Ke Sera Sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future`s not ours to see
Ke Sera Sera
This little song in a nutshell defines the philosophy of the people of Bali. I had the good fortune to visit Bali recently and was absolutely floored by it. Sun, sand and water for everyone to enjoy!
We stayed at the Karthika plaza, adjacent to Discovery Mall. The plaza was on the beach and you could see the sea glittering in the sunlight if you looked out the window! Talk about waking up to a good sight in the morning 🙂 The rooms were super luxurious and the organisers had taken pains to have Indian food on the menu so we were absolutely comfortable with the settings.
Once we had arrived we quickly refreshed ourselves and set out for Benova beach. The prime attractions at the beach were a variety of sea sports like Para-sailing, banana boat riding, fly surfing and much more! Para-sailing was absolutely amazing! The parachute looks pretty solid from the ground but wont seem to be much when you`re hundreds of feet up in the air suspended from it! The view from that height was amazing! You could literally see the whole of Bali island. If you looked down, the clear sea water would let you see the corals beneath!
Next we went to Turtle Island, which as the name suggests, is an island where they breed turtles. I had never seen such huge turtles before going there. We also got to see huge snakes, birds and cock-fights 🙂 While going there, we got to travel in boats with a glass pane at the bottom, which allowed us to see the corals at the sea bottom. The boatman threw bread to the water and we were swamped by fishes of all colors. It was a great sight!
The sculptures of Bali are amazing. They emphasize on bringing out the ferocity and strength of whatever they create – take a look at my photo album to see how awesome their sculptures are. They are predominantly Hindu in Bali. They worship the pandavas and four giant statues of the pandavas spread across Bali. We got to look at three, while we were there – a statue of Ghatotkacha( Asura son of Bhima ) , Bhima and Arjuna. All three were magnificent but it was the statue of Ghatotkacha that was most captivating to me. It showed Ghatotkacha landing on Karna`s chariot, challenging him to a fight. For those who are a bit weak in mythology, Karna had obtained a divine weapon that he could use once to fill any foe. He and Arjuna were bitter rivals and he was reserving this to kill Arjuna. However, if Arjuna had been killed, the pandavas would have surely lost. So Ghatotkacha challenged Karna to a fight, and made him use the fatal weapon on himself, thus sacrificing his own life to save Arjuna. The people of Bali adore Ghatotkacha for the spirit of self sacrifice, and so built the statue, showing magnificently the strength and grandeur of the hero.
Next we went on a cruise. We saw the sunset from the ship – it was a beautiful sight. Then there was the entertainment – a joker, a singer and a group of dancing gals. We saw the traditional Bali dance and then a variety of dances – Modern, etc. The only thing that changed in those were the dresses of the gals 😀 The joker was excellent and kept us all in splits with his antics. The only sore point on the cruise was the food – it was all almost raw sea food!
The next day we rented a cab and went to see a volcano. The volcano was not active now and had last erupted some seventy years back. The amount of damage a single eruption had done was amazing! The entire country side was reduced to a black charred mass. It was an odd black mark against the beautiful lake beside it. We watched all this from an adjacent hill and enjoyed the view. We also saw how Bali shawls are made and bought one for my mom 🙂 We headed to Monkey Forest, which was on the way back. The monkeys there had no fear of humans whatsoever and would jump on you if you were carrying any food! Everywhere you see, there`ll be monkeys. For all the monkeys in there, the place is well maintained and very clean. We also paid a visit to the palace of the Bali royalty. It wasn’t like a palace and the royal people were sitting outside just like ordinary persons. A headband is the only indication that they were royalty!
Next we went to see Tenelot temple. It is built on a rock jutting out into the sea and is very picturesque. We got to see the customary band for the temple playing. The view from there was amazing, the sparkling sea is a treat to watch. Around Tenelot, there was a shopping area and we indulged ourselves there. The sculptures there were amazing! Rama, Sita, elephants, all were carved in typical Bali style, which carves human figures with slender bodies and elongated faces. When we returned to the hotel, we attended a party where Mitha, an Indian singer entertained us. The final moment was when Chak De song was played and we all waved Indian flags! It was a fitting end to a great trip!
While on the return journey home, our plane ran into bad weather near Chennai. It was raining like hell, with flashes of lightning every few seconds. There was a muslim family on board the plane. The women and kids were heavily decked in jewellery. Every time the plane shaked, the little gals of the family would go “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH”, like you would on a roller coaster. The man was not helping things either – he sat near the window and was giving a loud running commentary of what was happening in tamil. ” Erenga vanthan ma, pusukinu eduthitan”, ” Apdiuyae megatha pozhanthitu kela porum” and other such stuff. Classic comedy!