Updated: 8-dec-08
© Stephen Bennett 2000-2005

BALI JOURNAL 2004



In 2004 Stephen visited the island of Bali in Indonesia.

Denpasar, capital and urban center on Bali on the edge of the famous surfing beach "Kuda". Scooter barrage and their roar after every light turns green. Almost every home along the roads has a temple of hand carved stone with moss covered arches and mini towers; graceful dark skinned girls in long sarongs distributing flowers and fruits to each temple.

Fragrant flowers and fruits mix with garbage in the gutters transforming its smell and grime. Kuta: shopping in narrow streets; everything for cheap; crafts and custom made suits and sandals; hand carved Bali kitsch and even a Planet Hollywood. The Bali bombing memorial, torn T-shirts with names on a chain link fence: silent tourists where are these bad guys? Refined masks: glaring; taunting; spooky; sexy; laughing, the master mask makers working in their shops. How do they get that perfect skin smooth finish? A dance demonstration of an old bearded man mask by a young master; very move ages him until I believe he is 80. I have to buy it! How much! $100 US OK! It is a masterpiece.

Lembogan Island and search for the enormous and mysterious Mola Mola-sea sunfish: get caught against a coral rock wall in a unbeatable current... no Molas!. Trade my diving mask with a seaweed farmer for his hand carved wooden goggles: black and white op-art striped sea snake hovers around us during the transaction. Black sand beach and rice patties stacked like layer and the brightest red starfish I have ever seen. Boy surfers, fearless, bleached blonde hair, and being chased by aggressive masseurs up and down the beach. Help! Get sandals made to fit my feet in green snakeskin. Mini-bus inland to Ubud at Lotus restaurant with a view of a temple that is celestial. Temples and offerings flash past in a blinking blurring pattern.