Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bali: the last resort for long haul pleasure?

The island has been swamped by greedy development that threatens to extinguish the soul of the island, argues Jonathan Hart.

So much for serendipity, as the late artist Antonio Blanco might have muttered.

Uniformly adorned in ethnic scarves and sandals, the audience tonight at his memorial museum and gallery high in the hills of Bali is a group of western ladies of a certain age, earnestly pursuing cultural enlightenment.

That they are visibly baffled by the exotic nudes and erotic daubs splashed before them in lurid colour would have come as no surprise to the flamboyant Blanco, who once told me that the essence of Bali is found in the heart rather than the eye.

No surprise, either, to the handful of surviving lotus eaters still languishing in the bars and cafes of Ubud.
As all foreigners who live here are quick to confirm, the fabled magic and mysticism of the Island of the Gods can be as illusory as it is intoxicating; as disparate as it is dumbfounding.

Full article
by Jonathan Hart

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