Books – the perfect gift.
“What can we bring you? What do you miss? Do you want Vegemite, cheese?” Friends and family coming from Australia would ask similar questions. My reply was always the same. “Bali offers everything I need. Just bring yourself and maybe your latest favourite book.”
I wasn’t being humble or lying; it was the truth. For the previous 20 years I’d lived in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities. These villages had only one shop and certainly no restaurants. I was accustomed to making do. Bali was easy. Everything I needed and wanted was here.
I came to Bali to create (paint, write and read), practice my evolving Bahasa Indonesia and to live in a totally new culture. Seni Warna provided all my painting needs, Tino supermarket had pads and pens for writing and Ganesha Bookshop offered an extensive collection of pre-loved books. Indonesian friends, warungs, spas, day to day life and Bintang beer, satisfied all my other needs. Bali was an affordable and abundant paradise.
Books were welcome gifts and I never said no to cheese, salami, chocolate and jellied snakes when they were presented to me. But I never felt a craving for things I’d left behind. Life here was generous.
Fast forward to 2016.
Friends and family no longer ask what I need or want. They appreciate Bali and my likes.
Betty arrived for a ten day visit in February. She’s a writer and was here to work on her latest memoir. She knows my passion for memoir and gifted me two wonderful books; Not My Father’s Son and Eat First, Talk Later. I loved and devoured these wonderful and unexpected gifts.
Susie arrived at the end of May bearing gifts too. She shares my passion for reading and with her partner Gaston own Villa Bulan Mas, one of the properties managed by my company. Two new books hid in the gift bag she handed to me. As I pawed them and read the blurbs Susie said, “I’ll read, Everywhere I look, after you. No rush, just when you finish.” She was in Ubud for a few days before heading to Candi Dasa, so I set myself the task of reading it in two nights. It was a labor of love and I passed the book onto her the morning she departed.
I also devoured the second book, The Wicked Boy, over a few nights.
I wouldn’t have selected either book, but Susie knows me better that I do. I loved them.
Books make wonderful gifts.
My company, Private Ubud Villas manages 24 villas. Each villa has a bookshelf stocked with books for guests to read. Many people arrive with a book, finish it on holidays, leave it on the bookshelf and take a new one to read on the trip home. The leave one, take one policy, although unwritten, works perfectly. Every time I inspect a villa, I peruse the bookshelf and grab a couple of new ones to read. It’s one of the perks of managing villas.
Books; I love them. They keep appearing from so many sources, but I still love browsing the shelves of Ganesha Bookshop. It is an Aladdin’s cave of treasures. They even allow me to return books I’ve read for a 50% credit.
So you can’t go wrong with books. If you want to share adventure, love, escape and inspiration give someone a book.