Bali is Bagus

Trip Start Jul 24, 2008
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32
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Trip End Aug 04, 2009


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T House

Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Whenever I think of Bali, I will think of the colour green, so many different shades and so vibrant. The island is so lush with stunning scenery of rice terraces, coconut, papaya, banana and mango trees. They are extremely resourceful people making use of absolutely everything they grow, using all parts of the plant to either eat or make something out of.

The Balinese people are very spiritual and learning about their culture is fascinating. They are predominantly Hindu and mark many occasions during their life with special ceremonies. Rural life centres around their village and they come together to help each other with agricultural tasks as well as celebrate births, marriages and deaths. They talk of living in harmony with each other and nature.

One thing that is very popular with the men here is cockfighting. Roosters are proudly owned and preened by the men and you often walk by and see a group of men, young and old with their roosters on their lap, massaging their legs. They feed them vitamins and we have been told many men pay more attention to their roosters than their wives. Some of this was being explained by a balinese guide but he was using the word ‘cock’ instead of ‘rooster’ so it made it hard to listen with a straight face! Unfortunately the downside to this entertainment is the gambling that goes with it and many women have had to take hard labour jobs to support their household as their husbands squander their wages on betting.

We have spent our last week in Bali at Ubud where we rented another ‘house’ built by the same architects that built Bloo Lagoon. The house is set amongst rice paddies and is another open concept type of place.

We did a great bicycle trip where we got driven to breakfast overlooking Mt. Batur, another one of Bali’s volcanoes, then we biked mostly downhill for 25 km finishing up with a wonderful indonesian lunch. Along the way we stopped and learnt about some of the cash crops that they grow, coffee, cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon etc. They produce a very expensive coffee here called Kopi Luwak. The coffee bean is collected from the droppings of the Luwak (like a weasel) they are washed, then roasted. The Luwak naturally selects the best and most ripe beans to eat and the skin is removed during digestion. Of course the kids were engrossed (no pun intended) in looking at the Luwak poo but we had learnt about this coffee in Vietnam as they also produce it there. We call it poo coffee.

We rented a car and driver for a couple of days and toured around. We spent an afternoon at Kuta on the beach. Kuta is where most tourists that visit Bali stay. It is so diffferent from the rest of Bali, full of shops, nightclubs and busy with westerners drinking, surfing and hanging out. We chose not to stay in Kuta during our trip and had not planned to visit but then thought that we should at least see the town - it confirmed our initial opinion and we were glad we had chosen instead to stay elsewhere. We spent an afternoon at the Botanical Gardens situated high up in the mountains with a cooler climate (lovely and warm for us) and it was interesting to see the different crops grown at this elevation. We bought delicious strawberries, something we had not tasted in a very long time. The highlight for the kids was the ‘Treetop Adventure Park’ which consisted of zip-lines and a maze of ropes and ladders all set in the tree tops.

The kids also loved the Monkey Forest in Ubud. It is a park like setting full of macaque monkeys that will climb on you to take food and anything else that is shiny or interesting. Doug and I were reluctant to go after our experiences with baboons in Africa, and we had heard that we needed to be careful of bites and scratches. We made sure to put away our sunglasses and we had no food in our packs. After checking things out first all seemed to be OK so the kids persuaded me to buy some bananas to feed them. It was worth it just to hear the kids laugh as the monkeys climbed on them. One monkey gave Quinn a little nip on his arm as he was climbing down - luckily it did not break the skin.

On our last day in Ubud, Tara and I took a balinese cooking class. We started out visiting the local market and learning about the key spices used in most of the dishes. The recipes we made were absolutely delicious and we are looking forward to trying to re-create them at home.

We fly today to Hong Kong for the last week of our odyssey around the world.

Samantha
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Comments

4shadow3
4shadow3 on

Monkeys
Could that be 'Tara-zan and the Three Monkeys', with all that swinging through the trees? What a spectacular end to your odyssey. It looks very relaxed and doing homework in a hammock in Bali looks like every kid's dream of the best way to go to school! We've all enjoyed getting a small glimpse into your journey and adventures and look forward to seeing you in a few months time.
Cindy

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