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In the beginning when the earth was formed, Bali was placed in the centre of the universe. An island resting on the back of a giant turtle, floating in an ocean, beneath a canopy of perfumed sky, beautiful, and full of rare flowers - excerpt from an Old Balinese manuscript the Catur Yoga.

Morning of the World

there is a faraway island

much fabled land of the East

of smoking volcano’s and coconut palms

where sighing sea breezes send friendly hellos

to the dawn kissed horizon that blushes with pleasure

the sun ascends slowly and shyly declares

I am the eye of the day

extravagantly green lush and fertile

magnificent to behold

rice terraces

like giant steps to heaven

embroidered in shimmering chartreuse and gold

at dusk from the sawahs returning

tired and content

for there labours well spent

these brown gentle people

are one with the earth

fireflies dance with a flickering light

fierce thunder is rumbling

white lightning zigzagging

a climactic of violence electric

the staccato of raindrops comes crashing

and loudly intrudes on the still of the night

fitful strains of the gamelan wafting

enchantment is weaving its magical spell

welcome welcome my friend to Bali

 

Bali is a small island situated approximately halfway along the string of 13,677 islands, which make up the Indonesian archipelago. Indonesia stretches from Sumatra to Irian Jaya and supports a population of over 190 million people; hundreds of different ethnic groups, speaking more than three hundred and fifty languages. Bali lies adjacent to Java, the most densely populated island in the whole of Indonesia. Dramatically beautiful and mountainous, Bali has an area of 5, 620sq km, and is 8 degrees south of the equator. There is a central mountain chain, which runs the entire length of the island. This includes several peaks which are over 2, 000 meters or more. Gunung Agung, the most holy mountain in Bali is over 3, 000 meters in height.

Bali is volcanically active and extravagantly lush and fertile. Periodic volcanic eruptions contribute to the lands exceptional fertility. A high rainfall of approximately 1, 800mm annually provides the water needed for the complex irrigation system supplying the many beautiful rice terraces. The chain of mountains running east west of the island reaches its highest point around the middle of the island. South and north of the central mountains are Bali’s fertile agricultural lands. The southern region is a wide gently sloping area where most of Bali’s abundant rice crop is grown. The southern coastal area is the true rice basket of the island. The northern coastal strip is narrow, rising rapidly into the foothills of the central range of the mountains. This area grows export crops of coffee and copra, vegetables are also grown and a limited number of cattle are raised.

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