My two month love affair with the “Island of the Gods” ended this week. While I have plans to return in the next months, I do feel the island’s beauty deserves a photographic portrayal all its own.
Having avoided the typical tourist scene, you will not find pictures of the famous Tanah Lot temple or Balinese dancers, but a small collection of personal photographs of homes, paddies, and monkeys that I fell in love with. When I return I will take the path worn down by muddy sandals worn with socks and capture the scenery, but for now, this is what I have to offer.
A traditional Balinese offering. Any one offering contains a multitude of objects, bits of food, cigarettes, holy water, incense, flowers: all offered twice a day, every day, at various entrances to houses and rooms, driveways and rice paddies. Offerings serve two purposes: to appease and worship the many Hindu gods and to ward off evil spirits and demons.
Although Indonesia has an incredible disparity in wealth and struggles to feed its own people, the tourism industry brings Westerners in by the boat (and plane) loads. Development has injured the island immensely. You will find families living in a shack unfit for one person, let alone five, just one hundred feet from an immaculate three-story villa. In unparalleled poverty, their spirituality and faith prevail. I have found that the poorest villages live a life far richer than I could ever imagine. For they are happy with less, thrive on nothing and believe in everything.