"Walk
in Beauty
in a land of grace.

Gentle
like feathers floating in the still warm breeze

the doors to your heart
open
open wide....

And you can breathe
and finally be
-at home....."


My dad always used to say: "Follow your star !"; And my star has lead me to Bali, Indonesia. I went to "Tulamben", a tiny village at Bali's east cost for two dives.

I stayed for twenty-five. When I arrived, a sign greeted me: "Welcome to Paradise!" The jet-black beach and turquoise ocean at the slopes of Bali's biggest and most sacred Volcano, Mount Ayung .Wow, what a place. No TV's, Phones and Faxes.

Less than a handful restaurants and dive shops. Hardly any travellers. The ocean a shimmering promise in black and silver. A "wreck"; and the secrets of life buried 30 metres deep in the ocean. The local women balance the fluorescent pink, green and yellow tanks gracefully on their heads. They wear washed out blue T-shirts with the imprint: "Diver's helper club - Tulamben". Up and down the beach.

The black, wet and shiny pebbles creak. Crunch, crunch.

This is it: A secret hideaway for "Ex-terrestrials":

Remote. Simple. Only for the hardcore scuba-junkies:
The white bearded pipe smoking marine biologist that has been diving for more than 40 years. He dives solo and collects little marine creatures that he later inspects under his microscope, sucked into the microcosm of life.

Or "Wally" , a diver's icon. Balinese, longhaired, chain-smoking and -joking scuba hippie. He takes all the best marine photographers to the Indonesian underwater garden eden's...Kodak colour. More than gold- platinum: "Want to do an acid dive ?", he asks me, eyes winking." Just dive the wreck at night. Turn off your torch. Close your eyes. And then slowly open them. Just feel it ! The phosphorescence - all around you. That's my ACID DIVE !!!"

I am a diver. No climber, no trekker or rafter. But a diver. Even 12 months after my last dive, I am in my element. Breathing under water seems like the most natural thing on earth, even under the earth. Have I ceased being a terrestrial forever ?
I think I have The sea offers everything:.
Abundance. Grace. Beauty. Magic and Mystery:

I am a diver.
How many dives ? How deep ? How long ?
Diver's talk. I am one of them.
Diving, reading about diving, speaking about diving.

 

Your days and nights: Eating, sleeping, diving.
The world shrinks to a seashell and becomes my oyster.

All in one and one in all. Why leave ?
The nearest shop, bank and internet cafe a two hour drive away.
Why should I leave and miss even only one minute in paradise ?

I could not leave until "my family"; drove me to the airport yesterday.
The barefoot girl in the car, her skin still smelling of the salt of the sea.
The salt of life. Nitrogen still in my blood from many deep dives in slow motion, watching what others call the "real life" rushing by at light speed.
Do I really have to come back to this ?
There is no such thing as a gentle landing.
Brace yourself. the culture shock is gonna hit you - hard....

 

ATLANTIS

Coral Castles in pink, green and blue.
The eal garden: The little silver-eyed worms stuck into
the bottom of the sand swaying in the sea breeze.
The current is their blues.

At the flick of a fin
they disappear into nothing.

Fata Morgana of the ocean.

A purple barrel sponge. Like a crater on a distant

planet.
Maybe Venus. A doorway into a different world.
I hover above it.
If I enter, would I come out at the other end ?

Different ? Transformed? Reborn ?
Dora in wonderland....

I am the fairy, witch and queen
-diving my dream...

But my heart filled with a vision of my very own paradise:


Bali Bali Bali
Black lava and turquoise sea
Bali Bali Bali

'Welcome to Bali !'

Cinnamon, cardamom and coffee
The 'spice island'
Incense and flowers
Every day is a ceremony
on the 'island of the gods'

After breathing and eating

swimming and diving

smiling and loving you
for one cycle of the
post monsoon moon

Bye Bye Bali

When I come back

will you welcome me
with open arms and

a "white smile" ?

 

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