Island of the Gods: a trip to Bali

Silhouette temple Ubud golden light

Every morning I wake at 5.30am, just as the insects start their relentless stridulation and the roosters their crowing in earnest.

Rice fields Ubud with yellow flags

This early rising is unusual for me. Then again, the tropics have always agreed with my body clock.

Entry Balinese house_edited-1

I sit on a wooden platform, set within the lush jungle on a steep hill, perched high above the rushing river Os below. As the sun rises slowly behind the palm trees on the ridge opposite, it gently burns away the thick, morning mist drifting up through the lush valley.

Os River Valley

Through the trees are glimpses of emerald-green, terraced rice paddies and the still morning air, is broken only by the occasional whooping bird call or the sound of over-sized foliage falling from the canopy.

Rice fields Ubud and edge of Villa Vajra

As the sun finally rises above the treeline, its golden light illuminates the garden. Delicate spider webs appear as if out of nowhere, suspended between over-sized fronds, last night’s rain drops sparkle like jewels on deep green leaves and pale leaf tips glow with a bright translucency.

Offering at Villa Vajra

From the other side of the river bank the rhythmic tok, tok, tok of a temple drum starts slowly, increases in urgency then slows again until the last, lone, beat fades to silence.

Sunset over rice fields in Ubud

And the scent. Well, I wish I could tell you it is the heady fragrance of frangipani and tuberose but it is overwhelmingly eau de DEET-infused insect repellant. It’s cloying but essential at this time of day.

Ricefields near Chedi Ubud

I am in Bali. And I apologise for coming over all overly sentimental, but I feel like I’ve come home.

Palm silhouettes against sunset

I haven’t been here for 11 years. And that time was for one short terrifying night and day. Long-time readers might remember the story but if you are newer here, you can read the background to all of this in this post I wrote from Jakarta last year. I feel the need to warn you that it’s a bit of a harrowing story. But if you are interested in why being back here in Bali, in paradise, after so long is making me cry (in a good way!) each and every day, then that post gives you all the background you need.

Old Balinese lady, Sebali

However, if, like me just now, you don’t really want to contemplate anything that came before or the whys and wherefores, but just sit and be, then I hope my photos will simply convey a small sense of the deep beauty of this place.

Young rice with water droplets, Sebali, Ubud

It’s so good to be back.

Looking down to living bale, Sebali

PS: I have finally got around to starting an Instagram account. You can see some other Bali shots over there and I’ll be updating regularly over the next few days of our trip so follow along if you’re interested. Click here.

12 thoughts on “Island of the Gods: a trip to Bali

  1. Goose bumps. Beautiful depiction of a Balinese start to the day. I love that you are there, just being, and soaking up the present. I felt like I was there with you Trenny (only, I wasn’t, I was reading your blog listening to the whiring sound of being hooked up to a double turbo breast pump. Stop wishing you we’re me ploise).
    Exquisite photos. Welcome home xx

    • Thanks my lovely breast pumping laydee. I do look forward to being with you very soon indeed. Smooch that J-babe for me. xx

  2. The ultimate compliment – saying you’ve “come home”. Beautiful. I cant tell you the relief I feel that your beautiful Bali has been returned to you (metaphorically speaking of course!). You have mustered such strength and bravery to make this trip and the gods have smiled upon you. Savour it all xxx

  3. Beautiful Bali – you make me want to visit. However, not right now as we’re frighting the colds that we picked up in China – just got back on thursday. it was a great trip but I don’t think my photos will rivel your beauties – what an eye you have!
    Arlene

    • Thanks Arlene – that’s very sweet of you to say. I net your China shots are awesome on a stick (a chopstick?) though! xx

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