BEAUTIFUL BALI – Business & Pleasure….
Bali… a complex island that means many things to many people – everyone’s experiences, reactions to and feelings about Bali are so different.
To me, it is a familiar place in which I feel very at home. It is part work place but also a place where I have many wonderful friends, a place where I can be both relaxed and stimulated by new and surprising things every day. Bali is also part of my ‘family’ culture. Although Lombok is truly where my heart lies, Bali is the door that opened Lombok to me and enabled me to truly immerse myself in the Indonesian culture. My youngest daughter Sarita, is half Indonesian. Her father is of Sasak descent from the island of Lombok. My eldest daughter Arnika spent many happy times there throughout her childhood. We all have a deep fondness for Lombok which will never quite be overshadowed by beautiful Bali.
I know many people that are besotted with Bali and want to live there forever; however, there are also people like the couple I sat next to on the plane coming home who literally hated every minute of it!!! Yikes.
This trip I only had time to spend a quick 2 weeks in Bali to get my new products ordered for our NZ summer season. Nowadays, this type of trip is a big part of my working life – picture this:
I wake up every morning in a gorgeous room set amongst a garden full of beautiful flowers and birds everywhere. I enter my room through stunningly carved and gilded wooden doors. I sit on the verandah on a huge carved day bed covered in pillows. All the rooms are set around an internal compound containing the family temple. Twice a day the women come around placing offerings all around the compound.
In the evenings the place is filled with women and girls getting dressed and made up to perform Balinese dancing in hotels and palaces – for tourists mainly.
This is a peaceful, beautiful enclave that provides respite from the crazy world outside. And I have to mention the massages available for such a reasonable price right out the front door….bliss!!!!!! Oops, and the food too- yum.
Venturing out every day on my trusty Scooby scooter I visit all the craftspeople and artists that I work with. I spend quite a bit of time drinking coffee and chatting about life in general. It is so fantastic to be able to spend time talking together and know that we are all so alike, despite our different cultures. It is very important to us all to build good relationships as we all want each other to be successful in our businesses.
At the woodcarvers I sit around with a group of women who polish the carvings – they are such a laugh and ask me heaps of questions about my life, kids, husbands …. normal life stuff! The owner’s 7 year old granddaughter paints my toenails and then treats me to an impromptu Balinese dance. Exquisite indeed
At one of my metal workers I sit on the balcony overlooking the rice terraces with my friend Putu who is more and more covered in tattoos every time I go back. He is such a cool dude. He worries about his young daughter putting on weight and asks my advice! He also worries about all the waste products in Bali and he makes everything from recycled oil drums. He has turned it into a successful business providing an income for his extended family.
At another family run workhop I sit down and watch while Gustu makes me a rope cat because I admired one that was a sample in his shop. It makes made me laugh when I think that some people in NZ worry that I am somehow exploiting people by buying from Indonesia! Trust me I’m not. I am glad though that people care enough to ask.
Whilst there it was my birthday and I was invited to Astawa’s house to celebrate with his wife and daughter. Astawa has been my driver for many years and is wonderfully patient and always cheerful. We have had many interesting discussions whilst driving about in his car. His wife mad me a traditional Indonesian birthday ‘cake’ which is made form rice. he birthday person gets to cut the top off the rice cone and eat that special part. It was lovely
It sounds wonderful and it is. The days are hot, busy and crowded but there is so much to enjoy and I am grateful that I am in a position to travel to Indonesia and work with all these cool people.
I am going to add a section on my website with information about some of the suppliers I work with in Bali and Lombok. I think it is important to acknowledge them and their incredible talent.
I hope you enjoy the gorgeous products I bring to you from them.