For any of you who has experimented smiling at a complete stranger, then watching the person view you suspiciously and walk away quickly, but instead you see the person radiantly smile at you back, you would have to be in Bali to see this happen!! Yes, this is possible, humans smiling at each other without knowing each other and without ulterior motives. It’s possible to experience that in my favourite holiday destination, that’s the little town of Ubud, Bali; a place made popular by Elizabeth Gilbert for her book, ‘Eat Love Pray’ (Julia Roberts stars in the movie of the same name).
For a long while I considered Thailand to be the land of smiles, but now, after my trip to Bali, I have to admit I’ve changed my opinion. The people of Bali (especially Ubud) know how to smile at you warmly, disarmingly and Genuinely. I know I sound like I’ve flipped! 🙂 But I love smiling myself and it was such a pleasure for me to smile at nice people who I know would smile back at me readily! 🙂 (Though I did notice that the Balinese smile at tourists and also among themselves, but the tourists would smile at the Balinese but not amongst themselves. )
Below is a pic of a mother and her baby girl. We’d walked into a shop and we saw this mother trying vainly to make her baby stop being cranky. The little one had a little angry face and was threatening to bawl. My husband Yves is excellent with kids. He asked the baby politely (using sign language) if she would allow him to take her photo. The baby became unsure and stared at him, letting Yves do what he wanted. Yves took her photo and then showed it to her on our digicam. The little one stared at herself quietly in amazement, and then suddenly started gurgling in happiness and soon she was laughing and squealing! This is the pic of her looking happy!
I found the older ladies in Bali particularly charming. They always seemed immaculately and elegantly dressed, and I was often left wondering that they must have looked very pretty in their younger days. It was funny asking them to pose. When I’d ask them permission for a photo, they’d agree readily and with a big smile, but when the time to strike a pose came, they’d sober up and look very serious! I’d had to stretch my fingers across my mouth and mime a smile, and they’d smile looking at me.
Now that I am back to a normal world where things are different from the ways in Bali, I do quite miss Bali a lot. The smile fever that I’d carried across from Bali has quickly been snuffed out I’m afraid, but these pictures help relive me of the Free Smile Therapy I’d received in Bali along with a Feel Good Therapy! 🙂