Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bali Experience

There is two month and 25 days since I return from Bali back to Denmark after a dream vacation. It was an opportunity which if I would have missed it, I would have regretted my whole life. 

For that I have to thank my dear loving girlfriend who had the luck of doing an internship in Bali. So, except for the plane ticket which was quite cheap even if the gap in my account was considerate, everything else was arranged…and here I refer to the accommodation in a small complex with beautiful villas, with pool in between, in a small town close to the most famous, crowded and popular areas in Bali. Even the transportation was quite affordable every time we decided for a party night or area sightseeing. When I refer us, I mean all the other work colleagues who lived in the same villa; kind people, smart and funny, very open to anything new…like a true real fairy tale.

 For a first experience in Asia, this was a fantastic one. After almost 20 hours flight, including the transit time spent in between the two airports, Doha and Singapore, I thought I´ll die. The air condition in the airport plus a small flu virus, caught from a Chinese restaurant in Copenhagen, kind of trapped me in the bed for few days. The changing time zones, of almost 11 hours, were added to my soreness. Only after about 6 days I was fully recovered. Finally, I could enjoy the place. Even sick I was not sticking only in bed, but nevertheless the sickness retracted me from the enjoyment of being in such a breathtaking place for the first time ever. 

No matter how often or to how many different restaurants with traditional Asian food one had gone, the taste and the international experience is not the same. Everything I have been trying before, in terms of traditional Asian food, could not be compared with the kind of food one finds locally. It’s authentic, more appetizing, and quite hard to ignore the difference. 

Healthier, well nourished and after walking around all the well known commercial areas surrounding Bali center, on the streets full with small shops and locals to outcry you to enter their boutique so you can purchase their goods , it was time for me to try something I always desired I could do. 

Have you ever had the impression that something that you could only see on TV, was meant for you to do, something that outcalls your name whenever seeing it? That, even though you´ve never tried it before, you are competent doing it flawlessly? Well, that was my feeling in relation to surfing. And what better place for surfing, if not Bali? And I did…I was born for something like this. After 5 minutes lesson from a guy that I rent the surf board from, I enter the water. We went 30-40 meter further into the water. The water was not too high, only upper body level. The instructor guiding me to wait for the wave fronting the seashore, lie on the surf board waiting for the wave…I was waiting for the big wave to come. One wave approaches fast but was not big enough for me to follow it. My colleagues went with it; I waiting for a new one…There it come. I start paddling my hands at the instruction of the experienced mad. I paddle fast, faster and suddenly I jump strait on the surfing board. In a perfect equilibrium I reach the shore flying on the wave. I smile. I go try again, and again, around 20 successful rounds. Not bad, for a beginner. The biggest satisfaction was not the one that was so successful surfing but that the feeling I always had about surfing, was the right one. The days following I went alone to the beach; to the same locals I have been the first time (I trusted the people already to let all my stuff in their hands)…as where the all others remained in the villa, working the whole day, I was enjoying myself on the marvelous beaches of Bali. Whenever all other were friends with their work, I was friend with the sun and the surfing board. Every time I was surfing, I used to try out other size of the board, this making surfing more difficult but it was a challenge and risk I wanted to take…just for the sake of the experience. And still, every time I was successful.  The third and last  the time (I wasn´t there all the time, once in every three days; as there were even other things to accomplish on my vacation agenda) I knew it was suppose to be my last time, which is why I wanted to beat my record of flying on my skateboard 30 times in a single day. My feet were painfully irritated by the salty water in the ocean and by the rigid surface of the surf board, but nothing was keeping me back from trying to keep up with reaching my goal. I was starting to gain distance between the shore and the waiting life for the waves. I was able to reach not only one round of waves but two. I was even aligned with the more experienced guys … I wasn´t scared and they did not know it either, so it did not care. I did not have the same techniques as they had but I was riding the wave as the well experienced did. I was very proud of myself. 


But, let´s come back to people. Very nice and always smiling, even though, comparing with their life quality, I would say that they have less than those complaining all the time by what they have. I understand their approach toward `pushing` you inside their shops to purchase their stuff but that´s something that I did not like very much. At a point I got the feeling of them being too insistent. After refusing dozens of other people approaching with the same interest, its obvious you´d discharge your tension on the next ones approaching you for the same purpose. I haven´t made any exception to that.

Life during the night time is very beautiful and interesting. Dozens of clubs waiting to offer you the pleasure expected. Club music, cheep drinks, free entrance (in the case you were `bule` or how the locals say, white people – guest, tourist), liveliness people having lots of fun, animators, girls awaiting to accompany you in case you were alone or lost from your friends, anything that may keep you there until the daylight.

The surroundings of the villa where we were living was quite, filed with honest people living their existence through agriculture and small business. The houses were very colorful, every house having a small temple in front of the house (that is what defines the whole culture in those areas). Everywhere could be seen offerings for Gods spread on the small streets, giving a first impression of misery, but after you´ve found out their meaning, a sense of protection from Gods appears. On streets, hundreds of big trees, which fruits until then I could only see in the supermarkets or to the shelves of import sellers, trees that offers shadow for the sun that always appeared to be up. Only one thing seemed familiar to me: the red-tiled roofs. The same type of tiles one can see in Copenhagen or on the old houses from my city where I was born – Braila.

For such a small island, Bali offers lots of adventures. From national parks to active volcanoes, from monkeys’ forests to Emperor Castles, from safari to places where you could swim with dolphins, almost anything was possible. From all these, we mostly choose the beauty of beaches. We visited beaches good for surfing, beaches with houses for those willing to live close to the beach, places for relaxing with fine sand and beautiful girls ready to give you massages but also visited places where the nature was predominant and with its wildness was creating the impression of something different, something beautiful.

It was very hard for me to say goodbye to all of this. And maybe that was the reason of me thinking to move there for one year or two. Anyway, life in Copenhagen brought me fast back with the feet on the ground. For this instant, this may not be possible for me, but I will never give up to this idea. It may not be possible now, but who knows…maybe in the near future. The Bali sunsets are very well fixed in my head.

The only regret that I have with Bali is that I did not use this opportunity from the photographic point of view. The only 1500 pictures I took were not enough and that would be a future reason to go back. And I will.                

Monday, January 23, 2012

Colorful Star Park

Another park in Copenhagen attracts my attention this week. I have been before in this park but during the day, that is why I decided to take a walk during the day so I can get some extra pictures. It´s completely different from any other! It´s about the park located on Frederikssundsvej (Hulgaards Plads to be more precise. Assembled probably after the modernization of the area and the blocks with modern architecture, without the red or orange brick facades of the specific Danish urban landscape but with huge windows and balconies large as half of a room, the park proves overwhelming simplicity. 

 The recipe is simple: you take a not very complicated symbol, in this case a five-pointed star, and do with it everything you can and should exist in a beautiful public place. And here I mean the benches and the tables, the tracing lines, the public lighting and the demarcation between the asphalt and the area with planted trees, and so on. The investment does not seem to be enormous but with very good common sense. 

 The most impressing thing that attracts me to visit the park during the night time was the lightning. The lightning of different colors, with stars projections on the asphalt offers a fairytales view. Next time I´d like to visit the park, it would probably be during a time with lots of snow or thick fog. But until then, I´d be happy with the pictures I have made this time. 

I hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Recreation Time ... Norrebro park

        If there is one thing the Danes are very good at is creating new, creative and beautiful outdoor parks for relaxation and enjoying the free time (It has to be like this considering that Danes only 30 hour a week – that’s what EU Labor Force approved for 2011). 

This was confirmed to me once again last weekend, when I took a visit to the new park in Norrebro. Located between Norrebrogade and Tangesvej, the area is now much more colorful. To be honest, I was quite skeptical at first when I saw that it has been started the development of that area, and this because I lived in that neighborhood, 10 meters from the new park (I could see from my apartment window everything what was happening there, including how someone broke in my flat mate’s car, how somebody else made a nice graffiti on my car, how the young guys from this neighborhood always had some problems with the policemen, etc), but my skepticism was (thankfully) wrong. I’m not saying that these things will never happen again, but now if a cop will follow a bad guy who just broke into a car or he had done some illegal things at least they will run in a area with a lot of beautiful colors, with swings and benches with a modern design, with palm trees and other kind of exotically trees, and all this things will make them smile, will make them fell like “home” if we consider the origin of the bad guy who may be from a palm tree country . The same thing with the cop, he will run smiling when he will see the Asiatic or Russian letters, and in his head will pop the amazing experiences from his last trip in one of these countries, or his next vacation. 

But now let’s be serious again and try to see the thematic of this new park. I think you already realized that is about a multinational park with design from a lot of different countries. I didn’t read all the places that this new recreation area covers but some that I remember are USA, Kina, Russia, Iraq, etc. 

One of the strong points is considered the very powerful colors and the same for the rigidity of the park elements. The architect of this park had surely considered the location and that may be the reason of placing the elements as durable as possible. As a minus, that I want to mention, could be the lack of trash bins in the park. At least, there are less than necessary considering the size of the park. Even the existent ones were full or even thrown down with all the garbage scattered over a radius of 1-2 meters. Considering the amount of money invested, they should at least ensure better sanitation. But maybe it was just a coincidence of mine being there at the beginning of the year or during the Russian Christmas, the time when the garbage trucks don’t work.

As a conclusion, I suggest you should visit this park together with your kids, with your life partners or with just your photo camera. That will definitely be a place that I am going to visit more often, next time during the night…I think there can be shouted very beautiful nocturnal urban landscape. But for that I may need some backup with me (some more people, group of friends, maybe). The area seems to be a little dangerous for going all by yourself equipped with cameras.