It all started the day after my 50th birthday... I woke up and looked at myself in the mirror as I always do, there was something different in my eyes...If I were to say what, I couldn't tell you exactly what it was...Yes, the party tired me last night, but I had had enough sleep, eight hours did me fine these days, and it was nothing to do with the colour or the shape of my eyes either, they were simply looking much older, but they looked as if they didn't belong to me anymore, and looked back at me as if they were talking, asking me what I wanted from them...It was a peculiar feeling.
It suddenly dawns on me that I really am 50 years old... already!! And that life is passing by far too quickly for my liking "What am I going to do now?" I ask myself, I feel so desperate, I almost shout out loud. "I want something more from life, I can't sit around waiting for something exciting to happen, it never will"
I take a deep breath and decide to go to the travel agency to book myself a holiday. I need some time to myself. A new adventure "Where shall I go?"
I think I'll go to Bali. I've always wanted to go there, and I'm going to go now!
The Island amazes me as soon as we land, the damp heat of January, suffocating me as I try to catch my breath, as I leave the plane.
In the hotel I am welcomed with a chain of fresh colourful flowers and a small iced glass, of something fresh and spicy, that tastes of coconut and peaches, "mmm, how deliciously smooth" I think to myself as I climb the central marble staircase, I steady myself on the elaborate gold painted banister, passing the musician who plays a small violin, seated at the corner of the stairs of The Hyatt Regency. After having emptied my case, I choose a tempting mango out of the inviting fruit basket, I pick up the little card that sits by it and read "Welcome" I take a juicy bite of the ripe fruit. "It definitely is welcoming," I smile to myself, and a squeak of laughter slips from my lips, along with some juice! I have a refreshing shower, the cubicle is large enough for two people to have a comfortable shower at the same time "what a shame, such luxury!" I muse. I step out onto the pristine white bath mat and slip my feet into the white towelling slippers I find there, wrapping myself in the bath robe that smells of talcum powder. Then I lie on the enormous double bed for ten minutes or so and admire the huge, intricately hand carved oak wardrobe, for a few moments, I lose myself in the beauty of such fine art. I get dressed into something practical, and put on a pair of comfy khaki, lightweight cotton trousers and a white halter neck blouse, and my soft calfskin sandals, a puff of Chanel, and I head for the hall again. On my way down, while checking to see if I have put the hotel room key in my leather satchel, not really watching where I'm going, I almost bump into a tall, rather refined gentleman who is going in the opposite direction, "I'm so sorry" he says with a foreign accent and a friendly smile. "No problem" I reply smiling back, and walk on. There is something about that smile that reminds me of someone, and makes me feel comfortable at the same time. I continue down the stairs, the music the local violinist plays seems more enchanting than before. I can see the sea from here, the view onto the beach is stunningly appealing.
I decide to go for a walk, I like the beach at night, especially when it's full of palm trees, decorated by a thousand tiny white lights. I have a whole hour to waste before dinner. The marvellous new smells excite me, the surprising colours, the noises of tropical birds and animals are astounding..there are giant turtles on the white sand, the pink flamingos are impressive, there is nothing here that reminds me of home. London is an amazing city to live in, but....Bali is tropical. Bali is a dream. Bali is paradise.
The banana trees are laden with tiny sweet bananas, I am offered as many as I can eat, further along, a villager is skilfully slicing fresh pineapple onto a tray and offering it to the hotel clients. It tastes amazingly sweet and juicy.
Balinese women walk along the beaches in lines, with tall piles of tropical fruit placed accurately in colourful layers on their heads, and walk graciously, without losing balance, as if going for an afternoon stroll. It seems as if they don't have a worry in the world.
With very little, these remarkable women in their colourful hand-made silk sari's manage to look extremely elegant and beautiful.
At almost eight the sun starts to set on the horizon, The sea is immense, and an amazing shade of deep blue, it is terribly romantic. In the distance I see the outline of a tall man, who resembles the man I bumped into in the hallway, as he gets closer I feel his eyes scrutinizing me. "Can this be real, maybe I'm dreaming...It's him" He is extremely handsome, he holds out his hand to meet mine, I feel the heat of his body as I shake hands with this charismatic man, he looks straight into my eyes... I shudder, I feel the same as I did last week when I looked into my mirror at home, but this time, it is his charming dark brown eyes that are trying to tell me something. "Buonasera, mi chiamo Carlo, Have we met before?" He asks in what seems to be Italian, "I don't think so" and with a bemused smile, I answer "I'm Anita." Carlo offers me his arm, I think I understand where he wants to go, and I obviously cannot resist, I so want to follow him...all of a sudden I don't feel fifty anymore.
Written by Anna Di Muro