And my contribution to Life Framers contest – Humans of the World
I enjoy visiting temples, but what are temples without people. There has to be someone who keeps the temple grounds clean and also, temples, especially in Bali, are very lively. There are local communities celebrating different holidays and showing respect to the deities. And of course, there are tourists. When I was visiting the beautiful Brahmavihara Arama buddhist temple close to Lovina I was amazed by the beauty of the temple and temple grounds. While walking around and taking in the sights, and taking photos, I saw one woman cleaning around one of the Buddha statues. I realised she’s as much part of the temple grounds as the temple, and the statues, itself. So, I started photographing her while she was working. I talked to her and asked if I could take her photo. She looked so proud of her work when I photographed her. Now, when I finally have time to work properly again, I decided to submit my photos of her to Life Framers contest Humans of the World.
I realise now how lucky I was to experience Bali at the end of the pandemic, when the world and Bali was opening up again. Especially in north and east Bali I got to experience lots of local life since I was almost the only western tourist. On the weekends, Indonesian tourist from Jawa used to show up in their cars, but apart from that we weren’t many tourists and I had Bali to myself. And I loved it. This year when I came back I was surprised in the beginning, “Oh look! A western tourist!” , until I realised we were now so many on the island.
When I visited the temple Brahmavihara Arama I made a day trip of it by going swimming in the holy thermal springs of Banjar Sekar. There it was just me and a lot of balinese kids. Or actually, I met three Scandinavian women but they weren’t swimming just had a look at the springs. I’ve always wanted to visit the holy spring, since I’ve seen photos of it. The dramatic contrast between the balinese statues, the surrounding greenery and the green water. The water is warm and smells a bit but it was a great experience and felt like it was doing me good.
Visiting holy baths and waterfalls is a big thing while in Bali. There are usually many tourists swimming, and posing, in the waterfalls so when I visited with my camera, I took the opportunity to take some photos and test slow shutter speed to see how it would turn out handheld. But I did some swimming too. When I was in Ubud I went to Kanto Lampo waterfall, which is a short drive from Ubud. There are many more waterfalls on the island of Bali, and everything is theoretically a short drive away. It just depends on the traffic, that’s why I like to stay at different places on the island and explore the local area so I don’t have to spend too much time in traffic.
A tip if you’re heading to Lovina from Ubud, or from the south coast in general, when choosing your route, is to head to Lovina from Ubud via Singaraja. That road is much newer and better. You’ll get to see temples, mountains, beautiful views and, of course, monkeys during the drive. While moving from one place to another on the island I usually use one of the mobile apps that are available – like Grab, Gojek or Blue Bird – to find a driver. And if we get along, I get the drivers number and text them on WhatsApp to arrange for excursions. And, it’s not expensive. If you’re using local drivers you can always check the price in one of the apps to get an estimate of how much it should cost.
Lovina is a very central location in the north for visiting other places along the north coast of Bali. One day I went snorkelling at Menjangan island. The island is part of a national park in the north west, Taman Nasional Bali Barat, West Bali National Park. Menjangan Island is famous for its good conditions for snorkelling and diving. There are also lots of deer on the island and a Ganesha temple. It was one of the best days of my stay in Bali last year, a bit of sightseeing and great swimming.
People were also scuba diving but I enjoyed snorkelling along the drop, or wall as you might call it. I love that, seeing the sea suddenly getting deeper. It’s almost like when you’re on top of a mountain and looking down over a cliff. But you look deeper into the sea. My fear of height doesn’t apply in the water though I just love seeing how deep it might drop and looking at, and taking photos of the marine life.
One image that has stayed with me from my visit to the north coast is when we were driving down the mountains towards Lovina and ahead of us was a truck full of cows. I still wonder how those cows felt, considering I’m afraid of heights, are cows uncomfortable travelling down mountains in trucks. Guess that’s a subject I have to look further into.