Only on Bali

I hadn’t realized how relaxing Bali was for me last time I was here.
I visit a lot of sites when I travel, and I like to see as many people and as much of the local culture as I can wherever I go. But Bali has a different speed to it that you don’t experience anywhere else.
No matter how fast my friend Westi drove his truck or how many appointments I had, it never felt rushed. I never felt pressed for time. I sort of forgot about that until I came back these last few days.
I had a completely different sense of time when I was in Africa. Like I didn’t have enough of it to do everything I wanted. I stayed there longer than I had planned because I kept meeting more people and discovering new places and traditions I wanted to study…

I Almost Fell Over Backwards…

“This is a cananga flower…” Westi picked one off of the small tree behind his shop.
“That looks like ilang-ilang (ylang-ylang).”
“Yes. It is from the same tree family. Smell… it’s very fragrant.”
I took some of the yellowish green petals from Westi. “That’s beautiful.”
“The ilang-ilang tree is very tall. Cananga is small, so I can have one here by the shop. Lelir will use the flower to make Jamu.”
Jamu is the name for the ancient group of natural cures and medicines they use in Bali.
The Balinese don’t like pharmaceuticals, and don’t really trust Western-type medicine. So they…

The Biggest I’ve Ever Seen…

He drove slowly, careful not to scrape the sides of his truck as we drove. The streets of his neighborhood are paved but narrow, with barely enough room to get by. Ancient stone walls topped with strange carvings pressed in from both sides. Wild cacao trees, the biggest I’ve ever seen, loomed overhead.
As we made our way toward his hidden garden, the roads narrowed even more, now no wider than a sidewalk. Man-made walls gave way to thick foliage and immense trees. There were plants on top of plants as far down the road as you could see.
We drove into what looked like a tree tunnel, made a quick right and squeezed the truck through a tiny opening … and what I saw amazed me. A huge field with walking paths and more plants growing everywhere.
How could this be right here, with no hint of it from the road?
We got out of the truck and the first thing I saw was peppermint, just like I have growing in my yard in Florida. There was tapioca, which grows so thick the locals even use it for fences.