I don’t know about you, but my idea of a paradise island is completely natural, with trees and grass all around, with little paths snaking through fields giving surprises and delights at each corner: a hidden stream with fresh flowing water, a huge tree with birds nesting in it, a serene temple standing in the rice paddies, a cow wandering in a field its cowbell ringing, happy villagers in a procession, brightly coloured in their temple best, offerings on their heads, a bunch of school kids perched precariously on too-big bicycles tottering down a path, a magical waterfall spraying our faces as we pass. There’s a gentle breeze blowing, the sound of the birds and insects in the air. In the distance a temple gamelan orchestra is practicing.
This is magic, this is mystery, this is the joy of discovery, the delight of beauty, the charm of culture. This is what makes Bali a real paradise.
Why have we forgotten this? Is our desperation to build more, to fill every square meter of land with rooms for people to come to Bali, only to see rooms waiting for people to come to Bali, and to see rooms full of people poised one on top of the other in little boxes, waiting for their turn to go to the souvenir shop and the night club? Is this really what we want?
Text By Alistair Speirs