LIFE IN A DIFFERENT WORLD: Bali

Once-buzzing island in a coma now

Monkeys crossing an empty road in Ubud, Bali, last month. The writer feels that without travellers from other countries it is very difficult for the locals, who depend on tourism for a living.
Monkeys crossing an empty road in Ubud, Bali, last month. The writer feels that without travellers from other countries it is very difficult for the locals, who depend on tourism for a living.PHOTO: REUTERS
Monkeys crossing an empty road in Ubud, Bali, last month. The writer feels that without travellers from other countries it is very difficult for the locals, who depend on tourism for a living.
AYU RASMINI, 43, OWNER OF PONDOK MASA DEPAN COTTAGES AND WELLNESS RETREAT

For the past two months, many of the world's most popular destinations have been shuttered, leaving monuments, museums, shops, restaurants, bars and streets almost empty. As the world reopens and residents step out, they are faced with the reality that life today is different from what it was before the coronavirus pandemic, and will likely remain so for some time. One of the most significant differences - a bittersweet realisation for most - is that there are currently no tourists to attend to or crowds to shuffle through. Residents in some of the most crowded tourist spots reveal what it's like.

Each day in March, more and more tourists left our village. It was so sad to see. Now, there are no tourists here except for one American from Seattle who has been in our village since February and doesn't want to leave because he loves the energy here.

Normally at this time, I would be doing yoga, massage, healing ceremonies and trekking with our guests from around the world.

Instead we are making beautiful gardens and planting bananas, papayas, eggplant, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and cassava. We worry about what we will eat if this lasts too long, so we want to make sure we have enough food.

This is a very difficult time. There is so much work to be done. Still, some routines we do not change. We still do yoga twice a day. And we still watch the sunset and then say our prayers.

I appreciate life and I accept everything. It is so quiet here now. I would say it is like hibernation. Bali is almost in a coma.

Now we spend so much time with our families, we realise how important family is. Now we can see inside ourselves and realise what is really important in life.

For my sons, especially, it's boring. My youngest one, who is 14, would like to play video games all day if I let him.

This is good for the air and for Mother Nature. Our planet has time to recover from all the suffering. It is a time for healing. This cannot continue too long. Everyone wants to know - until when?

Here in Bali, we have much fewer Covid-19 cases than in other places in Indonesia because we are disciplined. And we are close to nature, we live healthy and we pray.

But without our travellers from other countries it is very difficult for us now. It's like we have lost our energy. After this is over, we will go back to being who we are.

 
 
 
 
 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 24, 2020, with the headline 'Once-buzzing island in a coma now'. Print Edition | Subscribe