Wednesday, July 8, 2009

BALI MAGIC

Julia Roberts will start filming the movie version of Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling novel, Eat, Pray, Love in Bali in the fall. She will team up with fellow academy award winner, Javier Bardem and Brad Pitt will produce.

Did you read Eat, Pray, Love? Ketut Liyer, the Balinese shaman, was featured in the book. Marla had her fortune told by Ketut Liyer last year in his compound outside Ubud. We are hosting a Bali trip in 2010 and plan to take interested people to see Ketut during that trip.

We are considering offering “buy-ins” for the upcoming trip. Email Dick at dickgentry@wescofabrics.com if you are interested.

Our love of Bali began fifteen years ago. Marla’s doctor had given her the green light for an overseas trip after a long illness. I asked her where she would like to travel. She chose Bali, an island loved and visited by her parents in the 1950s. We have returned every year since.

Indonesia has over 17,000 islands (depending on the tides) and Bali is the favorite of travelers worldwide. Bali’s famous terraced rice fields are breathtaking.

Marla and I will host our third Wesco Fabrics tour of this magical isle in May, 2010. Past customers have rated Bali as their favorite Wesco trip destination.

The magic of Bali begins with its wonderful people. The picture above is of school girls coming home from school in Kaba Kaba. The children take responsibility for the physical upkeep of the school, carrying brooms or garden rakes.

A farmer cuts Elephant grass for roofs on one of our favorite hiking trails near Ubud.

Inside a Balinese temple.

Bali is the most spiritual place I have ever seen. Their religion is a mix of Hinduism and nature worship, and permeates every aspect of their culture.

Daily offerings, or banten, are made to express gratitude to benevolent spirits, and to placate demons from disturbing the harmony of life.

An offering in front of a beautifully carved door.

Tanah Lot, on the west coast near Canggu, is an important sea temple. It can be breathtaking during a lovely sunset.

Riding a mountain bike up a dirt track outside of Ubud, I came upon the hamlet of Keliki. Their citizens were having a ceremony in preparation for the Balinese New Year, or Nyepi. Ritual statues, “Ogoh-ogoh,” which are later burned to rid the world of demons, can be seen in the background.

Balinese dances are forms of expression laden with religious connotations. Dances are often intended as offerings to appease the gods and goddesses. The Kecak, or monkey dance, was originally a trance ritual based on the Hindu Ramayana.

A Balinese dancer performs.

Our 2005 Wesco Bali group in front of one of my favorite restaurants, La Lucciola, near the Petitenget temple.

Wesco’s 2007 group at the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel.

Our May 2010 Bali trip will begin in the Bali highlands near Ubud. Pictured above is the entrance to a villa at the Royal Pita Maha in Kedewatan. It is owned by one of the Princes of Ubud. Over 1000 workers and craftsmen worked for two years to build it.

A villa room at the Royal Pita Maha.

Each villa has its own private swimming pool!

Dining areas in the hotel face the beautiful Ayung River Gorge.

Marla at the hotel’s “healing pool.” Swimming in this pool is truly mesmerizing.

After Ubud we will stay at the beautiful Nusa Dua Beach Hotel.

Balinese spa treatments are famous worldwide. The spa at the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel is exceptional!

Bali is a shopper’s wonderland. Marla is shown with one of our craftsmen who creates fabulous tables.

After a few days shopping in the heat and humidity, it’s time for a break. I’m looking a bit wilted here!

Mark and Norman appropriately attired in sarong and sash at the sacred Goa Gajah temple.

We hope to see you in Bali with us in 2010!

Click here to learn more about our upcoming trip!

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