A Few Words and Pictures On Bali

Bali was a bucket list item for me. I checked the box, and can't wait to return. There are several sides to Bali and while many many many of them will leave you wanting more, others will make you wonder what the fuss was about. Large swathes of the northern part of the island is almost virgin territory, full of jungles, trails, verdant hills and secluded beaches waiting to be explored. But some parts of the south are a (successful) case study in textbook large scale commercial tourism and home to mega resort townships like Nusa Dua- excellent for honeymooners, but not so much for backpackers looking for an authentic experience in Balinese island life. 

Located in relative proximity to Australia and major Asian hubs like Bangkok and Singapore, Bali has emerged as an extremely popular tourist getaway in the last few decades. From luxury resorts in the south, cozy cottages nestled in the rice plantations of Ubud, to tiny cafes selling homemade soursop jam, and secluded beaches like Nyang Nyang beach, Bali deserves your time. Be generous with it :)

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A Recap Of 48 Memorable Hours In Jakarta

One of my great finds during travels to South East Asia in early 2015 was the sensational Thai rock band Endorphin. I had their album on its third loop when Thai Airways flight TG433 thundered down the runway at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta on a balmy February morning. A tropical wet breeze engulfed my face the moment I disembarked from the aircraft, a more than welcome change from the deep freeze in New York City. The arrival hall had an eerie calm to itself, as if this was the first flight of the day. Immigration was a breeze and all it took was fifteen minutes and $35 in visa fees. A few foreign exchange counters come into sight just before one exits the terminal, which typically make for a perfectly normal sight at every international airport. What made these counters unique were the excessively competitive women behind every glass panel, making eager animated hand actions to beckon new business. The lady passenger ahead of me actually paused to soak in this funny sight. No harm witnessing some light hearted entertained early morning. The quiet inside the terminal was in stark contrast to the chaos outside, where there seemed to be more touts, taxi drivers and idle bystanders lingering about than passengers put together. I soaked in my surroundings – groups of families carting luggage, people waiting for relatives, men reading newspapers, and others who seemed perfectly content just ambling up and down the terminal exit area.

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