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Mike & Mag's World Adventure

Bali,Indonesia

INDONESIA | Sunday, 24 February 2008 | Views [1106] | Comments [8]

Hello Friends and Family-

It has been nearly two weeks that we have been on the tiny island of Bali. Bali is in Indonesia and is one of a few hundred islands. Indonesia is the most popular country for Islam and over 80% of the Country is Muslim, yet the island of Bali is has remained nearly completely Hindu. That means that the people here have prayer 3 times a day and continue to worship at the beautiful temples that we have visited throughout the island. Everyone here is very spiritual and often times you will see people with rice on their foreheads and that means that they have just finished their afternoon prayer.

One of my key observations of Bali is that it is a country completely set up on tourism. The entire island, every inch of it is geared to tourists with hotels and restaurants everywhere. However ,after the terrorist bombings of 2003 and 2005 from Muslims outside of Bali, tourism has absolutely fallen. Many times we are the only people in a restaurant eating and people are starving for business. Many people are shocked that we are Americans traveling here, b/c virtually all Americans have stopped traveling here out of fear of bombings. Therefore, the Balinese people are struggling very much to support themselves and are incredibly desperate for business which leads to pretty determined vendors.


But we have felt nothing but safe here and are enjoying the Hindu culture. On our second day here, Valentine's Day, we hired a private driver to take us to the very south part of the Island called Uluwatu where we watched a traditional Balinese Dance called the Kecak & Fire Dance. The dance was set outside the temple which was set on the cliff by the sea which was absolutely beautiful. The dance was accompanied by about 25 men that made grunting like noises to set a sort of beat. Like most, traditional Balinese dances the story included two lovers their struggles, the struggles of good verses evil with an underlying Hindu tone to it. We have since seen 2 more Balinese dances. All of which the girls do amazing eye movements and hand movements. There is little movement but every step and movement of the eyes is choreographed. After the performance we went out to eat to a restaraunt where we picked out all of our food from aquariums with live lobsters, crabs, fish etc. It was very delicious ( Enak in Bahasa, the local Indonesian language).

In Kuta, which is surfers paradise we have mainly been hanging out at the pool in our hotel. The beach is littered with trash and many vendors so we haven't spent much time there. Unfortunately, much of Bali is covered with litter and open dumps can be seen throughout the country. After a few days in Kuta we set off for Ubud, the cultural capital of Bali for some Culture of course. There we visited the monkey forest which is teaming with over 300 Monkeys. They were super cute especially the mamas that carried their baby in between their legs. Since I had my water bottle hanging from my purse the monkeys found the water swishing about in my purple bottle very fascinated and kept running up my legs to swat at it and try to get at it. This was very scary at first since monkeys were just running towards me and then up my legs. Once I realized they weren't going to hurt me I relaxed and we enjoyed our time there.

In Ubud we also went on a hike through the rice terrace fields. This was quite amazing and just felt great to get out of the city to a place where there were no honking motorcycles or tourists. Occasionally on the track we ran into people carrying rice or coconuts on their head to take into town to sell. We also saw farmers weeding their perfect rows of rice. The terraces are absolutely perfect in their symmetry and very efficient at provided the water for the rice to thrive. On our hike we ran into a very old man that offered to climb up a tall tree and bring us down a coconut which we drank. Of course he wanted money for his service, so we gave him the 50 cents he requested. So as you can see Bali is SUPER cheap!

From Ubud, we headed further North to Lovina, the place of black sand beaches. Lovina is also in the mounatains so the temperatures chilled out and we were actually able to see the beautiful forests that you imagine when you think of Indonesia. Everywhere else has experiences so much deforestation, but the North still has quite a bit of forest and mountains and volcanoes so the soil is very rich. Therefore, there is a ton of farming up there-- vegetables mainly. There were very few tourists in the north so we enjoyed the peace and quite and nature. It was here that we had out best Balinese experience and it was at "Warung Putu" Warung means something like a small food joint, kind of like cafe in english and Putu is the name of the owner. After having a wonderful dish of fresh Mahi Mahi for 2 dollars a plate we spoke with Putu about his love for cooking and ours as well. We shared interest in learning how to cook some Balinese food and he invited us to help him cook a Balinese dinner for us to enjoy the next night. The next night Mike showed up with camera in hand and I ready to start cooking. We made duck, corn fritters, a vegetable dish with coconut milk, sprouts, green beans, and black rice pudding. At the end of it I was sweating like a pig and so hungry that the food tasted the best that I had every had! We were so grateful that Putu shared a bit of his culture with us for free and with so much love for what he was doing. And the food was the best that we have tasted since our time in Bali.

So, that leads me to now. We're back in Bali, waiting to flyout to Vietnam in just a few days. Unfortunately, Mike has run into some bad food and is stuck in the room close to the toilet for now. Hoping it will pass soon, we're taking it easy and resting up for Vietnam.

Overall, we're enjoying our time here with a lot of relaxation and trying to take everything in as best we can with open hearts and minds. We will keep you all posted with anything new and love you and miss you all!

Peace,

Maggie and Mike

Tags: Culture

Comments

1

Hey you two!!! Geez, you both are missed so much!! I was looking at your face-book page trying to find an update and stumbled across this page. Finally! I've been wondering where you 2 were at in your travels. Everything sounds incredible!! The pictures are so beautiful. Can't wait to see more! Your Valentines Day sounds sweet and amazing! That's so funny monkeys were climbing up your legs! It's so cool you found Warung Putu and connected with a local. I hope your taking pictures of everything! I'll be looking forward to your next post. Its very exciting to hear about all your adventures! I love the details.

Feel better soon Mike!!!!
Peace and much love to you both!
Be Safe and take care!
Miss ya!
Reading about all this good food has made hungry! Gotta go grub!

  Sherry Feb 25, 2008 11:44 AM

2

We want more pictures!!

  Sherry Feb 25, 2008 11:46 AM

3

Yes we are going to make an effort to post more pictures. Trouble is that it takes a fast computer which is hard to find here and takes several hours to do. But we are going to try this afternoon. Stay tuned, if it doesn't happen in Bali, hopefully Vietnam will have better computers.

  mikephall83 Feb 25, 2008 1:35 PM

4

We want more pictures!!

  Sherry Feb 25, 2008 2:55 PM

5

I miss you guys and love reading your blog. Check it daily for updates. Be safe, but just wanted to touch base shortly to say HI!

  Matt Conley Feb 26, 2008 8:52 AM

6

I know it's long overdue but I finally got more pics posted! Enjoy!

  mikephall83 Feb 26, 2008 5:10 PM

7

Hola Chica y Chico,
I'm so glad Erin sent me this link...it is FABULOUS! I love the pics and the journals...very cool. I'm trying to convince Pete we should go to Bali now...we'll see. I might be moving back to Lawrence very soon...don't know what your plans are for coming back, but i hope we can meet up at the red lyon again and play some darts...I'm getting better :) Miss and love you two a ton! Continue having fun for the rest of us:) Sarah

  Sarah Trowbridge Mar 1, 2008 7:43 AM

8

Dear Mike and Mag,
I've just been to Lovina and had the pleasure of meeting Putu as well and enjoyed his delicious plentiful cooking. I really want to get back in contact with Putu but I've managed to lose his contact details. Is there any chance that you have his phonenumber, address or email address and if you do would you be able to send it to me. If you can I would be very grateful!
Rich

  richard Jan 10, 2009 3:28 PM

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