Bright City Lights - August 16th 2015

Our last day in Sidemen at the wonderful Pondok Uma Ayu. We will certainly miss it and our host/chef Wayan who has cared for us so well!

Not doing anything much today just relaxing (as my leg is still sore after my misadventure yesterday and Erica’s joints got a big work out and need rest). It is giving us time to reflect on our stay in this valley of vistas.

I have to point out here that it is not all a “Bed of Roses” for the farming inhabitants. In the early days before motor scooters, mobile phones and the need for an education life moved at an even slower pace here. People had little needs other than for food and shelter as they were basically subsistence farmers. Their children stayed with them and continued the farming as they grew too old to work the fields. Their strong Hindu faith fortified them and they lived a tranquil peaceful life.

Today the pressures of the modern world have started to change the old pattern of life here. Talking to the local farmers we find that most couples now have only two children and that many of them now go to the cities for tourist related jobs leaving the older and weaker to tend the farms. The need for TV, mobile phones, expensive Education and healthcare (all new costs) have driven small area farmers to take tourist related jobs to subsidise their farm incomes that cannot support these extra expenses. The still embryonic tourism industry in this valley does provide, guiding, driving, and homestay jobs for many but we can see that rampant tourism as witnessed in Ubud could destroy completely their way of life.

The drift by young people and failing farmers to the cities is not a new phenomenon as it is well documented if my memory serves me right in Gibbon’s Volumes on The Roman Empire or a similar reputable tome. One such quote that I clearly remember from my early 20’s laments “The movement of farmers and their children from their farming villages to large towns where they are residing in up to four storey buildings”. The only difference today is the height of the buildings they move to and the numbers of children due to modern contraception.

This drift to cities is destroying rural life all over Italy and France and appears to be unstoppable. As the old lyric goes “How can you keep them down on the farm once they have seen Paris? Both Erica and my siblings although bought up in the country moved to the bright city lights to improve our lots.

Having said all that it is our utmost hope that this valley, so rich in culture and strong in beliefs does somehow survive much as we have experienced it this week. The Sacred Mount Agung has given life and prosperity to so many Balinese here that we cannot imagine its power allowing it all to be taken away.

My pics today are more of the wonderful vistas from yesterday that are burned into our memories forever. How could we be so lucky to have spent time here!