Seeing Bali for Real
The book and the movie, ‘Eat Pray Love’ has delighted countless women around the world. Perhaps the largest proportion of admiring women are from the US and Canada. It is not surprising they would relate to the life experiences of a female North American author. However, it may come as a surprise to learn not everybody in the world is that pleased.
The beauty of Bali is immediately evident in the carefully terraced rice fields. There is a serene ambiance that seems removed from normal life. Bali has many rivers and all are regarded as sanctified. It is usual to see yogis and other mystics gathered along the banks of the sacred waters that gives life to the lush green hills. Situated in this dreamlike landscape is Ubud.
This is the location where the author of ‘Eat Pray Love’ found her soul mate and it is here the movie adaptation was filmed. It’s not hard to imagine falling in love in such a blissful setting. Ubud has attracted adventurous travelers for years. This increased when the book became popular. It would only be honest to say Ubud is frequented by the more mature woman. However, writers and artists from the west discovered Bali beauty at the start of the twentieth century. They came here to revive their spirits and be inspired to create.
The local people of Ubud are concerned that when people see Bali’s quiet splendor on the silver screen they’ll flock here. The people of Bali appreciate the money brought in by tourists but they want to keep their surroundings typically Bali. The Balinese are conservative and spiritual and the need for money is balanced with what is important.
Ubud has its share of western style restaurants, clubs and pubs. It seems this is quite enough for the locals. Their concern is Bali will become overrun and unrecognizable. Worst of all for them would be if the pace becomes unusually frenzied.
Ubud and the rest of Bali is very good value for money for travelers. Ubud is where the cultural traditions such as art, dance and music are centered. There is a variety of accommodation available from hostels to luxury hotels. Many wealthy internationals own a luxury mansion on the outskirts of Ubud. Due to its convenience and amenities, travelers make Ubud their ‘home’ base while traveling around the rest of Bali.
Visitors who want to experience the fragile charms of Bali should bear in mind the concerns of the locals. They know their piece of paradise has become desirable to millions of potential visitors. They really don’t know what to expect. Why not surprise them with your concern, respect and courtesy for their island, their people and their culture.