Bali: Heaven and Hell by Phil Jarratt

Bali: Heaven and Hell by Phil Jarratt

Author:Phil Jarratt
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: ebook
Publisher: Hardie Grant Books
Published: 2014-08-21T16:00:00+00:00

A couple of months after the Kimbala limped into Benoa Harbour, a tall Englishman of patrician good looks landed at Ngurah Rai International for the very first time and approvingly sniffed the frangipani and clove-scented air, despite himself. A self-described hippie, he and his brother had made a pact years before that they would avoid anywhere in the East that had an international airport and a high-rise hotel, and Bali now had both. And Lawrence Blair was here to join his brother, Lorne, and mother, Lydia, in what they had described as the paradise of Ubud.

Lawrence recalls:

I rented a motorbike at the airport and rode it up towards Ubud and got hopelessly lost. There aren’t many signs today, but back then it was dreadful. It was getting dark and I was a little worried that I’d have to camp out and get eaten alive, but then suddenly all these fireflies started to explode everywhere, in a moment of exquisite beauty that sadly you don’t see anymore, and suddenly I didn’t give a damn about being lost.

Dr Lawrence Blair was then aged thirty-one, and although he did not look, talk or even think like your average hippie, he had seen more, done more and investigated more of the intricacies of the cosmos and the complexity of cosmic consciousness than any given hundred of them. Born in London during the Blitz, he had been schooled briefly in the south of France, and later, when his mother remarried a pilot and adventurer, the family moved to Mexico City, where he and Lorne, three years his junior, attended the French Lycée and then the University of the Americas, where Lawrence completed his Bachelor of Arts in philosophy in Spanish, before being sent up to Bailleau College, Cambridge.

A brilliant scholar, Lawrence was above that, an adventurer. He recalls:

I was fourteen, my brother was eleven when we arrived in Mexico. We became comfortable living in an alien culture from an early age. Lorne and I were the only kids, and we both shared the love of adventure. Everything was an expedition. Boys always look for hidden treasure, but when we got to Mexico, we discovered there really is such stuff.

In the mid-1960s, Lawrence and Lorne’s stepfather died, and their mother, Lydia, long a devotee of meditation, became enchanted with a Javanese guru and began spending time at an ashram in Jakarta, which led to Lawrence’s first trip to Indonesia in troubled 1965.

I was a delegate to a spiritual conference, and we were told not to leave the ashram because we could hear gunfire outside all the time. But I did, of course, and got swept up in a demonstration where they burned the British and American embassies. I took some photos of tanks charging the crowd that got onto the front pages of the [Singapore] Straits Times.

Being exposed to the year of living dangerously in Jakarta only made Lawrence more eager to explore the mysteries of Indonesia, but he was locked into studies in Britain. ‘After



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