Monday, August 10, 2009

Bali and Back

Last weekend we took a little trip to Bali, Indonesia. Some of our friends called this a "babymoon," our last vacation as DINKs (double income no kids). We'd never been to Bali before, and it was little weird that we traveled to this exotic destination over a weekend. Many of the other tourists and visitors traveled there from Europe and Asia on very long flights. Our flight took less time than it did to drive to Kakadu (not too much difference in the cost of fuel and our CRV has far more leg room than JetStar). It's just funny that Bali is in our "backyard."
We had a really good time there, and hope that one day we will get to go back. It seemed like a family-friendly destination too.

We picked a great place to stay called Furama Village and Spa. Each private bungalow had its own pool and outdoor shower.

Jenni within an hour of waking up was asleep again...

View from Furama

The great cornfields of Bali
Jenni said that this was meant to be a relaxing vacation. David was, naturally, skeptical of this, and the first day after lounging around the pool Jenni suggested they go for a bike ride to Ubud. At the hotel they said it would be about a 40 minute bike ride, neglecting to mention it was an uphill bike ride. Yes, we grew up in Colorado, but we've been living in Darwin where we can count the hills on our thumbs. So it turned out to be a little more difficult than we planned. An hour later, drenched in sweat, we stopped at the art museum in Ubud and enjoyed some of the contemporary art work on display. On the grounds there were a number of roosters sitting in little cages. Apparently cockfighting is a very popular past time in Bali (maybe also in the rest of Indonesia). It is pretty violent, with the rooster having razor blades attached to their toes -- but it is part of the traditional Hindu ceremonies so it's been difficult to outlaw. The losing rooster has its foot cut off to make removal of the blades easier. Not sure why the museum had all of these, perhaps it was bring your rooster to work day.


Downtown Ubud

Rice fields along the road
We decided to skip the monkey sanctuary, although we could see them right at the gates next to the banana sellers. We heard from other tourists that the monkeys will actually crawl on your back and comb through your hair. We weren't particularly disappointed we'd missed out on the experience. We took a back route through the winding roads, and got back to the hotel in time for a seafood bbq. We thought Australians had mastered the art of the grill, but they've got stiff competition. The next day we hired a driver for the day to take us around to a few spots. The first stop was the rice terraces of Jatiluwih.

After that our guide took us to a large Temple on a lake. Not sure what the name of this one was. It looked very beautiful in the fog coming off the lake. Even though Bali is closer to the equator than Darwin, because of the elevation it can be quite cold (especially if you are from Darwin).

We then asked our driver if we could do a short hike (still Jenni's idea of a relaxing vacation), and he suggested a walk around one of their smaller mountain lakes. In order to do this though, we needed a guide. It was not unreasonable since we had never done the walk before. Unfortunately there were no guides at the start of the walk. "Don't worry I know where he lives." So we turned off the main road and drove done a very steep bumpy road where they grew oranges. So we got a pretty good view of what local life was like. Turns out there was a bit of a conflict between guides at different villages, because of competition. So we needed two guides to stave off any guide-to-guide combat likely to erupt. They were both very friendly and the most English they knew was to apologize for how little English they knew...which was still better than our Indonesian. The walk took us around Danau Tamblingan. Where we visited several temples, including a large one in the village at the end. The large one reminded us a lot of Angkor, which isn't surprising given the Hindu and Buddhist influences throughout South East Asia.

Part of the reason for the timing of our trip was we had a friend from work who was returning to Bali for his son and daughter's tooth filing ceremony. Ida is Balinese and living in Darwin with his wife and family. He invited most everyone from work, but we were the only ones who went as far as we could tell. We felt really luck to be apart of it and get to see first hand a ceremony that is becoming rarer and rarer. This is partly because it is a very expensive ceremony to host, costing upwards of 15,000 US dollars. Most of this is just to cover the cost of food. Unfortunately, we could never get a hold of Ida, and had no idea when was a good time to go or where he lived exactly. So we risked it and went to the village and our taxi driver was able to find the place. We had missed both his son and daughter's ceremonies, which was disappointing, but there were still a few others who were having it done. Here is a little video, including David and Jenni in Balinese traditional wear.

David plans on using this to show to the baby when it gets older and say "See your dentist ain't so bad..."

By the end of the trip David had caught a bit of Bali belly, so was feeling ready to head home. What better way for a send off and an upset stomach than a little bit of McDonald's? Hopefully the grease and hormones sucked up some of the bacteria.


Richard said...

Is the point here to make your teeth more pointy, less pointy, or just differently pointy?

David S. Lamb said...

Actually, none of the above. Flat teeth are the ideal.