Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bali Honeymoon part 1

To make updating you all on our belated honeymoon in Bali, I have given you two of the emails David wrote during the few times we got online and sent emails to relatives. For everything he didn’t write about in the emails, I will add. :)
I will start you all off with some pictures of our arrival into Bali.

Eating spring rolls and drinking Bintang beer (4.7% and pretty tasty, for those interested) at a restaurant in Sanur, Bali, using their wifi.  We have not spent yet a full day here and it already feels like we've done a lot.  We arrived yesterday and wandered around, visiting shops, the grocery store (to see exotic fruits and check out the alcohol prices), and picked up a Balinese phrasebook at the bookstore.  This morning, we went for a horseback ride along the beach (which took an hour to get to by van, which was full of the sights of the streets and verdant rice paddies of the countryside), which took us to a small cave full of bats ("insect bats" according to our guide) and a rocky headland topped by an old temple.  We were then dropped off at a restaurant with a fantastic view of the ocean, and happened to be the only patrons at the restaurant.  On the way back to the hotel we visited Tanah Lot, apparently the most famous temple on Bali, which was set upon a rocky outcropping on the coast, and which could not be reached without passing the gamut of various shops and vendors (who don't seem nearly as pushy as those in the Philippines).  Upon returning to the hotel, we lounged about and within the pool, and had various fruit drinks.  And that brings us to the now, thereabouts.  Tomorrow, we head off to Ubud, "the real Bali", so they say, and we hope to send another such email soon. 

Our bed at the hotel

The view from our balcony

Our balcony door into our room

Me holding a snake fruit in the grocery store (I reckon it looks like what snake testicles would look like if snakes had testicles).

We at a lovely place that night. I will tell you some of the things they do for you at restaurants in Bali so you’ll know what it was like to eat out every night without me having to tell you each time. They often give you a very cold damp rag to freshen up, and there are often peanuts to munch on, and very often live music! And of course the meals range from about $2-$10.

David’s email #2
Made our way over to Ubud--originally a haven for backpackers and spiritualists, it has since become as touristy as many other places here.  It is definitely a lot more crowded than we expected.  But yesterday we went on a biking tour of the countryside with a delightful Canadian couple and a very entertaining and informative Balinese guide.  It included a tour of a coffee and fruit/spice plantation where, among other things, we saw the preparation of coffee beans and had a cup of the some of the world's most expensive coffee, kopi luwak (though it cost just a few dollars if you get it right at the plantation).  This coffee is so expensive because it can take a couple of months just to collect a kilo of the coffee beans which are found littered on the forest the feces of the Balinese luwak, or civet.  They say it's so good because the civets select only the finest of coffee to eat.  And don't worry, they digest the fruit but deposit the beans intact, which are then cleaned and cooked after collection. 

Here are some pictures from our first day in Ubud
View out of our hotel door

View from out the back of the hotel

We got some massages, but didn't try the sclap massage. :P There were always lots of typos in the English writing.

The Bike Tour
Cremation ceremony we saw on our way to the bike tour. After people die they burry them, and raise money to have a ceremony to send them off properly, but since it's so expensive to do, they only do it every handful of years. So when it comes time to do it they dig up all of the family members that have died in between ceremonies and give them all the send off of cremation.

Yes, I, Cassie, held that spider

The civet cat

Me cooking coffee

David grinding coffee

We got to try a whole bunch of different coffees and teas (my favorite, lemongrass tea and ginger coffee, which tastes like a really yummy cappucino

They grind their coffee grounds REALLY fine and they just sit in the bottom of the cup. It’s really yummy!

Our cup of kopi luwak

Then, we had breakfast overlooking the caldera of Batur, an active volcano, with the most recent flow being in 2002.  After that, our biking tour took us to a traditional Balinese housing compound, where the significance of the building layout was explained (oldest, most respected people facing the mountain, kitchen and workshop on the other side, other family to the west, with the temple closest to the mountain and the sea [northeast in this area]) and we learned about Balinese culture and religion.  We continued biking through the rice paddies and villages, with occasional stops to practice threshing rice or weaving mats.  Cassie lifted a 40 kilo bag of rice and carried it on her head, which greatly impressed the Balinese. We ended the tour with a Balinese buffet, including nasi goreng (fried rice), mie goreng (fried noodles), ayam goreng (fried chicken), and three kinds of sambal (spicy sauces).  (By the way, sambal oolek [or "rooster sauce" back in the states] means "crushed" or "ground" spicy sauce.)

After swimming in the pool and relaxing back at the hotel, we went out to eat at a restaurant serving traditional Balinese food (we got two different kinds of spicy chicken dishes), and I got to try my hand at ordering in Balinese.  The waitress complimented me, so that's cool.  We've been learning some Balinese out of our phrasebook, but have also been lucking out in terms of getting guides and waiters who are willing to teach us some more, so I think we're doing pretty good for having only been here a few days so far :). 

Well, now we're off to visit the monkey forest sanctuary.

Next time... Monkey Forrest and climbing Mt. Batur

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