What color would you associate with Bali?
I found myself asking that very question throughout my trip – partly curiosity (that’s the designer in me), partly for the challenge of keeping my eyes open for the hues that would surround us there. It’s a fun challenge, but not an easy one either. When you arrive somewhere new, you’re suddenly and completely overtook with new sights, smells and experiences – especially on an island as colorful and diverse as Bali. How can you find just ONE color to capture the essence of such a place?
What first got me to ask myself this question was actually the process of selecting a notebook to accompany our journey. There I was at the bookstore standing in front of a selection of Moleskine-ish notebooks but I couldn’t choose a color to go with. I hang on to my travel journals so I really wanted to choose an appropriate color to associate with this new place. Would orange be representative enough? Or red? Maybe a more subdued blue or green would more fitting? I ended up going for a khaki-colored one after much back-and-forth (and limited choices) but the question remained in the back of my head.
The verdict ten days of vigilante (well, sort of) observation later?
Before entering a temple, tourists are provided with a clothe to wrap around their waist if they’re wearing short dresses or shorts (which is usually the case). Its color? You guessed it. It unintentionally connected us to their culture and sacred traditions. Is it possible the color represented modesty for the locals too? It sure beats white if so.
Another time this color popped out for me was during our many walks along the streets where we were greeted by canangs, or daily offerings made by Balinese Hindus. Canangs rarely come alone and are curious little ornaments that adorn anything from temple and shop entryways to the more unexpected fire hydrants and motorcycles (like right on the wind shields). As part of the tradition, they come with five different flowers in them and one of the colors would often be in a shade close to the above.
It’s only natural to look towards local flavors for color and it was the friendly mangosteen, a fruit I got to know and instantly fell in love with while there, that did just that. (My only regret was not eating more of them while there as its hard to come by outside of Asia.) The rich hue that encompasses the fruit is a bit darker than the color tone above but radiates the same richness and warmth.
Choosing this color is also extremely subjective and includes a mix of emotions resulting from the experiences we shared while there too. For us, it really captured the essence of the trip but someone else may completely disagree with the choice and present another color. It would be interesting to hear what those choices would be, and for the sake of discourse, why.
Care to share? 🙂