My First Seven Weeks in Bali

since writing about my first time in bali yesterday i have been thinking about it a lot. i was actually lying awake last night remembering those first seven weeks…

back then in 1986 i rented a small room from kasta’s family. i can’t remember that anyone else was staying there at the time, but i soon made friends with other backpackers that stayed in similar homestays (or ‘losmens’ as they are called in indonesia) around ubud. that seemed to be the main accommodation available in those days, apart from the hotel tjampuan.

i explored the area mainly by foot, which was easy back then since there wasn’t much traffic on the roads. and the rice fields hadn’t turned into bungalow fields yet either…

and i started to learn a few words in indonesian to answer the questions of locals i met on my walks. like: ‘mau kemana?’ (where are you going?), ‘dari mana?’ (where are you coming from?), ‘sudah makan?’ (have you eaten yet?)…

but mostly the balinese will greet you with a smile and a raise of their eyebrows which means something like ‘hi, i can see you. how are you?’ and it’s one of the things i fell in love with and that i miss so much in other parts of the world.



right from the beginning i felt really at home in this part of the island. i loved the lush tropical vegetation, the warm scented air, the beautiful smiles of the balinese people, their natural artistic way of life… and i only went on a couple of trips to see the volcano and the beach. life in the village was fascinating. whether it was going to temple ceremonies at night to see dancers performing for the gods or simply washing my clothes at the public baths down by the creek near my house (in those days most balinese families didn’t have a bathroom yet and went to the ‘panjoran’ – a water pipe coming out of the side of the hill with fresh spring water – for their showers and laundry).

and so the seven weeks passed and my love affair with bali had begun.

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