Bozhentsi is the name of one of the most well preserved traditional village in Bulgaria. It is an architectural and historical reserve since 1964 and is also part of UNESCO‘s cultural monuments. This year I was lucky to be in the area when a whole day of snowing was expected. I wouldn’t miss this chance to film this magnificent and quiet (especially in these pandemic times) village, so I prepared myself for a whole day of shooting and driving in the snow. It was a beautiful snowy day and I decided to film in the mountains first and to come back to Bozhentsi at dusk. I wanted to film the village covered in snow within the blue hour with the lights of street lanterns and house windows shining. When I returned to the village just before dark, the conditions were perfect – everything was covered with a fresh thick layer of snow, the lights were on and it was still quietly snowing. Nothing was moving on the streets except for some cats, that are so typical for Bulgarian villages. It was so magical and peaceful.
In order to get to Raja Ampat, I flew to Bali, stayed there for two nights and took the flight to West Papua. On the way back, I stayed in Bali for another three weeks. I had made a mistake with my fight dates back to Bulgaria and had booked a date that was a month further in the future. I managed to arrange to change the date, but I still decided to give myself two weeks more than the initial week and a bit, that I was planning to stay there. I just wasn’t so keen in staying in a place that was so touristy and popular, like Bali. But after being there for a while, I decided to give it a chance and explore the island further.
Kuta and all of the Denpasar Area is very urbanized, with lots of traffic and tourism. When I saw it initially, I thought that I will never drive there. Ubud, where I stayed the second part of my visit to Bali, amazed me with it’s ancient architecture, lively traditions and amazing little shops. The streets we covered with rice and flower offerings every day and the air smelled of incense sticks. The local people were honoring their hinduist traditions very strictly and certainly not for tourist show.
Getting more used to the traffic in the South of Bali, I got braver and hired a scooter with which to explore the island. I quickly got used to riding amidst the craziest traffic and learned the local ways of behaving on the road. Almost every day, I would ride to a different place, but the island is quite big and I managed to see only a small part of it.
The people of Bali are quite positive, relaxed, friendly and helpful. I made some local friends and learned more about their life and culture. I happened to experience the Balinese New Year, where for a whole day, you switch off all lights and stay quietly at home. There are even special people patrolling the streets to make sure that no one goes out.
I also spent a few days filming the monkeys in the specially designated local park. These creatures are quite interesting and funny to watch and the little ones are just adorable. But make no mistake to think that they are friendly to humans. They are only interested in getting something to eat out of you and can be very aggressive. Once I was trying to shake off the monkey that got on top of my rucksack and tried opening the zipper. In an instant another monkey darted towards me and bit my leg. Fortunately, she didn’t manage to brake the fabric, but I still got a bleeding bruise and went to the medical station for them to disinfect it. They assured me that these monkeys are all healthy and don’t carry any diseases, but just bear in mind to be very careful when interacting with them. In the end, I collected quite a bit of footage of these monkeys, but the final video is still in the making, as some of the files got damaged.
After all, I was quite amazed by the colorful life of Bali, it’s diversity of landscapes, beautiful traditions and the lovely and welcoming locals. I will certainly want to go back and see and film more of it.
I am preparing a few videos with the footage, I managed to film on the island, but for the moment only one is ready and available: https://youtu.be/JdlTsEoJtLA
Some footage from Bali can also be seen in this one hour long collection of aerial shots, that I have filmed over the last few years: https://youtu.be/Wiw5kYi1TL0