Fivelements, Puri Ahimsa sits at the end of a narrow country lane surrounded by rice paddys and fields of ripening corn. Thatched circular buildings with conical roofs reach for the sky, the gardens are filled with lush foliage, and the gushing of a fast flowing river intermingles with birdsong. It is the ideal setting for a healing sanctuary and from the moment I enter the spacious grounds I am immediately aware of a shift of energy, a kind of higher vibration.
I have a traditional Balinese healing treatment that is a mix of reflexology and chakra balancing with Pak Dewa, a wonderful and powerful energy healer. At times the session is painful and I shed tears, but by the end my spirit is soaring. Afterwards I sit on the verandah drinking ginger tea and reflecting on my life and my need to restore balance.
This led me to Desa Seni a boutique resort/arts village in Caggu that offers a variety of yoga classes. I have practiced yoga in many beautiful places around the world but the Desa Seni experience is unique. Traditional wooden houses from all over Indonesia have been transplanted into a fairy tale like setting with pretty vegetable gardens, lush tropical foliage and an atmosphere that creates a sense of well being from the moment you enter.
They are handed out gleefully by cashiers the length and breadth of the island, used once and abandoned. Their fate − to float down rivers, ride the waves, wash up on the beaches or smolder in black smoky fires.…. In Bali there is no escaping plastic bags. But there is always hope, and a small company called Bombastic Plastix is hard at work turning plastic trash into funky fashion accessories.
Recycled products often get a bad wrap (no pun intended) because they are produced poorly with little thought for design. But Bombastic Plastix has turned recycling into an art form and their products – bags, purses, wallets, are attractive in their own right, regardless of their ‘greenness’. Let’s face it, most of us want to do our bit to save the planet but there is nothing wrong with looking good while we are doing it.
It all started a few years ago, on Bombastic founder, Sam Miller’s kitchen floor. He was a man on a mission, armed with an environmental conscience, a keen sense of design, a heap of plastic bags and an iron. Through trial and error he discovered a way to fuse plastic bags into sheets of plastic fabric, which form the base of all his products. “Its hardly like we are using all the plastic in the world,” he tells me, “but at least we are using some of it; and we are taking something that has a service life of 30 minutes and converting in into something that lasts years.”
Check out the website, its great fun and really informative, and you will love Sam – he is one super cool dude!
BAWA (Bali Animal Welfare Association) was founded by Janice Girardi, a Californian native who rescued her first Bali dog in Kintamani 27 years ago, so beginning a one woman crusade to improve life for man’s best friend across the island. Her passion for animals and their welfare is consuming, and she is an inspiring example of how one person really can make a difference. For years she has been feeding street dogs and rescuing sick and injured animals, loading them on to a makeshift stretcher and driving them to the vet in Denpasar. In 2007 she formalized her position and along with one of Indonesia’s top veterinarians, Dr Dewa Dharma, created BAWA. Finding homes for puppies is just one of BAWA’s programs: The not-for-profit charity also supports a 24 hour clinic; an animal ambulance; a mobile sterilization clinic; an education program; and a range of community projects. Continue reading →
My latest writing job is doing environmental features for Insight Magazine – its a great mag and am really proud to write for them, it also creates some interesting work assignments. This is the soul surf project Bali, a Dutch foundation that works with orphanages here on the island. First the kids are given environmental classes and have to take part in beach clean ups. Armed with greater awareness of the environment and their impact on it, the kids are rewarded with surf lessons and the chance to participate in surf competitions, turtle releases and art workshops.
I spend the morning on the beach with a group of kids, its their first surf lesson and they are pretty excited and there is lots of laughter and splashing about. The girls are shy at first but are soon riding waves with as much enthusiasm as the boys; everyone encourages each other. Marieke, the project manager and I watch from the shallows, she tells me “Surfing provides the orphans with an escape from their normal routine and creates a sense of accomplishment, of yes I can do this.” One of the boys whizzes past us, catching a wave right to the shore and we all cheer as he does a little victory dance.
People are always asking me about my life in Kuta, there is so much that I see every day that I just take for granted, things that might seem a little bizarre to anyone else, but for me are just part of the daily scenery. So here is a glimpse into my world.
Lucky dog comes to the beach for sunset. At first I think that there is just a whole pile of rubbish on the beach but when I look closer I see that they are offerings to the spirits with coconuts, fruit, flowers and symbols woven out of banana and palm leaves
Lucky gets very lucky because there are also offerings of roast duck, a Balinese delicacy, but Lucky has no respect for the spirits and has soon devoured a whole roast duck.
Taking a trip……
Magic mushrooms are legal in Indonesia and you can take a trip while you get your laundry done.
We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong we may begin to use it with love and respect.
High in the hills, in a valley shrouded in morning mists and perpetual tranquility, Bali Ecovillage provides a welcome sanctuary from the excesses of southern Bali.
Bali Ecovillage is set in a mountainous valley to the west of Kitamani, surrounded by bamboo trees, rainforests and coffee plantations. Original plans were for a weekend house built in bamboo, a place for the owners to relax and revel in the beauty of nature, but as the walls grew, so too did the idea of turning this peaceful sanctuary into an eco lodge that others could also enjoy; guest bungalows and a couple of spacious villas were soon added to the plans. Continue reading →