Upon arriving in Bali, I didn’t know what to expect. I’d seen the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” and knew it was a tropical island with its share of yogis. I knew it would be hot and humid. I had guessed the food would be fresh and aromatic with local spices and lots of rice. But what I didn’t expect was that its residents would be so kind!
Our Balinese guides, Windia and Suwin, went out of their way to make our group feel welcome. Upon arrival at the airport, we were each met with a lei of the omnipresent plumeria (or frangipani) flower, and their fragrance stayed with us for the remainder of the trip.
For the next several days, our guides regaled us with stories about their culture.
Bali’s inhabitants are mostly Hindu, practicing Balinese Hinduism, which is a blend of Shivaism and Buddhism. Everywhere we went, we saw beautiful small offerings, or Canang sari, daily devotional gifts to their gods— and to appease evil spirits. The offerings are placed on the ground, in small alcoves in walls and in temples. Made of braided palm leaves into the shape of a small square basket, the offerings are filled with frangipani, incense and usually a little morsel of food. They were so beautiful, colorful and delicate, like little works of art that greeting us new each morning.
Our group was welcomed at a local family’s home, where they offered us the traditional Balinese tea and homemade sweets. My favorite was made with sticky rice, coconut and brown sugar and then wrapped in palm fronds. The time and effort that surely went into wrapping each tiny pocket of rice cake didn’t go unnoticed. While we were there, we were able to watch the grandmother, whose family had lived on the compound for 9 generations, construct the daily offerings with her granddaughter.
The Balinese were always ready with a smile and with the hands-together hand gesture (as if praying) to say thank you. And despite the gorgeous weather, the wonderful snorkeling and cuisine to knock your socks off, I’d say the Balinese people were definitely the unexpected icing on the cake!
I highly suggest everyone take at least one exotic trip in their lifetime! Check out our 2019 Calendar and find your trip of a lifetime – STI 2018 Calendar
Submitted by Vicki ~ STI Concierge for our Singles Sailing Adventure Bali & Indonesia