I found Bali completely overwhelming for the first week of our trip. We walked the precarious footpaths of Ubud most days, stopping for fresh juice every now and then. In the past five years this once quiet town has attracted thousands of tourists; many with a mala around the neck and a yoga mat under the arm. It's the Byron Bay of Bali without the beach; rice paddies and jungle in lieu of gums and ocean.
So what was so overwhelming? Well, it's easy to forget that Bali is rather third world. It is a land of contrast - you're in the luxury of a resort one minute and the next you're standing on a street with gaping holes in the footpath, burning rubbish beside you and motorbikes carrying a shop load of goods. It was this glorious contrast that I learnt to love; the energy of a busy town and the comfort of knowing the the quiet and the peace of the rice paddies was only minutes away.
For that first week, as I attempted to settle into the pace, I used my camera to document the beauty, the busy and the spirit. Imagine all these scenes shrouded by the exhaust of a hundred scooters and the fine haze of incense. The soundtrack is a loud and passionate one; laughing, beeping, "Taxi?!"
If I had of visited Bali for a week I wouldn't have returned. But a month? We're already planning another (longer!) trip.