My ideal holiday will be in Paris as I see the beautiful buildings and savour the lifestyle of the rich and the famous. I will stay in a plush hotel and be served by dozens of humble waiters while I eat exotic French food. That is what I thought until I went to Bali.
My trip to Bali last year was quite different from my imaginary trip to Paris. I stayed in a chalet which had a thatched roof and the simplest of furniture. A basic fireplace offered some facility to cook and there was a clean bathroom for that daily shower and wash. I realized that everything there was more than enough to have a great holiday. The rest was only in your mind.
My housemates were fantastic companions and brought laughter and joy into my life. They were from different parts of the world and yet somehow we managed to communicate well with each other. We shared food and talked about many things in our lives. Rick would strum a guitar and everyone would dance and sing. Of course we sang out of tune and our dancing would not have won us any prizes. But that didn't matter.
We walked along the beach and on the very first evening, watched a brilliant sunset. It was almost magical, sitting on the white sands and watching the bright red sun dip into the blue ocean. We forgot time. We lay on the sands listening to the beat of the waves. There was quietness in the air as if the people on the beach too were charmed by the moment and wanted to breathe in the frangipani fragrant breeze.
On another day, we got up at an unearthly hour to climb the volcanic mountain. We heard the creaking of insects and songs of the birds. It was a tough climb but the guide kept pushing us to go on. He was a great guy, always making sure that we were all right. We trudged along making jokes and encouraging each other not to give up. ...