Trip Start Aug 06, 2011
144Trip End Ongoing
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Bali was an opportunity for us to catch our breath and charge up our excessive collection of electronic devices (every time we have to pack and move, we drift back to our early travel days when the only batteries we has were for the one point-and-shoot film camera we had). Speaking of cameras, I'm also looking to get mine looked at- after abusive treatment in all climates, it is starting to make death throe noises, and DH wants to get her iPad looked at- after developing an addictive reaction to the little bell that indicated inbound email, it now seems that only hotels.com, Chapters, and Best Buy are maintaining regular correspondence. DH thinks it must be an iPad circuitry issue that is blocking all of the personal emails, and turning her bell into the sound of crickets.
On a previous trip we had explored Bali along with the Indonesian islands of Java, Flores, Komdo, Ricci, and Balikpapan (Borneo) so this time around we were looking to use Bali as a base to jump to Sulawesi (done), Sumatra, Papua, and East Timor (now an independent country). West Papua has never been particularly safe, and through our read of the surprisingly open Indonesian newspapers, foreigners are now the targets of violence, so we might hold off on any visits there for the time being. And East Timor is really dependent on a doctors exam of the non-diving ears of DH since there isn't a heck of a lot else to do in this tiny country.
Since we had stayed in Ubud during our last stay (and really enjoyed it), we wanted to see why everyone was warning us against the famed beach resort of Kuta
In addition to beach access and a nice pool, our hotel in Sanur (we went upmarket preparing for the arrival of Christine and Kim who apparently got lost on the way to the Toronto airport) offered a free 'couples Balinese massage'. After trying to convert this into two free massages for DH which was not allowed for reasons only the local Hindu gods would understand, I agreed to give this another try (previous massage experiences with Abdul and Sven had ended in tears)
Between beach walks, meals, and naps we did manage to take it some traditional Balinese dance performances as well as a number of Balinese bands playing very non-traditional Spanish, Country, and even Irish music?? We also attended one of the stranger festivals we've ever seen. Once a year the small village of Tenganan hosts a 'reenactment' of an unnamed battle. Tenganan is an Aga village (the Aga are deemed to be the original people of Bali) and has a bit of a stuck-in-time feel to it. The village had strict rules and regulations and, as a result, only about 300 live in the village. Until recently, the customary village law forbade anybody to marry outside the village. Because of these strict rules there was a population growth of 0, which has led to a new interpretation of the rules so it’s now OK to marry somebody from outside the village (for a small annual fee)
And temple tramping is almost a requirement for any visit to Bali- pretty much every home has a small temple, and each family and community has a temple, and there are the more well known pilgrimage temples. The most interesting one we saw on this trip was Pura Goa Lawah (the Bat Cave Temple). The temple itself is located directly in front of a cave that is inhabited by thousands of flying bats that hang from the rocky ceiling by the day and depart on food hunts in an explosion of black wings every evening. These large fruit bats are believed to be the temple’s guardians and are considered sacred- as is the large python that lives in the neighboring rocks.
We didn't go back to visit Ubud (we had heard that it was now another Kuta and DH didn't want to ruin the great memories we had from our first visit to the island) but DH still thinks that Bali is the nicest smelling country we've traveled to (most of the time) and if we had a garden (or home for that matter) she'd be looking at a Balinese theme
And for the concerned, we did visit a local doctor who could find nothing between DH's ears....that would explain her difficulties with equalizing while diving (other than some strangely wobbly lobes). She did provide a couple of tips that might help but given the potential consequences, I think DH's diving career should join her policing career in happy retirement. Perhaps convinced that I might meet another hot body in a tight wet suit at 40 metres under, she is already talking about her next dive- strange for someone who never enjoyed diving but logic is not always persuasive.