1. Week Durian Retreat
The first moments in Bali seemed like a fairytale world to me. Colorful streets, picturesque landscapes, charming people. The tropical heat on the so-called “Island of the Gods” turned out to be a paradise for fruit lovers in the first days. On the way from the airport to the city “Ubud” I already noticed some market stalls and street vendors. They sell Durian, dragon fruit, mangosteen and similar sweet fruits. In most cases the fruits are much cheaper than in Europe. For a Jackfruit with a few kilograms (which covered my entire lap) I paid the equivalent of 3 USD.
Bali has something relaxing for the whole being. Apart from the heavy traffic, the people there know true calmness. The vegetation stretches over a large part of the island in fresh green. Rainforests, rice fields and palm trees are standards in Bali. Temperatures around 30°C are the daily rule. There is no winter here. Around November and December the inhabitants expect long lasting rain.
Community Living & Expedition
After eating various durian variations on the 1st evening, it became clear to me, that this quality and freshness can only be achieved locally. Who wants tropical 10/10 quality food is best served locally. Tree fresh harvested & practically infinite quantities at favourable prices! On the 2nd day we went to the “North Bali Durian Retreat” with Tina & Simon (instagram: fit_shortie_eats). The couple has been exploring Durian and the best and rarest fruits on the planet in Asia for some time now. It was enchanting to spend time with them and the participants of the retreat. The sweetest moments often arise in traveling together. Everyone has their own individual way of contributing to the well being of the group. Our journey took us to the north, where we climbed waterfalls, slid and admired nature. Walking over rice terraces we refreshed ourselves with naturally tingling (!) coconuts. Fruit variety and quality like never before. While most of the participants of the retreat consumed mostly fruit, after 1 1/2 years of instinctive raw food practice I found it too sweet. I balanced therefore with vegetables and fats.
Interestingly enough, dragon fruits were attractive to me for a very long time. They shine with colour and yet have only a very subtle taste that intensifies from the outside to the inside. The white ones have fine lemon notes, while the red dragon fruits taste like blueberry or raspberry jam. Really delicious.
Housing, Water & Tourism
Housing on this island is relatively simple. The houses are mostly made of wood, concrete and bamboo. During the 1st week we lived in well ventilated traditional “wooden huts” of the rural north. This was one of the most restful sleep i’ve ever had – like air-flooded the next morning. The water supply for tourists in Bali is mainly provided by water bottles. Rarely glass, mostly plastic. From time to time you can get fresh spring water while trekking. In Bali, cocoa, coffee and coconut usually grow on the roadside. Drinking coconuts are widely available at the so-called “warungs” (kiosks). The people in Bali are very open-minded. During various trips on the island the people were almost always friendly and interested in international travellers. Bali makes the big exception in Indonesia. Most of the people there live Hinduism, but they are not vegetarians. The Balinese attach great importance to rituals and festivals. It is decorated, celebrated and incense smoked. Every day flowers and ritual objects were placed in front of my accommodation.
5% Animal Products
Bali had to offer some nuts (imported from Australia). Native fats are mainly coconuts, cocoa pods, peanuts, Kenarin nuts and avocados, although the avocados cannot compete with the quality in Europe. Most of them were very watery, probably harvested unripe. Bali still seems to me to be a fruit paradise. I can enjoy vegetables and fats a lot more in Europe. To the animal products: I could only get fish on the Gili Islands (tuna, mackerel, etc. is fished in Lombok), while I completely renounced meat. Selection and quality seemed inappropriate to me. Also eggs were relatively hard to get of suitable quality. Most of the eggs came from cages and even the organic eggs had a fragile shell and no excellent taste. Quality and choice is definitely more advanced in Europe. The consumption of animal products during the month was about 5% of my meals.
The remaining 2 weeks I visited the Gili Islands. So to say the Mallorca of Bali. There are regular partys, Reggea bars and clubs. The price level on the Gili Islands rises many times over the ones on Bali. None of the locals mentioned that there is a garbage collection in the middle of the island. The plastic madness extends over a large part of the markets. Tourists are informed via signs to consciously say “no” to plastic. More expensive bars and localities tend to pay more attention to a clean environment. Recyclable plastic could make things easier for the current generation and especially for the younger ones. Apart from plastic, Gili is the island paradise. Free of cars. People travel there on foot, bicycle, electric scooter or horse taxi.
Some vegetables had a strange taste. After a visit to the “Baliwood Organic Farm” we were told that a lot of vegetables are conventionally fertilized with chemicals. Organic products are mostly available from farmers on the streets, directly at the markets or in special organic shops like Alchemy or Earth Cafe in Ubud.
Wani DAN Duren
This is especially available on Bali: Wani Mango. This fruit has white flesh and reminds of a sweet medicinal herbal toothpaste. We also discovered a “Keluak” nut that tasted just like 100% dark chocolate. Another speciality of Bali are the different coconuts (young, old, gold, green, …) and the King of the fruits “Durian”. This is usually offered outside the cities at good prices and excellent quality. The so-called “Kampung” (translated “village”) Durian represents the wild form of this fruit. The flavor ranges from butter popcorn, sugared scrambled eggs, chemical cleaner and cream brulé to overripe sauerkraut varieties. The maturity of a Durian can be recognized by its radiant appearance and the appearance of the stem. Tree ripened Durian fall from the tree by themselves and should therefore be consumed as soon as possible. Grass smell? Hands off! The natural impact on the ground brings the fruit to the final stage of ripeness.
Sale & canvas printing of the pictures available on request.
Tropical greetings! Picture sliders to look through: