More Bali...

Trip Start Aug 25, 2003
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Trip End Jul 23, 2004


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Flag of Indonesia  ,
Thursday, September 11, 2003

We left the easy life of Padangbai for the set of 'Point Break'...not really, but Nusa Lembongan, one of a collection of three islands off the southern coast of Bali, is definitely a surfer hangout. We took a chartered "traditional" boat -- basically, a canoe with outriggers on either side for stabilization -- for the 90 minute ride. It was a wet trip, primarily because I misinterpreted what the boat driver indicated the little umbrella was for, and held it awkwardly over my head for the first 40 minutes, thinking he had suggested to protect my delicate skin from the sun, before realizing I was supposed to hold it in front of me, like a shield against the sea spray. I am sure the boat driver thought I was retarded; he gave me a look when we landed that said, "Are you stupid? Does it look like it's raining?" Well, I wiped that look off his face pretty quickly when I hit my head on the mast, lost my balance, and then fell off the boat, nearly squashing him flat; it might have been fatal, but I missed him by a few inches. That will teach him to question MY intelligence. Or at least teach him to stand a good 10 feet away when I hurl myself out of a boat. Ah, a new fate: death by clumsy American...

Anyway, we spent a nice four days on the island. It is a little pricier than the mainland, especially food, but there are lots of double rooms for 40,000-50,000 Rupiah (translation: $5-6 US) that are right on the beach. *Side note to Marisa: I know that doesn't sound like a lot of money, but we are NOT living in the gutter. Really.* We walked across the island to a suspension bridge connecting to the third island in the chain and then to a few of the beaches on the south-west side of the island (please read my husband's travelog for more detail; his member name is "philthy") before heading back. Phil did some surfing (you can rent longboards and boogie boards at the beach called Playgrounds; just walk along the coast until you get to the next beach), and is talking about being able to surf in Michigan. I am invisioning an ugly scene at our local YMCA wave pool...

The best part of Nusa Lembongan was when we were wandering the village streets after a delicious dinner of nasi goreng (fried rice....mmmmmmmm) and followed the sound of music (no, not the Julie Andrews' flick) to an open-air temple where a group of Balinese musicians were practicing for the huge temple dedication ceremony happening tonight (full moon night). They let us listen in, in fact they wouldn't let us sit outside the temple, we were encouraged to sit on the edge of the stage. It was incredible; they play these amazingly detailed songs with no sheet music. We actually ran into one of the musicians while we were eating at the best non-tourist restaurants (serves great fried noodle soup, 6000 R, go up the alley past Johnny's Losmen and turn right at the road; can't miss it's long red tables out in front), and we got to learn some of the history of the instruments and how the songs are learned. He told us that they were practicing four songs for the ceremony; four songs that would last for 2 hours. We also got some insight into the true patriarchal nature of Balinese culture; somewhat uncomfortable as he basically said that a man who only has daughters is cursed, and he better have a brother to take responsibility for his body or he won't get cremated. Hey Dad, either give up your plan to move to Bali, or you and Mom better start thinking about having a "late in life" baby...
We also got some good information from Mark, the (young) ex-pat who is half-owner of the Scooby Doo Bar (no, that good info didn't include why the bar is named the Scooby Doo Bar, but there are several disturbing murals of Scooby's....um...'darker' side...). He has lived in Bali for the past year, and is a wealth of information about everything from the moon's affect on the tides, to the insider tips on cock fighting. If you see him after October 10th, tell him that we hope he won...
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