Charlie Chaplin suddenly reached out and grabbed my hand. Like two star struck travelers we journeyed through Balinese history together.
When you travel, history touches your heart, stories disappear into your eyes.
I dreamed that Chaplin and Schulman encountered the Indonesian jungles together. I dreamed that we strode by the edge of innumerable rivers. Snakes and dragons beckoned us to caress the waters. The jungles whispered to us gently, “join us”.
I grabbed my heart. Of course I am romanticizing. But Bali is truly a spirited elixir.
Charlie Chaplin sailed to Bali in 1932. I flew in 2000. Our stories melded generations of cultures. From early in the 20th Century, to the beginning of the 21st Century, many thousands of people have traveled to Bali seeking a spiritual discovery. A spirited elixir is like discovering a river of gold. In fact all gods believe it is like discovering an invitation to a life lived and a window into the life ahead.
Chaplin (depending on the story you want to embrace) was looking for a step ladder towards his next story. I was merely saying hello to a dream.
Chaplin might have traveled with a Hollywood celebrated crew (Paulette Goddard, Charles Laughton and more) looking for what some Balinese exotica might contribute to their careers. I just wanted to feel a visual discovery fused into my eyes to remember for a lifetime.
Bali seems to exemplify a “False/Truth”. Everything is absolutely real to the naked eye. Everything is a dream conjured from myth. You step ashore and drift into an imaginary world that you hope is real, but the only truth is the dream that you take home with you. We visit because we want to imagine what might be real. Bali is a trap laid out by thousands of myths.
I traveled from the formations of 20-30 foot waves to the ridges of jungles that the monkeys ruled. I tasted the fruits.I enjoyed my trip as if a precious stone was within an eyes’ grasp.
My shooting commission was a grouping of the Four Seasons and more. I photographed numerous artists and too many temples. I shot colored kites and colored banners across rice fields and oceans. Bali was a voluptuous adventure for my camera.
My travels with Chaplin reminded me of Marc Chagall’s “The Dance”. We floated through dreams together. We realized that Bali becomes a private vault for your dreams today and for everyday after. The experience married my past and my present, to my memories for my future.
I sat along side the pilot in the cockpit of Singapore Air. I was now heading home. The pilot asked me about my experiences traveling to Bali. I could only utter as I gazed across the skies from 30,000 feet that, “I had a Chaplin moment”.