Cycling the Balinese path to happiness
By Dianna Beaufort
Everyone in Bali smiles. Big , wide beam smiles. And all that is needed to awaken it is eye contact. Even if they do with their scooters weaving through traffic or a heavy, flailing pig across the street can be employed , you must indicate only a smile from his own lips, and the reaction is immediate and electric.
"Transport ? " Queried a smiling young man on a sidewalk in Ubud, an artsy town in the south- eastern hill . It is a common offer on the roads almost every town in Bali . Anyone with a car will give you a ride for a small price . You can say " no thank you " seven times on Monkey Forest Road in Ubud . But what is heart warming that you will always receive an enthusiastic "Welcome" in the response.
As one of Indonesia's luxury destinations, Bali is a truly service-oriented society and economy. Away from the resorts on the coast , there is less commercial and more genuine friendliness zeal . Culturally different from other Indonesian islands of Bali , and in fact is an exception in this mainly Muslim country with its Hindu - Buddhist history . It is this history that the Balinese approach characterizes the life and the Balinese landscape .
Excursions in the area of Ubud on the bike is perhaps the best way to take in the beautiful scenery , awakened with all its rice terraces , temples , villages and Crowing . I have . Arung for a day trip from Bali Moon Group We started with a morning stop at an eclectic orchard grows everything from mangosteen - , papaya and peanuts cocoa, coffee beans and tea leaves. Arung also introduced us Salak , a fruit with a brown snake - scaly skin like a mother inside and tastes like blend of apple and pear looks.
After an invigorating ginger tea we were driven to the edge of Mount Batur . The bikes were unloaded and we were ready to start back downhill to Ubud . Arung had assured us back in the office, it was " all downhill " , but some of us were amazed at how steep downhill made by may . And the road was a rocky road . One of the English girls on the trip wanted to do through out the use of the rear van service, our backpacks, but was persuaded to stick with it because it would get easier .
Our reward , when it began to level out , was a school full of excited kids running towards the road to greet us . Six and seven year old boys were exploding with enthusiasm , seemingly overwhelmed by such an unexpected visit from strangers. "Hello Hello ," she squeaked , vying for eye contact with the cyclist and jumping for high-fives make . Wide-eyed awe and giggles rippled through the crowd as our group responded to their zeal . It felt like the Tour de France. A few boys ran the bikes until they were fast-paced and came to the end of the village.
We drove along paddy fields , many of them flocked by ducks feeding on leftover grains. In the hilly landscape I could hear the beautiful sound of music and bamboo wind chimes everywhere . We passed through several villages , all set and flanked by ramparts , which are the typical Balinese on a sloping north-south axis. Everyone had an elaborately carved gateway and directly behind a wall aling - aling to evil spirits from pending to keep sweeping through the open gate .
In one village an old man slipped on a moped next to me go to tandem and indulge in conversation. His smile was wide, his questions directly . " Where are you from ? Where? Stay where you go ? " He exudes a pride in managing dialogue with a foreigner and wipes the blandishments of young people. As we approached the open countryside , he turned back to his village and signaled his last sentence with a gesture : " The Balinese welcome you good time . . "
Anyone but anyone who really wants to have the contact and wish you all the best. When we came to the end of our cycle we were invited into a family home . The residential compound was sleeping pavilions for extended family members , a fountain in the middle , a temple and a low table for us to share for dinner. A typical Indonesian meal is a selection of hot and cold dishes , with spicy meat - , peanut sauce and sauteed vegetables. Everyone was exhausted from the combination of heat and pedaling and completely ready to feast on the buffet .
When our host came to collect our plates finished she asked simply " happiness? "