There were two reasons I wanted to visit Bali - the people and their way of life. My mum had previously been to Bali and when she got back home and relayed her stories to us, I was sold! I saved up, east Asia and Bali were my first destinations of choice.
We arrived in Denpasar, a seaport on the southern coast, and took a cab to Kuta. Bali's cities are a harmonious mix of contemporary buildings amidst exquisitely crafted and decorated temples and shrines. These countless temples and shrines spread out on nearly every road across the city. Along the streets of Kuta, it's restaurant, hotel, shop, spa, shrine - repeated in basically that order. Everything is in perfect contrast: new and old, modern and traditional, religion and lifestyle. Even the airport, as modern as it is, is adorned with traditional temple styled architecture and structures.
Religion plays a huge role in the Balinese way of life. The various temples and shrines throughout are frequented daily. The Balinese people give 'offerings' each day. These comprise of flowers and incense in a neatly made palm leaf holder. They are left outside homes, businesses, on building steps, at temples and shrines. By the afternoon the streets are literally littered with the day's offerings. And with that, each morning everyone plays their part in cleaning and sweeping around their homes, businesses and streets in preparation for the day's offerings. The offerings aren't only presented to Gods, but to appease and ward off demons as well, and many shrines are decorated with detailed sculptures of both.
The people are by far some of the friendliest, kindest, down-to-earth people I have ever met. It doesn't matter how much or little they have, they always treat everyone with kindness and respect. The majority of people weren't exceeding wealthy and don't have many luxuries and live very humble lives,and are happy and content with whatever they have. They're hard working from a young age, honest and whatever their job, they are driven to provide a simple and happy life for their families. I completely fell in love with their resolve.
In some strange way Bali will always be a special place to me. A part of me will always wish I was born there, to live that pure and simple island life.