Tuesday, October 15, 2013

bali | street

I found Bali completely overwhelming for the first week of our trip. We walked the precarious footpaths of Ubud most days, stopping for fresh juice every now and then. In the past five years this once quiet town has attracted thousands of tourists; many with a mala around the neck and a yoga mat under the arm. It's the Byron Bay of Bali without the beach; rice paddies and jungle in lieu of gums and ocean. 

So what was so overwhelming? Well, it's easy to forget that Bali is rather third world. It is a land of contrast - you're in the luxury of a resort one minute and the next you're standing on a street with gaping holes in the footpath, burning rubbish beside you and motorbikes carrying a shop load of goods. It was this glorious contrast that I learnt to love; the energy of a busy town and the comfort of knowing the the quiet and the peace of the rice paddies was only minutes away. 


For that first week, as I attempted to settle into the pace, I used my camera to document the beauty, the busy and the spirit. Imagine all these scenes shrouded by the exhaust of a hundred scooters and the fine haze of incense. The soundtrack is a loud and passionate one; laughing, beeping, "Taxi?!" 


If I had of visited Bali for a week I wouldn't have returned. But a month? We're already planning another (longer!) trip. 


50 COMMENTS

  1. Love your photos SO much! I've never been to Bali...but I sense you have captured the essense of this facinating place!

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  2. Thanks for showing us a little of what Bali has to offer. I'm glad your time there improved, hopefully we will see a beautiful smile on your face in the next pics of you x

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    1. I don't think there are any more pics of me - I was always behind the camera! x

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  3. Stunning photos.
    I loved Ubud...so much beauty in both the bustle and the peace.

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  4. My parents in law just returned after a week and were completely overwhelmed. Not enough time to digest it all I guess. I think it's wonderful you could peer though your lens and zoom in on the beauty amidst the sometimes chaos. I adore the pops of colour against the muted greys. Must be nice to be back in your own bed though :) xx

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    1. It's actually nice to be back in my own kitchen - I missed my chicken stock. Ha! I loved all the beds I slept in in Bali; cocooned by mosquito nets - bliss.

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  5. Bali has been on my list of destination to get to for a long time. When we travel, we travel in the space of months or years even. In my personal opinion, you just can't properly experience a culture in less than a month so I'm glad to hear you observed this too. While Ubud intrigues me, I think the touristy factor would bother me a lot. I live just outside Byron Bay so I know what you mean! But Bali is certainly calling to me!

    www.redcatinn.com

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    1. Ubud is one of the least touristy towns and it's very easy to get away from the usual tourist destinations. There's lots of hidden gems x

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  6. Beautiful photos - love them all, the photos of the little girl and little old lady are truly stunning x

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  7. I felt exactly the same when I first moved to Athens, Greece, on impulse. Smog, car horns, people talking loudly and a hard-to-fathom oriental feel to the city with its uneven pavements made slippery from the pollution. I ended up working there for two years and now, two decades later, my heart still aches in memory of the glorious sensuality of this amazing country.

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  8. Thanks for the reminder. I miss that beautiful place! X

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  9. Such evocative words and pictures

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  10. stunning photos! so colourful

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  11. Take me there, now! What an amazing experience, so jealous. Glad you're home safe!

    bwaterloo.wordpress.com

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  12. oh jodi this post is simply stunning! i love it! its so interesting that you say if only a week you wouldn't have returned but longer and it seeped into you! love it xxxx

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  13. Wonderful! I would love to visit someday, it's just so very far away! Sometimes I get worried about visiting countries like Bali though, while I know the tourism is great for their economy, I have a soft heart for people living in poverty, I myself grew up in 'third world' conditions in south Florida and remember not having electricity or running water. I guess at times I would feel rather bad about enjoying a resort while people live in dire means, but, at the same time the resort is helping their local economy, so it wouldn't be too horrid. I'm such a conflicted person on these issues, I've been wanting to visit Jamaica now for so long, but I haven't for the same reasons! How did you feel about this dichotomy Jodi?

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    1. I wholeheartedly understand your concerns. I had the opportunity to speak to our beautiful driver, Wayan, about the economy and tourism. He says that whenever there is a big event in Bali (Miss World and APEC were both on in Bali while we were there) he gets nervous; he has a fear of terrorism. "After the Bali bombings we were all starving. We couldn't feed our children; it was so, so hard," he says.

      Bali depends on tourism. Full stop.

      We did a little bit of research re. accommodation before we left and I'll be honest with you - luxury hotels are not in our budget, even if they are in Bali. So, we spent most of our time in a little villa just outside of Ubud. The land was leased by the village to a group of internationals who wanted to build a small group of villas based on the concept of wabi-sabi. Every staff member is from the local village (the same street!) and the rice paddies beside the villas are worked by the local families who have been tending the fields for, quite literally, generations.

      We did enjoy a luxurious hotel for a few days but we found the villa worked best for us as a family; nothing was overly precious, we really got to know the locals and we felt like we experienced a more authentic side of Bali x

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    2. Thanks for your reply Jodi! I assumed that Bali was a tourist economy. It's nice to see people taking the time to research accommodations and their connections to local economy. I think if I visit Bali or some other place one day I'll probably look into one of those villas. :)

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  14. I know exactly what you mean! I wasn't ready when I went, my first real travelling experience, and it frightened and unnerved me. But I would really love to go back. Ubud was such an incredible place to explore. I loved those markets in your picture up there. And the food! Oh my. Oh, and the outside baths. Was a nice place for a honeymoon, despite the culture shock ;)

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  15. Wow, Bali looks divine. You really have documented the beauty perfectly.

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  16. Beautiful photos Jodi, and welcome home! Your observations are very thoughtful, as always. Glad you enjoyed yourself in the end! I've not been to Bali, but am certainly curious.

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  17. Jodes these are so gorgeous!!!!!! I love them all.

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  18. welcome home! Love the photo of Poet running ahead and pulling your skirt xx

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  19. oh how beautiful Jodi. i hope to go one day. and i will take your advice. i will stay longer than a week :)

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  20. Stunning images Jodie. Your photography keeps going from strength to strength and its very inspiring. I am so distracted and consumed at the same time with the day to day mundane and i would love to pack my bags and take off somewhere different to wander the streets with my camera. Just curious to ask what camera/lens you are currently using? I remember you posted a while back that you use a GF1 with 20mm lens. Is that still the one ?

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    1. Very kind words, Judy. Thank you. Yes, still shooting with the GF1 and 20mm 1.7 - that $500 camera has gone a long way. It's so lovely to reach that stage with your camera where you don't need to look at the screen; I can shoot and change the settings with my fingers - always good for street photography! x

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  21. hello Jodi!
    It may be a bit weird, but I love to look through your previous posts. Then I saw this post (http://cheandfidel.blogspot.com/2012/09/frequently-asked-questions-some-answers.html?showComment=1381754753122) And I was so glad! But actually I have a problem (I dropped in some comments but you did'nt notice :P) I had a question-Why can't I find my header-wrapper OR outer-wrapper? Is It because I use Flickr for my pictures?

    Please reply, I know it's quite a bit awkward to ask this on a totally different post!

    Thank you
    Trisha (trishaawari.blogspot.com)

    P.S~ Your blog is beautiful! The way you click photographs is so captivating!

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    1. HI Trisha,

      Blogger has just introduced some big changes so I have no doubt that the html may have changed. Your best bet is to simply google search it or work with someone like Talia (taliachristine.blogspot.com) who knows all the ins and outs of blogger design. x

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  22. I have visited Bali 8 times in total. Although I have not been back for sometime, it kept drawing me back. As soon as I was home I was already planning my next trip. Your photos are wonderful Jodi xo

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  23. Just got back from our first trip to Bali on Monday with three children. We spent the first five nights in Ubud and then moved to Nusa Dua for the last five nights. What a mistake! While I found Ubud overwhelming yet exciting I also enjoyed retreating to our small hotel. In Nusa Dua I just missed all Ubud had to offer, even the holes in the pavement!! I wished we spent all our time there as I know it would've crept even more into our hearts if we had allowed...

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  24. Absolutely love hearing you had a wonderful time. The timing is so important when you visit places like this. The more time the better!
    Speak soon.XX

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  25. Simply amazing photos Jodi - it looks like you guys had an amazing adventure in Bali :)

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  26. Gorgeous photos! Gorgeous bali. I was just there - in seminyak. Next time is ubud x

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  27. Those photos are amazing. I especially like the one of the girl's leg hanging out of the wrap. I've never been to Bali, but hope to go there some time :)

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  28. Such beautiful photos and wonderful memories for your children... I hope we can travel with our children. Popping by from the Maxabella link up

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  29. What beautiful images. You seem to have captured Bali's innocence so well.

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  30. Jodi, you captured Bali so well. these photos are captivating.

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  31. Beautiful photographs. We're hoping to get to Bali in a couple months but we'll only be able to stay a few nights, luckily I think we'll avoid the overwhelming stage traveling from Manila.

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  32. Your photography skills are amazing! You've managed to infuse the essence of Bali so beautifully. And I also love your outfit!

    www.kiwishawarmas.blogspot.com

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  33. You've documented it so beautifully! The rich colors of Bali and its simplicity. This is something I'd love to do..visit other places, learn about different cultures. I think traveling is one of the best things to savor in this life.

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  34. Rather third world? It's practically fourth world, which made our stay at a luxury resort for our honeymoon rather uncomfortable for me. I've done a lot of travelling throughout third world countries, but before Bali it had always been as a backpacker, in with the peeps. In Bali, the contrast between our lifestyle and a typical Balinese lifestyle was so overwhelming. I think I'd rather backpack!!

    Gorgeous, gorgeous images, Jodi. The hand!! x

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  35. PS - and also the shot of Poet's hand holding your skirt. x

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  36. Stunning images. I was on hols in Ubud when my hubby flew in to propose so it hols very special memories. I was in a very luxurious resort Thanks to my best mate working there but luckily as he lived there full time we just swam and slept there, the days we spent wandering and the nights were often and tin shacks with the most amazing sashimi and a cold beverage.
    Thanks for sharing these divine images

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