Let’s go to Bali

25 11 2009

We arrived at the Denpasar airport in Bali Indonesia on Thursday afternoon and were greeted by a wall of 36 degree heat with 100% humidity and our Balinese driver friend Jodie Foster. The heat/temperature change was something we had never felt before, after 2 minutes outdoors we were soaked. The aircon in the van was a great relief as we were taken to our hotel in Kuta called Kuta Beach Club. The drive was crowded with hundreds of scooters, kids on bicycles and more cabs than I have ever seen before all on a one lane in both directions. The drivers need to pass parked or stopped  cars by driving into the lane where cars are coming at you and quickly passing before you die. According to the driver there is a mutual understanding and rarely any motor vehicle accidents. We arrive the hotel which is quite peaceful in the court-yard compared to the busy busy streets and our room is descent enough for a 3 star, as long as the aircon is icy cold I’m good. After we unpacked our bags (you would be proud we only brought one small backpack for 5 days each) we went for a stroll down the main street with all the vendors and shops and to exchange our money and grab some food. The Balinese currency Rupiah is worth something like 8700:1 for Aus$, so we exchanged $420 and were given over 3.5 Million rupiah, and good news a beer costs 18,000 Rp, the equivalent of 2 dollars. We were excited to embark on some serious shopping and dining and adventuring. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening wandering around,exploring, eating and checking out the sights and sounds (ugh and smells). Took a stroll on Kuta beach and tried these disgusting Nori Seaweed flavored Lays we picked up at Mini Mart, bleh.

The next day we had a 7:00 am alarm clock wake up for a long day of touring with our driver/tour guy I Wayan. He picked us up at 8:30 and took us to see the Barong and Kris Dance which is a traditional Balinese dance (Note: primary religion in Bali is Hindu) and it was quite interesting with the old school instruments and elaborate costumes. We had a hard time understanding the story despite being given a program but enjoyed the music and the costumes/dancing.  We made a quick stop at a Batik Factory and then we were off to see the Sacred Monkey Forest where the monkeys roam. Were they ever funny those monkeys, one tried to attack Jeff for his water bottle and was hanging from his t-shirt grabbing for it. There was old monkeys an babies and swinging from trees into water holes, eating bananas sooo cute. The jungle where Monkey forest is found is very lush and green with lots of really old carvings and a temple. Next we made a quick pit stop at the rice terraces which are incredible works of irrigation and something quite beautiful to see. As we embarked deeper into the jungle and higher up in elevation on our way to see the volcano it began to pour rain and the people on scooters were getting drenched and we kept driving up and up. We made it to the restaurant overlooking Mt. Batur volcano but the clouds had covered most of the view. We ate buffet lunch (not so good unless you like mystery meat fried in a variety of ways and plain rice). I ordered a coconut, also not great sort of tasted like room temperature dish water…mmm. The sky did eventually clear and we grabbed a couple of shots of the mountain before we were on our way again.

Now, I had to start a new paragraph because after the volcano we went to my favorite stop on the trip, the coffee plantation. We take a seat in at this tiny table in what appears to be a patio on looking the jungle and enjoy the sampler of coffee, ginseng coffee, lemon grass tea and ginger tea as well as real hot cocoa. We sit and relax and drink our fresh and chemical free beverages and look out onto cocoa, tobacco and coffee jungle. Best feeling ever, having a cup of coffee in the jungle of coffee plants…can’t beat that.

Our journey continues with a stop at a huge temple where we learn some interesting tidbits about Hindu culture, such as the calendar they have which tells you which days are good and which days are bad. The temple is about 1000 years old and has undergone a renovation in 1878, looks like something straight out of a movie. It’s pretty cool with all of the large and very old stone carvings, very very intricate carvings on the walls and very strict rules about when and how you can enter (notice Jeff wearing a sarong). Once we were done exploring the temple we made one final stop at a Balinese house where we saw how people in the lowest caste of Bali live. It’s about 500 square meters and the entire family occupies about 2 bedrooms and one tiny kitchen. There was approx 12 people living in the house we saw which was mostly outside and full of roosters, pigs and dirt. The big roosters, we learned, are used for ceremonious as well as gambling purposes in cock fights, however they do not talk about this because it is “illegal”. After a very long day we head back to our hotel, recharge and head out to the streets for some loitering. We enjoy a dragonfruit by the beach and head to bed for another big day the next morning.

Saturday morning we were up at 9, had breakfast at the hotel and were met by Jodie Foster and his friend Wi Wik and they took us on their scooters to Nusa Dua for some water sports and snorkeling. First up, Jeff tried some parasailing as I watched from the beach (of course). Next we went for a rip on jet skis before we headed out to sea for some snorkeling on the reef. We saw so many colorful fish and corals it was pretty neat, it was also great to get out of the heat and into some cold water. We headed back to the beach before getting back on the scooters. We stopped over at this place called “Water Blow” which was this rocky cliff that looked like old coral and had these crazy big crevasses in the rocks, when the waves hit the rocks the water came shooting up into the air along the wall. Wi Wik had to go to work so we went into the town of Nusa Dua and waited for a driver to pick us up, while we waited we played pool at the billiard hall where she worked. We got our asses kicked (as we learned this is a favorite pass time for the Balinese) and were on our way to check out Uluwatu Temple on the giant cliffs. The cliffs at Uluwatu were unbelievable, with monkeys walking the parameter and the 250 meter drop. We had to rush out of there because the sun was about to set and we had plans to have dinner in Jimbaran.

We arrived just in time, took our seats at the table in the sand and ordered a bunch of fresh seafood. As the sun was going down, we feasted on fresh red snapper, squid, mussels and prawns. We ate and ate and filled our tummies with rice and fruit and soup and seafood until we could no longer eat any more. Headed back to our hotel and crashed.

Sunday: Another early wake up for us, this time 7:30 for an 8:00 pickup, back to Nusa Dua to do some fishing. Not much to write here as we spent 5 hours fishing, cause one tiny tuna on the deep-sea and about 2 or 3 tropical fish in the coral reef. Not much action out there for fishing I guess so we did some more snorkeling and then headed to Turtle Island, where we took some photos of turtles, python etc.. hung out and made small talk with the guys at the island shop and headed back to shore.  At this point we are tired and sunburnt and pretty well Bali’ed out. We decide to take the last night in Bali to chill out on the beach, do some shopping and get a good sleep.

Monday: Slept in past breakfast time so we had to go out to eat breakfast. Spent the rest of the day at the beach. Jeff rented a surfboard for two hours and spent the entire time practicing. He did manage to get up on the big board but when he upgraded to a smaller board did not have the same luck. I tried surfing but was only able to get up on my knees. enjoyed a pineapple (which you just peel and eat like an ice cream holding the stem, yummy) and finished up our shopping. In the end Jeff ended up with 3 knock-off Billabong t-shirts, 2 shorts and 2 pairs of fake Oakleys. And to all you who know me will be shocked, I got a pair of fake Ray Ban’s, an anklet and a Bintang Beer Magnet….that’s all…can you believe it???

The sunset on the last night was the best one we got on our trip to Bali and then we headed back to the airport for our flight back to Perth. We had a great time in Bali, but by the time we left we were sick of the smell, the food and being hassled by the vendors, not to mention the heat and sweating, we were ready to head home. At least back to our home away from home.

Bye for now




2 responses

26 11 2009

Hey Jeeva Lappski, Thanks for updating your blog. I’m really enjoying reading about your adventures and seeing your pictures and video. You’re doing a great job and I know it takes some time and effort out of your trip to do it for us.

Keep it up.. it makes it easier for us at home (especially mommies 🙂 ) to not miss you guys so much!

LOVE Mrs Flapp

2 12 2009

Bali sounded really cool! I love being able to read in detail about your adventures. Keep it coming 🙂


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