Nusa Penida has risen to recent foreign fame for its numerous magnificent cliffs and a single inexplicably popular tree house. Its history however, has far more depth.
For years, only ghouls, demons, and dark spirits roamed this untamed island. A formidable force of negativity led by I Macaling, the spreader of sickness and disease. Eventually, priests of a nearby kingdom were sent to cleanse the island and banish I Macaling. A battle fought in a collective consciousness proved to be partially successful, I Macaling was subdued. Gone, yet still his energy lives on. Soon after the island was named Nusa Penida (Island of Priests).
For many Balinese today, the black magic found on Nusa Penida is an integral part of their existence. The island serves as a pilgrimage site to seek balance against the positive energy of divinity. More than most, the Balinese respect both the good and the bad, considering them mutually necessary to life. This philosophy, Rua Beneda, weaves its way through every aspect of this island. From elaborate ceremonies to natural disasters, a tourist economy to tourist destruction, for better or for worse, with the good you take the bad.
Mere minutes away from Bali, East Java has somehow avoided a life governed near entirely by tourism. As a result, this part of Jav has virtually no resemblance to its Hindu neighbour. Many of it's beaches remain empty, and trails hardly trotted. With just under 5 days to experience the area, I rented a motorbike straight from the airport, started driving, then hardly stopped. Over the 120 hours, I spent 40 driving, 22 sleeping, and most of the rest with my camera. This is a taste of what that experience looked like. An ode to East Java created on two wheels
The Overland Book
Overland; Through the Middle of the World, will take the reader on a visual journey across the almost forgotten lands of Central Asia. This large format coffee table book is an exploration of the culture, nature, and history of the people and places that range from Istanbul in Turkey, all the way through to the far reaches of Inner Kyrgyzstan.
Tegalalang is easily the most famous rice terrace found throughout Bali. By now, it acts more like a living showroom than a functioning rice field, catering to busloads of tourists and keen swingers. Though if you do wake up early enough, you may find yourself a few surprisingly peaceful moments.
Around 15 minutes away from Ubud, there is a 10th century Balinese Temple called Samuan Tiga. Meaning 'meeting of three', it is believed that this temple served as the successful mediary between three conflicting Hindu sects. Here, the high priest would moderate and successfully resolve any and all conflicts. This year, the 26th of April was the celebration of the temples birthday, and a few thousand Balinese gathered to celebrate. Now a standardized size, both friends & rivals used to compete to make the largest, most extravagant fruit basket offerings. Naturally, things eventually got out of hand, and the high priest had to create a standardized size for offerings. A custom for consumable customs.