All’s well that ends well! Matt was safe, and we were both exhausted so we crawled into bed. I have a confession to make, however… I have a security blanket. I have this lovely soft grey blanket I bought in the US in 2012 that I brought with me to Bali. Matt and I sleep with separate blankets because we’re both blanket hogs, so I tend to bring my blanket with me when I travel, because I honestly have a hard time sleeping without it.
Thursday, 6 March
However, Wednesday night I couldn’t sleep for shit it felt like. I woke up the next day feeling very tired and grainy. We got up, got dressed and started heading to Ian and Jill’s hotel with a pocket full of money and optimism. We stopped by a little shop to get Matt some RedBull (which he sculled two little ones) and got to Ian and Jill’s room just before 8. Ian and Jill come out and we have a chat for a bit, and Ian rings the tour guide to see if we can tag along, which is perfectly fine with Eni, the tour guide (hey, means more money for them right?) She pulls up and the four of us pile into this van which is being driven by a man named Made (pronounced Ma-day) and Eni, the tour guide. We learned quickly that in Balinese culture (maybe Indonesian full up? I don’t know) that the first four children (regardless of gender!) are named Wayan, Made, Loman and Ketut. Eni explained that she was also a Made. Later they start to be known by their surnames though, or some combination thereof.
Anyway! Eni explained the day that we had ahead of us. We were going to see a traditional Balinese dance, see Batik printing being done, check out the centre of Silver and Woodcraft, see a traditional Balinese house, go to a Hindu temple, see the art centre of Ubud, go up the mountain and have lunch near an active Volcano, go to a coffee plantation, drive past some rice paddies, and go to a monkey forest. And off we went!
First we went to where they did Batik printing. It was interesting, and a very time consuming process. They apply the ink, and then add wax, and then dye, then remove the wax, and add more ink… on and on it goes. The prints were gorgeous, but the place was a tourist trap of course. Very expensive.
Next we saw the traditional Balinese dance. It told the story of a battle between a good and evil spirit, who fought over the soul of a boy. The bad spirit wanted the boy’s death, and the good spirit made the boy immortal. The boy ends up killing the evil spirit and the evil spirit is then admitted into heaven. A servant of the evil spirit wants the boy to do the same to her, but the boy refuses so she battles him after turning into several different things. Finally, she turns into this massive tiger and the boy is unable to kill it. But the boy is able to defeat it by having the villagers help him. It was pretty interesting, and the tiger costume was gorgeous.
From there we went to the ‘centre’ of Silver and Gold in Bali. We saw a man fashioning some silver rings and how they do the actual creation of the jewellery. And of course, there was the requisite tourist trap shop which suckered me in I admit. I bought a pair of earrings and a ring for a fairly decent price I thought (although later Matt said he thought I got ripped off.) Oh well.
Next up was the Balinese house. The Balinese do their houses in such a way that they are sectioned off. Every house has a temple and then the outbuildings. As a strong emphasis is placed on caring for the elders in a lot of Asian cultures, (The Balinese aren’t an exception!) new buildings are added as the family grows. The Balinese don’t have traditional refrigerators either, so a lot of times they go to the market early in the morning and purchase the items they need for cooking. We saw the Balinese woman who lived there cooking and preparing the day’s food (a lot of work is done early in the morning when it’s cool. The schoolchildren go to school six days a week from 7:30am to 12:30pm six days a week because it’s too hot in the afternoons!) then at night they eat and do their thing. It’s rare to have a tv in a traditional Balinese house. We also saw the family’s pets – they had roosters for cockfighting (as it’s legal in Bali), and they kept porcupines as pets! that was pretty cool. They also had a pig and some ducks… the pig looked pretty fat, and I have a feeling that was going to be dinner soon. 🙂 It was pretty hot as we stood there though, so it was time to move on, but not before the street peddlers someone conned Ian into buying something. Poor thing. They can get very aggressive!
We went to the art gallery in Ubud next. Apparently the painting in Ubud is very famous. The art gallery was ok… lots of pretty pictures, but nothing that caught my attention. They had some rose paintings but they were all yellow. If they had a blue rose one I might’ve considered it but they didn’t. Boo. It was hot, however, and we were ready to move on.
Next up was the Hindu temple, and we all had to wear sarongs to enter. Ian kept cracking jokes about his dress, but I found it fascinating. There is a very strong duality to the statues and placements in the Hindu religion. Matt and I had our picture taken there with him standing on the “masculine” side while I stood on the “feminine” side in front of some statues. Then we looked around a bit, and Eni told us that Saturday the 9th there was a big festival happening – it was the day that the goddess Sarasvati sent down knowledge and science to Earth. It was a big celebration in the schools. It was shockingly hot at this point however, so we left and made our way to where they did a lot of Woodcraft.
The woodcrafters were busy at work hand carving some rather lovely pieces. They used hibiscus wood (did you know – the red flowered hibiscus wood is red and white and the yellow flowered hibiscus wood is black and white?), mahagony, sandalwood, ebony… the hibiscus wood was native to Bali but the others were imported. The wood was lovely but much like the art gallery there wasn’t anything that called to me. Jill bought a couple of things however, and we moved.
We had a fair drive up into the mountains to where we were going to have lunch. About halfway up the mountain however, our van stalled!!! Luckily for us, it stalled in front of a little convenience store where we could get a cool drink while Made tried to figure out what caused it to stall. About 10 minutes went by before he got it working. Eni was quite embarassed, we could tell, but the four of us were quite chill about it. We understand, these sort of things happen!
We get up to the top and the view of the volcano (Mt Batsu I believe it’s called!) was breathtaking. There’s a lake right at the foot of it, which really added to the vista. The last time the volcano had erupted was in 1963, and there was a pretty significant loss of life unfortunately when it happened. We got a few pics before sitting down to an Asian buffet… rice, noodles, chicken and seafood, it was all very tasty. We got some water and Matt and I bought lunch to thank Jill and Ian for letting us tag along.
We headed back down the mountain shortly after that (dodging street peddlers, of course hehe) and we went to this coffee plantation. It was really a highlight of the day, I must admit. We wandered through and we got to see immature coffee beans growing on the trees, and immature cocoa pods as well. You ever hear about that coffee that’s really popular because it goes through the digestive track of an animal? Kopi Lemak I think it’s called? Yeah, this is where this stuff is produced! They had a couple of the animals in cages and they were roasting some of the beans when we got there. I got to actually help roast them which was cool! Then we sat down and got to try the different coffees. They had this mocha that was divine, and I bought some to bring home. They also do a ginseng coffee which Matt thought was pretty good so he grabbed some of that and we both agreed to buy this tea that was made from the skin of a mangosteen. Was all very divine!
And last but not least, our trip to the Monkey Forest. We headed out to the Monkey Forest and we were all a bit ambivalent about it. While Eni, Jill, Ian and Matt had a chat, I fell asleep in the car. I’m pretty good at sleeping in cars, haha.
We get to the Monkey Forest, and there are monkeys everywhere! These were crab eating Macaques I believe. I had heard horror stories about monkey forests, that they try to steal your sunnies and jewellery and stuff, so we went in stripped. I decided I did want to feed the monkeys so we bought some bananas, and I had MONKEYS CLIMBING OVER ME TO GET TO THE BANANAS!!! SO cool, actually. Jill tried it too and it’s an interesting experience to have the monkeys climbing on you and taking food from you. We also saw this Japanese lady that had accidentally given all her bananas to this little young monkey, and he was playing ‘chippie slap’ with her – telling her hands off because she was trying to get her extra bananas back. Finally he hissed at her and ran away and she gave up, haha. We explored the temple there and the rainforest area and then hopped back in the car to head back to Kuta.
While in the car, Eni signed us up for a couple more tours. Ian, Jill, Matt and I agreed to all check out a Night Safari on Friday night and Saturday Matt and I signed up to go snorkelling. We paid for our tours and tipped Eni pretty handsomely. She was fantastic, and if you are ever going to Bali to do tourism type stuff? HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND MyWay Destination Asia tours. It was brilliant and both Eni and Made really made our day fantastic.
Eni and Made dropped us off at the start of Popies 1 and Matt and I wandered down the lane, and I bought a couple of dresses and a trilby hat and some new thongs. We got back to our room, dropped off our stuff and off to dinner we went. Where did we go? TJ’s! I had a hankering for Mexican hehe.
We get in, and the menu already is taking my breath away. Taquitos, tostadas… not your typical just tacos burritos and enchiladas that you tend to find in Perth. Matt had a mole and some chicken wings, I had taquitos and a beef tostada – both were absolutely DIVINE. I was very sad, I couldn’t finish my tostada though! We talked to the owner on our way back to the hotel and it turns out his mum is Mexican from California. I now say that the best Mexican in Perth is in Bali, hah!
We get back, and do some decompression in the pool with Juliann, Emma, Alyssa and Evelyn. Then, we crawl into bed with me planning on a spa day!