When I read about the plane that crash landed in the ocean in Bali this weekend, it brought back a flood of memories. Not of crash landing, mind you.
Incidents like this were hard to find out about when I lived there. Unless I knew someone who witnessed or was involved in the crash; chances are I wouldn’t hear about it until the international news outlets reported it. That could take days for my copy of the International Herald Tribune to arrive. Rarely did anything in our little part of the world make it to the front page, so it was merely through digging deep that I would be aware of the crash.
Yet, as removed from the world as I felt in Jakarta, going to Bali was like stepping into “The Land Before Time.” I went back and re-read some of my journal entries and letters.
Journal Entry – 1981
We arrived yesterday, CiCi, Sonia and I. First stop was a friend of CiCi’s in Denpasar, the capital city. Our ride from the airport gave me pangs of homesickness for Tobago, lush topical islands with no oil industry, just tourism. The Balinese are predominantly Hindu, a gentle, gracious people dedicated to their shrines, temples and awesome stonework. Each house along the way had a small shrine carved from stone and laden with flowers, food and incense. The intricate brickwork and stone carvings depicted their Gods among gardens not unlike the Christian version of Eden. CiCi’s friend turned out to be a bustling, jolly mother of 10. She had two tables laden with lunch, one for us, and one for her husband and his business associates. After a sumptuous feast, we borrowed a jeep and beat a fast retreat to Kuta Beach in search of a place to stay.
It was so hard to leave Bali once you got there. The prospect of going back to the city and smog just didn’t appeal.
No doubt Bali has changed in the last thirty-two years, as have I. But this is the Bali I remember: