We're Kristin Henning and Tom Bartel. In 2010, we sold our business, our home, our possessions, and gave away our dog.We've been traveling the world ever since. Travel Past 50 offers encouragement, entertainment, and information, with sharp writing, personal tales, and professional photography, for travelers over the age of 50.
Unlike your typical tour guide, Agung Rai didn't feel the need to fill every moment with commentary. In fact, other than the basic introductions, he didn't say too much at all until we'd left Ubud proper and made it out into the rice paddy and jungle countryside.
Then he pulled the well used Toyota SUV off to the side of the road and shut off the engine. We were in the middle of no particular place and he got out of the driver's side and beckoned us to do the same. After we'd walked a little ways from the truck, he said, "Listen to the water."
The best advice I'd got in Bali since, "Try the curry."
There's an older man who comes by our villa with his wife a few times a week to do a little gardening while his wife makes smoky offerings to the gods. He's an unfailingly cheerful sort who always has a bit to say, but doesn't hang around enough to become burdensome. Until today, he'd always spoken to us in his rather halting English. But today we discovered by accident that we both spoke Spanish, and the conversation got a lot more interesting.
He was the one who told us last week about Tuesday's cremation ceremony and invited us to attend. And when he came back today, he asked if we'd been there and if we had any questions. Let me describe the ceremony first, so we know what we're talking about when I get to the questions.
Rice field at sunset, Ubud, Bali There's a quality to the light in southern Asia, particularly in Bali, that I haven't seen anywhere else. I don't know what causes it. The tropics? The pervasive watery green of rice paddies? The smoke from cooking fires, and sometimes burning paddies? But this light pervades all [...]
Rice temple ceremony, blessing the water (December 2011, Ubud, Bali) For over a thousand years, the cycle of rice growing in Bali has been managed through water temples, organized by watershed districts. The irrigation system begins at the fresh springs and crater lakes of Mts. Batur and Batukaru, and courses through rivers, irrigation [...]
Matera at twilight on a drizzly evening. The lights provide the only color, and this was the only view of Matera we got on the first night. Matera, in the province of Basilicata, is right in the arch of the boot of Italy. And, as such, it was the starting place of our [...]