


Walking around the beautifully manicured gardens and various temples we saw a variety of interesting sights. Here's a few.














Now to my favourite part of Bali - the rice terraces in the west. We drove around countless hairpin bends squeezing our way past oncoming vehicles on the narrow roads which all seem to fit just one and a half cars. Nearer the villages the roads were swarming with hundreds of motorbikes which together sounded like swarms of angry wasps. We couldn't believe that not once did we see a crash. Hundreds of near misses but no real contact. I had been led to believe that the Balinese had somehow learned the technique of enabling water to flow upwards in some of the devious patterns in the terraces. But my young friend didn't believe me. So we feasted our eyes on the patterns as we drove around the lavish green countryside.












And one of the rice planters


To round off today's blog I'll post a few photographs of scenes around the hotel starting with the little Hindu temple in the garden.














It's so tranquil here.


Much nicer than the dreary and uncomfortable airport lounge in Azerbaijan!

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