Life Begins At...

The Retiree Magazine Summer 2011-12

Life Begins At.....

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Page 26 of 171

ISLAND TRAVEL I was recently asked to go on an important work assignment. For over a week, sleepless nights consumed my very existence: the anguish, anxiousness and feeling of responsibility were devouring my every waking moment. My fi ndings could spell disappointment or exhilaration for thousands of tourists Australia wide! My mission, should I wish to accept it, was to discover the truth behind Indonesia's most popular tourist attraction: Bali. Needless to say, I take my job very seriously. The mere mention of Bali conjures up an array of varied pictures in everyone's mind. These pictures may be as contrasting as the island's landscape, as diverse as its cultures and as polarizing as its attractions. From pristine beaches to unrelenting touts, from alluring temples to overcrowded tourist bars; it sometimes seems that Bali suffers from a split personality syndrome. Is it a tourist haven or trap? Blissful refuge or frenzied circus act? I was determined to unmask, once and for all, the true identity of this enigmatic place. I dived in with no hesitation. I was immediately taken by the local cuisine. What impressed me the most was the variety of eating establishments; from superb seaside restaurants to cheap and cheerful street stalls; you can spend as much or as little as you wish and still feast like a queen. Aromatic local herbs are used to infuse what I can only describe as the freshest and most succulent seafood I've ever had the pleasure of savouring. The culinary delights would be reason alone to return on a second, fact- fi nding mission. Love it or hate it, Bali is a force to be reckoned with. This glorious island is small and compact; everything is close at hand and excursions inland to discover intricate temples and luscious rice farms are gaining popularity with tourists, who have fi nally realised there's more to Bali than just bars and sun baking. Popular Kuta beach was indeed a tolerant woman's most challenging obstacle, but truth be told, I really did enjoy the shopping, socialising and bartering for the fi rst few days. However, I never imagined how easy it would be to escape the crowds, and discover some of Bali's hidden gems. THE RETIREE SUMMER 21

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