SYNOPSIS:  Moving from Java to Bali.  Not too much about Air Asia or the flight.  A few photos about my new accommodations; a traditional villa in Ubud.

Lucky me, I was scheduled for the 2:30 PM flight, which was only delayed by 1.5 hours.  Those who had hoped to get out at 8 AM had been waiting and were only getting off the ground 30 minutes before us…  This was my 8th flight with my 6th airline, unless, I am losing count.  How typical this is for Air Asia, I don’t know.  But it seems to be an improvement over the situation just a few years ago to which my guidebook still alludes:  Not too long ago, flights were simply canceled for no apparent reason.  Now, flight schedules by and large, seem to be honored. Whatever that means…

Of all the islands, Bali is the only one that remains predominantly Hindu (90+%).  As curious as the interpretation of Sharia and Islam is in the Aceh Province, experts are equally puzzled by the unique interpretation of Hinduism that is practiced in Indonesia like nowhere else.  It seems to be an overlay of imported Hinduism — that in itself is a curiosity as Hinduism is not an “export” or proselytizing religion — and indigenous Animism.  Most likely, Hinduism reached Indonesia like everything else: through trade.  Indians, along with Arabs, Malaysians, Europeans, Africans and others were trading, settling, and importing cultures, ideas, and religions.  Hinduism is the religion of Indians and in certain ways, Indonesia once was a “little India” away from home. 

I arrived in Denpassar after dark.  In line at the airport I had met Lorene, a young woman from Canada, also traveling alone.  As expected, she was heading for the same town as I was, the cultural hub of Bali, Ubud.  We shared a taxi.   

I had hardly entered the first courtyard of my new home, when I decided that I would extend my stay here!  I have a spacious room in a huge traditional Balinese Villa that is over 100 years old.  The home has been in the family for four generations.  The last two generations are still living downstairs.  The elder couple is enjoying retirement, their son is running the homestay of four rooms above and a guesthouse nearby.  I have a private balcony overlooking flowering trees and I am just going to enjoy this.  Ubud has so much to offer that I will have my hands full. 

I know I can’t see it all, why even try.  I will do day tours and use Ubud as my home base.  I might not get to swim this way, but my focus is arts and culture anyhow and Ubud is the center of that.

I hope you will like this place as much as I do.  The juxtaposition of mini-temples, vegetation, open spaces, verandas, sculptures and living space is just phenomenal.  No wonder people fall in love with this and become expats.  If I don’t show up for my fall classes, you know where to find me…

Good night.