I remember the exact moment I heard about the Bali bombings that killed 202 people and injured a further 240 on the Indonesian island paradise of Bali. I was driving home from my first time out on the Great Barrier Reef with my dad and brother. We heard it on the radio that there had been a bombing and when we got home it had been confirmed. Bali had been hit and 88 Australians were dead.
I think what hit home most for my family was that it could have easily been someone we had known who was caught in the blaze at the Sari Club/Paddy’s Pub. Being from Western Australia, it is actually cheaper to travel to Bali from Perth then to the east coast of Australia. We have so many family friends who make annual/bi-annual trips to Kuta that we are just thankful none of them were over there on this fateful night.
Just like I will never forget the images of September 11, I will always remember the photos that emerged following the Bali Bombing. Local football teams lost players celebrating the end of season. Families lost loved ones having the best time of their lives in such a beautiful place. And the Balinese lost not only locals but a lot of tourism, which hurt them as well because the majority of families over there rely on tourists to survive.
Bali holds a special place in my heart for several reasons, but the main one being that it was where my parents took me on my first overseas trip in 2005. I fell in love with the place straight away. The people were the nicest and kindest I had ever met. They were not bitter about what had happened, but wanted us to tell our friends back home to come and visit them because of the sudden down-slide in tourism. Little did we know that a week after we left there would be the second bombing in Bali, which killed 20 people and injured 100.
But that never stopped us from returning three more times — in 2009, 2010 and 2011. And we will be back next year. Once you go over there and meet the locals, it is hard not to return. They are beautiful people that had these heartless acts happen in their backyard. Reading other blogs it is great to see so many people visiting Bali again after such a tragedy. I know the Balinese thank you. Lest we forget those who died and let us remember to live everyday to the full, because you never really know what may be around the corner.