Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bali Part Three! - Culture Immersion

One of the greatest things about travelling to a country like Indonesia is that it is vastly different from our own. Although all countries will inevitably have their own culture to explore, it is incredibly fascinating to learn about a country of people who live very much in poverty. 

I realised very quickly just how different the Balinese view life in general. Within the first day of exploring, I worked out that these people - although very poor - are incredibly grateful for absolute everything they are given. There is no sense of entitlement. No sense of "the world owes me this". Everybody there works bloody hard for their living, and they still do it with a smile on their faces. 
They know that much of their economy depends on their tourist industry, so even though a few times we were ripped off in the street markets by certain vendors, we were fine with it. 

The man in the middle of the photo here is Jaya. 
He was our driver for most of our trip, and he organised all of our activities for us. In some cases, he was even able to get us discounts! 
(By the way - if any of my readers are travelling to Bali, we have his number if you would like it!)
Jaya was a pretty excellent tour guide. 

He took us to see the weaving and batik "factory":

This painting is made entirely from wax. They paint on the wax, paint on the colour. Let the wax dry, and do the next colour. When all the colours are complete, the wax is melted off, leaving a beautiful colourful painting. Due to the considerable intricacies, this can take 2-3 weeks to make one painting. 
Obviously, it is all done by hand. 

We also went and saw a wood carving "factory":

Everything here is carved by hand, and entirely from memory. 
It's a trade that is passed down from father to son. 

We also visited a coffee and fruit plantation! 

These here are the unripened berries that coffee beans come from. When ripe, they turn a red colour. 

We did try some Bali coffee on one of our first days of our trip. Personally, I did not like it. It was much too bitter for my taste. 
But Bali is also famous for "Luwak Coffee". The most expensive coffee in the world, and that's because of this little guy:

He is an incredibly fussy eater, and only eats the best of the red berries. 
He digests them, and then someone will sort through his poo, collecting the seeds from the berries. 
They are cleaned and roasted, and ground up. All by hand. 

This shows the difference between Bali Coffee beans (Above) and Luwak Coffee beans (below).
We didn't actually try any Luwak Coffee (Again, very expensive), but we did get to smell it, and compared to the Bali Coffee it smelt much nicer. 
Apparently there's a cafe on the Gold Coast that serves it for about $100 a glass. 

We were given a variety of coffee types and teas to test out:

Some of these were actually incredibly delicious. I even bought some Ginseng Coffee home with me. Yum!

We travelled up to a restaurant that overlooks the Volcano, and treated Jaya to some lunch:

Very funny story!
Because it was quite high, I was a bit cold up in this restaurant. Just before we left, I went to use the bathroom. I was waiting in line, and there was a Balinese guy tending to the line, making sure that everyone was okay and whatnot. He came up really close to me, and felt my arm with the back of his hand. 
I had goosebumps, and he was fascinated with them!!
They probably don't experience them very often in such tropical weather!

This is Tanah Lot Temple. 

It's surrounded completely by the sea, on its own little island which I think is kinda cool. 

There was also some animals on the main part of the land. This area was a short walk to get to, and we were told by Jaya that if we wandered up there we could get some photos with snakes and bats and other cool animals. 
When we got there though, the place was completely desserted, except for this little guy just hanging out:

 Cool, huh?

As we were wandering to leave we noticed someone had left this little guy on his own, and he had started to make his escape: 


One of my favourite things about Bali was the monkey forest in Ubud:
Cutey little creatures!!

We bought some bananas, which they went absolutely mental over:

J even had a massive one climb up onto his head:
That was pretty hilarious, I won't lie. 

We also checked out the Bali Safari and Marine Park. 
Where we:

Watched some piranhas absolutely destroy a chicken. (don't worry, it was already dead!)

Saw a leopard 

 Got up close with some birdies

Wore our dorky souvenir Safari hats

Watched some elephants

Rode an elephant!!!

Held a baby orangutan 

And a snakey

And saw a bunch of other cool animals on our safari trip:


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bali Part Two! - AdventureTime

So rather than document our travels chronologically, I have decided to split the posts around similar activities.

On our third day in Bali, (much to J's pleasure), we went snorkelling out at Lembongan Island!!

The package we chose included a boat ride out to the island, a tour of the island and then a ride out to the area in a glass-bottomed boat to snorkelling!

We got a hotel transfer out to Sanur Beach, where the boat departed from for Lembongan Island!
One of the funniest things about Bali is the signs in Bad English. This sign definitely warranted a photo!

Sanur Beach

Boat ride to the island!

Just after the boat was anchored. 
Cute little village

So we rode on the back of a truck for the Island Tour. No seatbelts, just sort of hanging on to the metal rods above our heads. 

Some more photos of the island:

This suspension bridge connects the north and south of the island:

It was a bit rickety up there!

Part of the tour included taking us through the "Underground House".
The house was entirely carved out of the rock using a hammer and chisel. It took the guy 15 years to complete!! There's bedrooms, kitchens, and even meditation rooms.
We went through and checked it out:

This photo really does not do justice as to how deep that hole was!

Also - just want to mention here that if you're wondering why J has his sunnies on in photos even when we're in darker areas it's because they're prescription! In some instances it was easier to pack sunnies rather than interchange glasses / sunglasses constantly. 

We also went through a tour of the mangrove forest:


And here are some pictures of snorkelling!!

Large school of fish

Tiger fish

 Unfortunately, the current ended up taking us into an area where there were lots of jellyfish so we had to end our snorkelling a little earlier than anticipated. :(

That night we went out to dinner at Nirvana restaurant, in Seminyak:


On one of our last days in Bali we went white water rafting!!

The starting point overlooked a massive area of rice paddy

All geared up and ready to go:

At the half-way point, at the waterfall.
The course was 18km long, took 2.5 hours, and was over class 3-4 rapids.

It also included:

a 20 metre drop over a waterfall!


Thanks to our guide!!

Keep a lookout for more posts and photos!
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