Dec 19 2015
We had an enjoyable planning meeting in Ashland regarding our trip with Peggy Rubin and friends to Bali Sept 9- 30th 2016. There is a lot of excitement building on both sides of the Pacific for this trip. We will be posting monthly updates on the upcoming trip to add to your knowledge of the places and culture of Bali and to answer your questions.
As Peggy expressed, “Bali is like visiting another planet.” It is a place where magic is very real. The consciousness is very different to what we know here. The Balinese experience and view the world, for example, as consisting of two parts. The seen world (Sekala as it is known) is the world of cars, phones, buildings, and of all of which we see. The unseen world (Niskala) is the world of spirits, goddesses, gods, magic and energy. Both of these worlds are equally respected, and this is clearly seen in their daily lives. The Balinese will not think twice about shutting down a major road, cutting power for a day, or shutting even the airport (as they do on the day of Nyepi) to honor an aspect of the unseen world. In fact, it is at the core of Balinese belief and daily practice to maintain the balance between these two worlds.
Insights into Bali, as well as how they maintain the balance between these two worlds, can be explored in the following works:
- Book: Bali – Sekala and Niskala by Fred B Eiseman Jr.
- Book: A House in Bali by Colin McPhee.
- Film: A three-part series called The Miracle of Bali, narrated by David Attenborough, available on Youtube:
Of course it has changed a lot since 1969, but the culture depicted in this series is still very much alive. The island, however, is no longer as rural.
Here is our first Q&A on the Sekala (seen world) from questions we received during our time in Ashland:
“How physically demanding is this trip?”
Many people have bad knees or other physical ailments that they feel might impede their ability to join in on the trip or some activities. With this in mind, this trip has been planned to be as easy and accessible as possible, with options to partake or decline in each activity.
The most strenuous activity on the itinerary will be climbing 112 stairs to access the cave temple of Goa Giri Putri on Nusa Penida. Also, the prayer and offering does require one to get up and down off the ground, but if some participants are unable to do so, we can have some portable stools available for them.
Please take note that while health care in Indonesia is not great in standard, there are now two good quality hospitals in Bali (one of the benefits of the mass influx of western tourism). However, we can be 3–4 hours away from them at some points during the trip so if you have a serious heart condition or anything else that you could foresee would require you to be hospitalized, we highly suggest you seriously reconsider coming on the trip.
It is warm and humid in Bali during September where usually a high of 90 F is reached and a low of 75 F. Lower temperatures are experienced in the mountains where we will spend some of our time, but temperatures could reach up to 104 if it gets unseasonable. This may exacerbate some conditions, so please do take into account the hotter and more humid climate of tropical Bali and how this may affect your current physical condition.
“What do you suggest is the best route to Bali from the US?”
Bali is a long flight from anywhere in the U.S. There are no direct flights to Denpasar (DPS, the airport located in Bali). As all airlines transit somewhere in Asia, it can be an ideal point to take a few days to stopover if you want to break up the trip and give yourself a little time to rest!
There are various routing options that include stopovers in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore. They are all good options for a stopover, and may be a valuable moment to take a few days to explore the layover city as well.
There is indeed no way around this long and far trip. We are aware of the trip that you are making and have already considered this in the itinerary planning to allow for recovery time upon arrival.
Our super travel agent Diana Doyle is available to help you with your travel itinerary at email@example.com.
“Do I need to be concerned with terrorism in Bali?”
At this moment, America issued a blanket travel warning for American citizens traveling to many places, which includes travelling to Indonesia. However, at the time of this writing, there is no specific heightened alert above just the general warning for Americans everywhere, so we feel that our travels will be safe and secure relative to terrorism threats.
Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world, but also the most moderate. They are very outspoken and have been successful in quelling extremism. The worlds’ largest Muslim group Nahdlatul Ulama is Indonesian and has very publically denounced ISIS while mobilizing 50,000 moderate Imams around the country to spread the word of tolerant Islam. Indonesian Islam has many tenets from the predecessors of Hinduism, Buddhism and Animism. Bali, though, is not a Muslim place, unlike the rest of Indonesia. It is predominantly Hindu with the vast majority of the population practicing Bali Hindu, a mix of Hindu, Buddhism and Animism. This religion and culture is very accepting of others.
Finally, the vast majority of our time together will be far from any of the popular crowded destinations that might be targeted. We are going to find ourselves in more remote areas, in close-knit communities, in the even more traditional parts of Bali.
We hope that you are getting as excited about the trip as we are. We also hope that you enjoy the books and/or film above. Stay tuned for more updates to come, and we look forward to meeting you all in the near future! This trip is going to be a beautiful journey for all who partake.
Alexander & Kartika