I arrived in Bali on the feast of Galungan. Galungan is a holiday that celebrates the triumph of Dharma (good) over Adharma (evil.) Wikipedia has this to say about the holiday:
“Galungan is a Balinese holiday that occurs every 210 days and lasts for 10 days. Kuningan is the last day of the holiday. Galungan means "When the Dharma is winning." During this holiday the Balinese gods visit the Earth and leave on Kuningan.”
I arrived in Bali on a plane full of Taiwanese pharmaceutical reps. They were headed to Bali for a sales conference; they all knew each other, and were in high spirits. I, on the other hand, had been in transit for over 36 hours at this point. I was hot, dirty, tired, and very thirsty.
When you enter the Arrival Hall at Ngurah Rai airport in Denpasar, you are immediately given the opportunity, as one local cynic puts it “…to connect with the rest of humanity and find your inner peace.” Meaning you get to stand in this very long line crowded together with many, many other travelers, and you better find some calm within yourself, because you ain’t gonna get it from
anyone else in that crowd.
The line is to get a visa, and I had just resigned myself to a wait of several more hours before I could get a warm shower and a cold beer. There were several young men in light blue tunics scattered around the Arrival Hall, I took them to be airport employees of some sort. One of them came over to me and asked if I needed a visa. I said yes, and he said “I can help you.” He asked for US$25, which is the correct amount for a visa. I gave it to him, he said “Wait right here,” and walked away.
At this point I figure I may have done something either very smart or very stupid, and may have just said good-bye to US$25. He came back very quickly and asked for my passport and travel documents. It must have been the sleep deprivation, because I handed over my passport and documents. As he walked away I felt that stab of anxiety and again felt I had done something either very smart or very, very stupid. I’m thinking to myself “How am I ever going to explain that I
You see these little woven baskets in front of homes and shops. They will have flowers, a bit of rice, and some incense.
lost my passport - not that it was stolen, or that I actually lost it, but that I just gave
it to a stranger.”
At that moment the nice young man returned with my passport, my documents, AND my visa. He asked for a tip, I gave him US$1, with which he seemed well pleased. And it was well worth it to me to get out of that line and on my way to a warm shower and a cold beer.
Now I’m not suggesting that you should routinely give money and your passport to a stranger. But, when you are already committed to a path of action, sometimes it is best to just trust that Dharma will triumph. Bali, May 12,2010
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