Bali’s famous terraced rice fields
Among my favorite books when I was a child was an elegantly illustrated volume titled Bobra of Bali. In this book, I read of life on a beautiful island, where rice grew in terraced fields, children wore sarongs and went barefoot, women went to temple with towers of food and flowers balanced on their heads, and festivals were celebrated with gorgeously and fantastically costumed plays and dances.
A few years ago, I learned from friends that Bali was still worth visiting, and that it was in many areas unchanged from the images I had of it. It didn’t take me long to decide to go.
It is interesting sometimes to consider the threads that run through one’s life. We all have interests we’ve accumulated that have nothing to do with what has gone before, but there can be a special gladness in making connections from old loves to new.
When I was a child, one of my favorite books was Little Pear, which had been my mother’s book when she was a child. It related the adventures of a little boy growing up in China. I remember quite vividly Little Pear’s favorite treat, something the story identified as a tang hulur, half-a-dozen crab apples on a stick, all dipped in candy. Of the many things I saw in China during my first visit to the mainland, a vendor selling this simple child’s treat was certainly not the most astonishing, but it hit me with a jolt of delighted recognition that “bigger” sights did not offer. Eating one was like finding that a decades-old promise had been kept. Continue reading