Day 20-23 and Day 27-29 - May 6-9 and May 13-15
Ironically for an island utopia, people from Singapore talk about going to Bali with a breathlessness reserved on the east coast for the Muskokas and the Hamptons. In hindsight it isn't enough.
Bali fills in the gaps left wanting by the glitz of SG. In the town of Seminak the hotels and beach clubs offer all the amenities and beauty of world-class resorts, with an added and unexpected perk - genuine happiness.
Whether attributable to the fact that the majority of the island's population is a practicing Hindu, or perhaps to the higher standard of living than other less developed Indonesian islands, the service industry in Bali delivers big on smiles. Big.
From the front-end staff to the bathroom detailer, not only are they all readily doing their jobs to spotless perfection, but their ubiqitous eye-wrinkling grins fail to belie an underlying joy and contentment. From a North American perspective this is astounding; noted by my taxi driver in Singapore, Asia also finds astounding.
Perhaps it is religion, or perhaps they have culturally taken a few steps closer to a grasp on the meaning of life:
"I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me... but it's hard to stay mad, when there's so much beauty in the world.
Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst... And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain, and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life...
You have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sure. But don't worry... you will someday."
- Lester Burnham, 'American Beauty', 1999