Travel bites: Euphoric redemption in Bali

A downward dog-led economic recovery is probably not what you’d expect to counter the Covid/volcano/earthquake/tsunami-led tourism recession of recent years in Indonesia’s Ring of Fire.

For one thing, yoga fanaticism, spiritual con artists – think breatharians and didgeridoo healing – were around before the ongoing flight cancellations of late.

But sticking your bum in the air in a steaming, oxygen-depleted environment in an idyllic jungle mountainside has its merits. And that taps into the Balinese economy in a reasonably big way.

You’ll lose weight, to dehydration. You’ll feel euphoric, to heat frustration. You’ll feel achievement, to the weight-loss euphoria.

For people who in their youth might have frequented the booze-holes and fleshpots of Legian and Kuta, smoking dope and scoffing magic mushrooms, it’s probably kind of redemptive. Or something.

It’s neat to fly for six hours to buy a sense of spiritual tranquillity amid a deeply religious Hindu community surrounded by natural and human disasters of a scale unimaginable to your average clueless Aussie.

But con artists, faux spiritualism and healing, yoga fanaticism and Australia prices are once again the norm in post-Covid Bali.

This is across Bali. The idyllic mountain and inland villages and towns of the beautiful Indonesian island. Not just the Legians and Canggus with their booze-riddled churls and phone-addicted narcissists.

The latter remain tide-recycling rubbish tips with fancy hotels years as before ago. It’s surfing and ocean swimming where Bali belly comes from these days, as often as anywhere else.

Up in the hills, by contrast, the palms and bougainvillea, the paddies and river gorges, are ever-increasingly frequented by travelling souls seeking spiritual succour and purpose in a steaming, sweating contortion. It’s a downward dog redemption against their Western follies and prodigal excesses.