List of Good Stuff

Sun screen
is indispensable for anybody spending time in the sun, right? Particularly close to the equator. Please read this article – Coral Reef: Safe Sunscreen – to choose a sunscreen that is least damaging to the environment. Many of these products should be available on Amazon if you cannot find them locally.

Insect repellent
ditto for an environment and skin friendly product. There is a pretty comprehensive review – Which Eco-Insect Repellent Works Best – where there are a number of products listed. Many of the links do not work, but again, you will probably be able to find these products on Amazon.

Insurance
is highly recommended – travel, medical, evacuation. You will most likely find it easy to get all three from one provider. Please see Insure My Trip for a variety of insurance plans.

Books
There are no reading assignments! If you are interested in reading about Bali before the trip, we have a number of suggestions:

  • A House in Bali by Colin McPhee – This is a book about passion, obsession and discovery in an amazing land, but also about the voyage of a highly talented composer and writer. A House in Bali remains one of the most remarkable books ever written about the fabled island of Bali. This classic book tells the story of Balinese culture through a history of Balinese music.
  • Love and Death in Bali by Vickie Baum – Set against the backdrop of the Dutch invasion of Bali just over a century ago, and the resulting “mass suicides” of the Balinese royalty, Love and Death in Bali uses the tales of ordinary people to tell the bloody story of the conquest and subjugation of an island paradise.
  • A Short History of Bali: Indonesia’s Hindu Realm by Robert Pringle – Covering the history of Bali from before the Bronze Age to the presidency of Megawati Sukarnoputri, this examination highlights the ethnic dynamics of the island and its place in modern Indonesia. Included is an analysis of the arrival of Indian culture, early European contact, and the complex legacies of Dutch control. Also explored are the island’s contemporary economic progress and the environmental problems generated by population growth and massive tourist development.
  • Balinese Dance, Drama and Music: A Guide to the Performing Arts of Bali by Rucina Ballinger (you will meet Rucina when we spend time in Ubud!) – A lavishly illustrated introduction to Bali’s celebrated temple orchestra, the gamelan, to its ancient shadow puppet theater, and to a myriad of traditional and contemporary dances and dance-dramas that continue to enthrall locals and visitors alike. Ideal reading for visitors to the island as well as for anyone interested in Balinese culture, the book presents the history and function of each performance genre, with illustrations and photographs to aid in identification.
  • Island of Bali by Miguel CovarrubiasEmbellished by 114 half-tone photos and 90 drawings by the author and other Balinese artists, this essential, still-relevant classic consists of twelve chapters on the Balinese people and their civilization in the 1930s.
  • Bali: Art, Ritual and Performance by Natasha Reichle – For nearly a century, mention of Bali has evoked images of a tropical paradise. But it is not only the beauty of the island that has attracted artists, dancers, celebrities and scholars. Bali is also famed for its vibrant performance and ritual arts traditions.
    Although the island is so small it can be circled in a day, it is home to more than 20,000 temples, and each of these produces annual festivals. Where ritual is such a part of daily life, one cannot draw clear lines between the secular and the religious arts. Bali: Art, Ritual, Performance presents a holistic view of the ways that art, ritual, and performance interrelate within the seamless fabric of Balinese life.
  • Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert – Okay…. we had to mention it.
  • The Ecology of Java and Bali by Tony Whitten – This book distills for the first time the information found in nearly 3,000 scholarly works relevant to an understanding of the full range of natural and man-made ecosystems on these islands. It also contains the results of original research, interviews and personal experience.
    Java and Bali are the best known of all the islands in the Indonesian archipelago. Nowhere else in the country are ecological issues of such importance, and nowhere else is there a better chance of the major development problems being solved. This is because Java has the greatest concentration of development projects, the densest population, excellent human resources, and the interest of many of the most powerful decision makers. Bali, meanwhile, has the eyes of the world on it as an important tourist destination enjoyed by both domestic and foreign visitors.

 Movies
The Act of Killing and The Year of Living DangerouslyBoth of these movies are set in the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta, Java, but they give an idea of politics of the past in Indonesia.

Be forewarned, The Act of Killing is very disturbing. This is essentially a documentary about the Indonesian killing squads from the 1960’s and what they did, but with members of the squads themselves re-enacting their own deeds with relish.

The Year of Living Dangerously is Indonesia 1965. Foreign journalists covering the feverish unrest are kept at arm’s length by the wary Sukarno government. But with the right contacts, you can get a real story. Australian reporter Guy Hamilton is after that kind of story, but he knows the mere telling of it will betray his source. Mel Gibson is Hamilton and Sigourney Weaver is an enigmatic embassy aide.  In a gender-bending performance that won the Oscar,  Linda Hunt plays a male photographer who sees with his conscience as well as his eyes.


Maps
You do not need a map for this trip, but if you are really into maps, here is a list of some available. There may be a map store in your town where you can find one.  This one is our favorite, but it is HUGE.