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Bali

Devotion (at the Sukawati Market in Bali)

Bali (Indonesia). The sense of religiosity and devotion is something that everyone experiences even as just landed in Bali. Travelling around the island is a continuous discover of temples – large and sumptuous, as well as small and humble – and it’s impossible to remain indifferent to it. Furthermore, it’s not only a simple visual experience (meaning, something that you can simply see); flowers and incenses are largely used in rituals, and it’s quite frequent smelling their scent along the streets.

However, although Bali hosts some thousands of temples all around, every place is suitable for devotion. Every shop has its private corner for praying and giving offers to God. Same is for private houses, where women daily prepare a basket of fresh products, fruit, flowers, biscuits and some money. The photograph I post here comes from the Sukaweti Market, not too far from the central town of Ubud. It’s a large market, which sells different products, mainly fruit and vegetables. I was walking around, and I noticed this big stack of bananas with the typical small basket on it, containing another banana, frangipane flowers and some incense to be offered to God. I found this scene very peculiar of the Balinese religiosity, and I did not hesitate one second to take my camera and capture it.

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At The Tampaksiring Temple in Bali, Indonesia

Bali (Indonesia). Here we are: this is my post number 500!

When I started this photoblog (sometimes I call it “project”, some others just “blog”, when I’m not motivated it’s simply “a random collection of moments”…) I was not imagining at all that one day I would have reached this number. Half thousand of posts, it seems really serious now!

Well, to be hones I do not feel so enthusiastic and I’m not in the mood to celebrate, for a very simple reason, which I try to explain here. This blog talks about travels: not in the usual way such as hotel recommendations, destinations of the year, luxury accommodations, package offers etc. No, this is very simply the photoblog of a traveler that goes around the world for business and (sometimes) for leisure, and that loves bringing a camera with him to capture every possible moment: from the landing with the airplane at destination, to the landscape from the office window, to interior of company’s room, to a monk praying at an Hindu temple in Bali.

The recent episodes of terrorism (Brussels some days ago, Istanbul on March 19th, and back to time Ankara, Paris etc.) have transformed a pleasure into a worry. Travelling is not the same anymore: you feel the stress pressure since you have to step into an airport or a train station, and every crowded environment becomes the place where to imagine horrible scenarios.

This is not the way I intend travelling, and I’m sad to admit that this is probably in line with terrorists’ strategy, which aims at creating a sense of fear and discomfort within the populations.

So, what can we do? Rationally, I would say “staying at home”, replacing business trips with video conferences (technology is favorably going in this direction) and limiting holidays to safe places around my home. But no, this is exactly the worst possible reaction and this is what I do not want to do.

And not only because one day I want to reach (and that time, to celebrate) 1,000 … 2,000 … 5,000 posts! The answer is as much simple as powerful, and it is all in the famous sentence attributed to Saint Augustine:

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.

Those travels that probably terrorists have never had the opportunity (or the interest) to do, missing the opportunity of seeing the world and understanding it. Travels that would have opened their mind, putting them in front of their incredible inhumanity, cruelty and backwardness.

 

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Relaxing at the Seraya Shores Hotel in Bali

Bali (Indonesia). I’m sure that photos can have a positive effect on those watching them. Maybe I’m facilitated by the fact that, being the author of these photos, watching them is a way to re-live some moments.

Today it’s one of those days which have been developed in black and white since the morning. No colors at all out of my window, the sky is white – grey, it’s a bit rainy and yes, unfortunately it’s getting colder. Summer is over not only according to the calendar, and I’m in the mood that I must accept it.

But as said… there are photos! Oh yeah, they help me a lot in these cases. This one, for example, has been taken a couple of summers ago in Bali – on the shores of the Lombok Strait in East Bali, to be more precise. I perfectly remember this place: its name is Seraya Shores Hotel and it is located close to Karangasem. I staid there, it was a paradise on earth, and since this weather is going to depress me, I decided to cure my soul with this image.

Ok, outside is still grey, rainy and cold. But for few minutes – the necessary time to write this post – I was feeling like I was there…

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