Mystical and Flavored – Bali’s Incredible Nature (1)

Are you someone who’s easily caught by the mystic flavor and uniqueness of a culture? Then Bali is the place to be. It fits for everyone; lonely souls who want to escape the everyday madness in search of a natural and peaceful habitat, newly weds looking for their dream honeymoon spot, curious minds who want to explore more of planet earth, or neighboring Aussies who throw themselves into those spring break-like Miami parties. And if you’re like me looking for a little bit of everything, Bali is the ideal island with so much to offer.

Nusa Dua 1The very first encounter is the incredible tropical nature. The various kinds of tropical fruits, bananas, palm trees, rice fields, jungle habitat, little animals surfing around are a distinct part of Balinese tropical scenery. What is most interesting are the endless tales or local beliefs circling around. Everything has its own particular story, you name them, trees, plants, houses, temples, animals, and local people. Therefore, I’m tempted to share some of striking stories or moments with you, so lets glance at few highlights:

The Paradise tree or Banyan tree. The myth believed by the locals is that the roots of the Banyan tree represent the demons, the twigs personify the angels, the fruits embody the ancestors and the flowers are offerings to gods.


20121227-180057.jpgThe Monkey Business @ Monkey Forest. The visit at the Monkey forest was simply mind-blowing not only for it’s spiritual setting, but also for the monkey ruling which makes the monkey business quite unique. There were two groups of monkeys in two different forest territories. The two groups were not allowed to cross check each others territories, otherwise the “monkey war” will set the stage. In addition, the migration law @ the monkey forest were quite severe. If a monkey leaves the forest, its fellow monkeys will not allow a come back at the forest. Once a monkey is out, it’s out forever.

20121228-015410.jpg20121228-015600.jpgThe rice paddies or terraces. What an effort!! Every single rice seed is planted in the field ensuring that it has significant space in between. As the fields need to be absolutely flat in order to conserve water, the rice growing requires continuous flooded field. In some villages I visited in Ubud area I was told that the farmers had to agree on a fixed rice planting period in between 2 months in order to share the irrigation costs. Besides the effort, it was really mind-blowing to see the green rice paddies throughout the country side. Often the Balinese hindu temples were build in those rice paddies to worship Gods and give offerings to Gods.




The Sirens of Kuala Lumpur

The second after exploring the breathtaking Petronas Towers that lay beautifully there on their own, like not for sale expensive jewels you can look at but not possess, you feel this immediate grasping urge of going out and seeing more of the city.
As the night hits the ground, so I approach one of the most vivid KL nightlife scenes, Bukit Bintang district. Not exactly knowing the city, you got to trust the taxi driver of where to be dropped off. It looked reasonable to go through China town which merges into the party district.

Beach Club, KLNot the smartest idea though walking around on an exciting evening outfit in the amidst of smelly, second hand market. Then again time has to be maximized. The crowded district with a wide spectrum of party styles and settings to choose is there in front of me. Still difficult to choose a nightspot from latin, techno, reggae, retro or groovy beats. Making a cameo appearance in a couple of clubs doesn’t fully satisfy my taste. Still interesting to observe the diverse party folks being unleashed to the night beats.

Lady Boys of KL.As they say, “It ain’t over until it is really over”. A last stop at the downtown beach club. Lady boys being held outside of the club and many unaccompanied men waiting for the lucky touch to get in. I had no problems getting in. Sited outside at the bar in the “observation deck” for the first drink, surrounded by a proxy of twenty young girls standing in a rows just at the club entrance.

Party Chicks, KL.The girls look extremely young and beautiful, teens in 80s pretty woman style, outdated outfits, and vivid hunting eyes. A funky mixture really. African girls whose looks and styles were a reminiscence of Naomi Campbell, and petit Asian young ladies with their striking innocent faces. It feels like being invisible, great. A wink of an eye, a soft touch below man’s shoulders, or a fake thrill of running upon an easy victim with the looks of a 50+ man who’s desperately in search of the trade off ” I can buy your youth and feel a cool dude offering cocktails to a beautiful girl”.

Kenya calling, KL.That’s not the only pattern though. You see it all. A young man whining to an Asian girl about having postponed his trip to Istanbul for her girlfriend who’s not showing up, two western guys in their 40’s immediately approached by their Kenyan sweethearts, girls on the waiting line looking at smartphones with little frustration as time is running out, a desperate man who feels seduced, but still reluctant to conceive to her gorgeous looks and body language, a chubby old man walking out with his winning prize for the night. Btw, still haven’t seen one single kiss. You can go in bed, but you don’t kiss a stranger. That’s too personal.

The Hook-up, KL.With this defense mechanism in mind, the thought of who’s exploiting whom arouses the thinking further. Both sides of the coin need each other and if they’re not both stapled on it, the coin would not exist. The bad and the good, the ugliness and the beauty are held dormant until they are being evoked by some random situation or momentum. One great thing I felt in every breathing molecule while traveling Asia is that you DON’T JUDGE OTHERS, no matter how looks are like, what stomachs can digest, what dress or scarf you put on, or what air is being breathed. It all comes down to feeling peaceful and satisfied with oneself and others around you.

Evolution on Wings

Here it’s again that time of the year to take off to some daunting destination, far from all the homie Christmas madness to a different sort of holiday frenzy. Sited comfortably at Lufthansa I start my journey. It’s noon and i’m craving a light French style breakfast, may be a croissant or some buttered baguette sandwich, but instead an almost frozen pasta salad lays in front of me, cold and uninviting. At least there’s some coffee and orange juice to ease the disappointment.

Early on board service

What’s wrong with airline service nowadays? What happened to the “dinning experience” no longer than a decade ago? I still recall the 2001 luxurious treatment on board of economy Swissair or KLM. Even other European airlines like Alitalia or Olympic did not fall behind serving those warm Mediterranean meals.

Let’s have a quick look at the Evolution on Wings. In the early days of civic aviation meals on board were unthinkable as the cabins were loud and passengers were way nervous to eat. The very first in-flight meals served in Europe were tea and venison sandwich. This was served in 1919 on the route between England and France in a plane that accommodated only four passengers. On the same year it was KLM that installed a kitchen on board, but after 15 mins cabinet holding drinks felt down due to vibrations. The competition certainly did not stop there. By 1928, Lufthansa came up with the so called ” flying dinning car” on the route Berlin-Paris. A small in-flight kitchen made possible to serve a hot meal to 15 passengers at their individual trays. And so on.

Luftansa early on board service

The competition made these airlines up their service bar until recent decades when airline business is facing hardships to keep the cost under control. Since most European airlines are on crisis mode, they have constantly to cut costs, and that’s to regards to service on board. That’s how my lunch on board of Lufthansa looked like recently. And I should be even pleased to get this pasta salad because most other European airlines are only offering drinks on board.

pasta salad

But that’s definitely not the case with other lush airlines like Emirates.

On the board of Emirates

The 13 hours flight to Kuala Lumpur was gratifying. Just by asking an isle seat in a fully booked flight we got upgraded to first class. The whole modern setting, the comfort, the outstanding service of the crew set the stage for an unforgettable experience. The long flight, the 7 hours jet-lag, the pre-flight agitation went away smoothly and even before realizing it here we land.

Helo Kuala Lumpur!

Petronas Towers