Bali, Hi - 2007

Travel Arrangements: Asia Transpacific Journeys

BALI, INDONESIA

Author: Lois Gray Photos: Kay Gilmour

C ONTENTS INTRODUCTION.......................................................................................................................................................3 HISTORY ....................................................................................................................................................................4 SCENERY....................................................................................................................................................................6 AMICABLE HOSTS....................................................................................................................................................7 TROPICALITY.............................................................................................................................................................7 TAKING IT EASY........................................................................................................................................................7 FASCINATING BITS...................................................................................................................................................9 FAMILY COMPOUNDS ........................................................................................................................................9 COMMUNITY TEMPLES ....................................................................................................................................10 SOCIAL SAFETY NETWORKS ............................................................................................................................11 STONE QUARRYING..........................................................................................................................................11 EDUCATION........................................................................................................................................................13 CHILDREN'S DANCE PERFORMANCE .................................................................................................................14 SCHOOL VISIT.........................................................................................................................................................18 RESORT KOMANEKA ATTANGGAYUDA.................................................................................................................19 GRACIOUS DINING................................................................................................................................................22 OUTDOOR THEATER PRODUCTION...................................................................................................................25 EKA KARYA BOTANICAL GARDEN .......................................................................................................................26 GOA GAJAH.............................................................................................................................................................28 THE MONKEY TEMPLE AND FOREST..................................................................................................................31 THE GITGIT WATERFALL .......................................................................................................................................35 THE RICE-PADDY WALK ........................................................................................................................................36 SATISFACTION........................................................................................................................................................40

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I NTRODUCTION

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This was the last destination of a trip that began in Alaska, crossed the Pacific Ocean to SE Asia and wandered through Bhutan, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and finally here in Indonesia. Check "Journals" in our women travel safe website for the others. The beautiful island of Bali is by now a Southeast Asia “cliché because of its celebrated golden and black sand shores, ultramarine waters, emerald palms and suntans! However, there is much more to this fascinating island than its tourist beaches. You can even find wilderness here, if you get away from the touristy areas. None of the four of us is interested in sunbathing, so you can be sure we came here for something else. What we sought was relaxation, beautiful scenery, bird and creature sightings, art and architecture, Balinese dancing and the chance to meet some of the Balinese people. So how successful were we in this quest? Read on for answers to that riddle. What we did not expect was the knowledge we gained of the sad history of this tiny island (95 x 69 miles) that is only a small part of the huge archipelago country of Indonesia. The Republic of Indonesia is composed of 17,508 islands (6000 of them inhabited) and Bali is only one of those islands. There are 234,000,000 Indonesians, and 3,150,00 of them are Balinese. The Indonesia land mass is 741,050 square miles (about the size of California, Montana, Texas and Alaska combined); little Bali is only about the size of New Jersey. The vast majority of Indonesians are Muslim (86%) but Bali’s 3,150,000 are 93% Hindu. Indonesia is the 16th largest country in land mass and the 4th most populous in the world. It is the world’s largest Muslim democracy, but it is not an Islamic state. Small though it is, Bali is very important to Indonesia because it is the biggest tourist draw in the whole country! H ISTORY The island was first settled in 3000 BC, as documented through archeology and artifacts. However, an organized society such as we would recognize only began in the 9th century AD with rice cultivation. As history rolled on, practitioners of the Hindu religion who had been living on Java were pushed out by the larger Muslim community. The Mahapahit Kingdom was fully established on Bali by 1478. A Hindu priest named Nirartha brought the faith to the island as well as temple architectural styles. He established the rituals and ceremonies most often seen today. He also permitted the intermingling of some of the animistic practices of the indigenous religions with Hinduism in order to convert the aboriginal peoples. However, the

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common religion did not unite the people under a single governmental authority. Rather, there were many chieftains and tribal leaders who often warred with one another. However, Bali continued relatively undisturbed by the outside world until the 19th century. The larger Muslim populations on other islands pretty much left the Balinese to themselves. In the 19 century, the Dutch began their incursions into the island and made inroads through treaties with petty kings and chieftains who operated in isolated areas of the island. In 1906, there was a “battle to the death” between the Dutch and the Balinese that ended with Bali becoming part of the Dutch East Indies, much as Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam were absorbed into French Indochina. This was the period when the Europeans were dividing the world among themselves. The British were in India at this same time, calling their colony their “jewel in the crown.” The First World War did not change anything significantly for the Dutch colonies in the Pacific; however, after World War II, Balinese peoples began an uprising for their independence along with other parts of what is now Indonesia. The Japanese had occupied many parts of Indonesia, including Bali, and when they were driven out, the Indonesians wanted their independence from all outsiders. The Dutch finally granted independence on 8/17/45 but they did not actually leave until 12/27/49. Rather like the French who granted Madagascar independence but did not really quit the island until 4-5 years later. All the European powers were greatly weakened after the war and did not have the will or the means to fight wars against the independence of their former colonies. The Balinese have suffered much as conquered peoples by the Dutch and the Japanese, but their own land has not been very kind to them either. In 1963, Mt. Agung, one of several active volcanoes on the island, erupted mightily and killed thousands of Balinese. Then in 1965, a civil war began in the entire Indonesian archipelago as Communist Party adherents tried to impose a communistic system on the country. During that conflict more than 100,000 Balinese people died; untold numbers of Indonesians died on other islands of the country. The right wing General Suharto was finally victorious and the country remained a democracy and it continues as one today. However, more recently the Balinese have suffered from the rise of Islamic terrorism in certain parts of the country. In 2002, terrorists set off three bombs in the Kuta district, a popular resort area, killing 202 people and injuring another 129, mostly Australian tourists. Then in 2005, the same terrorist group struck again in much the same area, but the casualties were much smaller, about 28 deaths, and 65 injuries. A homegrown organization with ties to Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for both attacks as well as for other bombings in different parts of Indonesia.

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Despite their living on such an idyllic-appearing island, the Balinese people have not known much of uninterrupted paradise. Most of the people still live very labor- intensive lives in subsistence agriculture and there are two active volcanoes (Agung and Batur) bubbling below the surface, and ready for their turn at devastation. Now these peaceful people must also wait and wonder about the next terrorist attacks on their busy tourist industry. The echoes of the past are not necessarily sounds that the Balinese people want to hear; they prefer to look forward to a happier, safer, most prosperous future. But who can say whether or not they will achieve that dream? T HE “T OURIST ’ S D REAM ” It really is true that for visitors Bali is beautiful, friendly, tropical in its flowers and temperatures, relaxing in its approach to life, fascinating, comfortable & luxurious in its accommodations, delicious in cuisine, and satisfying to visit. We found all these things to be true during our week plus on the island. Our trip through the first four countries we visited had been so full of strange and marvelous experiences and unusual sights with echoes of dramatic pasts and intimations of better (or not) futures that we all wondered if Bali would be a let-down. But it was most decidedly NOT! It was quite different from those other countries and that made it all the better. A great note to end on for our colorful adventure. S CENERY Bali is mountainous and the clouded peaks with their green-leaved shoulders provided a dramatic backdrop to the shiny yellow-green of the terraced rice paddies and the gently waving palm fronds. The skies were clear and deep blue with puffy white clouds always skittering across the lapis lazuli upside down bowl of the heavens. The ubiquitous Hindu shrines spaced among the paddy fields added the right exotic contrast to nature’s loveliness. The ocean beaches were either glittering golden grains meeting the white foam fringed waves of turquoise waters or black volcanic sands that contrasted vividly with the pounding surfs that exploded like the lava eruptions that had formed the beach. Bali is among those blessed island Edens in the South Pacific and shares all the vaunted beauties of these gracious places on theearth.

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A MICABLE H OSTS From Komang, our knowledgeable and affable guide, to the desk clerks, drivers, wait- staff, shopkeepers, janitorial staffs, airline personnel, groundskeepers and folks we encountered as we walked the paddy paths and streets of the towns, everyone was smiling and welcoming to us. The Balinese are very aware of the tremendous economic engine their tourist industry is, both for the island and Indonesia too. The economic downturns that followed the 2002 and 2005 terrorist attacks were felt by all strata of the society, even those whose employment was not dependent directly on the tourists continuing to visit. So, whether is it a good act or a genuine expression of gratitude, the Balinese invariably are gracious to all their foreignvisitors! T ROPICALITY No doubt at all in our minds about just how accurate it is to call Bali a tropical island. The heat was occasionally almost assaultive—we felt it like a heaviness and an unwanted cloaking. The humidity was very high as well, so the sultry air was thick and palpable. But the trees and flowers were prolific in this “hothouse” atmosphere. The blossom colors were flamboyant and vivid, the trees tall and stately with feathery leaves undulating in the indolent puffs of air. Houses and buildings were painted in bright pastel shades, such as we are accustomed to in the Caribbean. The people’s clothing was bright and colorful. The men wore a costume with a skirt (somewhat similar to the goh” in Bhutan) but of much lighter material with much patterning, not simply stripes or plaids. The little hat the men wore with this skirt-like garment was generally made of the same material and shaped rather like an army cap from the 2nd World War. Nothing like a turban, familiar from Indian male dress. The men topped their long skirt with a Western-style shirt. The women dressed in a sari-like garment or in western clothes, but favoring a skirt with a blouse rather than a dress. The clothing looked designed for maximum air flow combined with protection from the very intense sunlight experienced all year long inBali. T AKING I T E ASY Vacationers on tropical islands are encouraged to accept the enervating heat and plan for early morning activities and evening or night ones, allowing for a long siesta or rest period in the heat of the day, from noon to 4 or 5 p.m. when the sun is most cruel. We willingly fell into this pattern and enjoyed the unhurried life style we joined. Traffic in Bali is not as frantic as in other places we had visited this time and the streets are not as crowded. There is not much

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traffic clamor either; most of the vehicles are cars, rickshaws, bicycles and a small number of buses. This factor also contributed to the relaxed atmosphere we were happy to encounter. Even in the fields, no one seemed particularly “on fire” with work habits. The field dogs and cats too were not very hurried in their hunts through the paddies for rats, mice and snakes. On the beaches people moved like slow flowing syrup as they ambled along the shore. The groundskeepers at the resorts moved steadily at their tasks, but they did not speed up when other folks went by. All in all, it was a comfortable tempo at which to wind down from a very busy previous period oftravel.

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F ASCINATING B ITS

FAMILY COMPOUNDS Each family compound includes a Hindu temple and shrine for family devotionals. These are surprisingly large areas in the family plots really. The housing itself is usually built in special “blocks.” There will be a separate building for the kitchen block, a different one for the bedroom(s), a smaller structure for the sanitary facilities, another for a barn, still another for a sitting area and dining spot (these two are often combined). When members of the family marry, a separate bedroom block is built for the newlyweds. But the religious area is never impinged upon or made smaller for more buildings.

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COMMUNITY TEMPLES In addition to the family shrines, each village, town, or section of a city also has a community Hindu temple/shrine area. Depending on the size of the community, these can vary from quite large with many shrines and a very large temple to a fairly small walled area with the requisite temple and shrines. The members of the community devote time and effort to the upkeep of these public areas as well as to keeping their family temples in good repair. The women create elaborate flower and fruit offerings to be carried in processions to the community temples on feast days—and there always seemed to be some sort of special ceremony going on wherever we happened to be.

These offerings are quite artful and beautiful and it was good to know that the fruits, veggies and flowers were not left to decay at the shrines but are distributed among the villagers when the ceremony is complete. Just a token few of each are left on the altars for the “god’s” uses.

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SOCIAL SAFETY NETWORKS There is no social network to care for people in times of illness, unemployment, loss of spouse, other than the family. Balinese folks have no retirement plans or health insurance and certainly no unemployment insurance. The safety net is the family. Because much of the work in agriculture is so physically demanding, large families are a necessity if older people who can no longer work in the fields are to be cared for. We saw that grandmothers and widowed aunts are expected to care for the children while the younger family members earn the family’s bread and keep, either in the fields or in business. The grannies and aunties also are expected to prepare meals for the working members and keep up the housework activities—cleaning, laundry, and the like. The grandfathers and uncles also help tend the children and help to pass on the culture of the family and the country. For those who are able, small repairs on the housing blocks, the tools used in the work of the family, fencing and furniture as well as tending livestock in company with the children are waiting their attention. No family member is left without a task unless he/she is completely unable to perform any work or is too young to learn some of the easier tasks like feeding chickens and ducks. The family is a working unit, the same as is to be found in all societies dependent upon subsistence farming or small businesses. STONE QUARRYING

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We did see a very unusual system among the stone quarrying families however. Because cutting the stones out of the river beds and stream sides requires great strength, the men are usually assigned the task of cutting the blocks. But to us the job of the women seemed equally as demanding. They must pile the heavy damp stones on their heads and carrying them up the slippery and steep paths from the river (about 100 ft. where we observed) to place them in “family piles” to sell when the middleman comes through the area to purchase them. Our guide told us that the average income for the stoneworkers is from $7 to $10 a day. At one of these roadside quarries, we observed a 57-year-old woman doing the quarrying and the carrying all by herself. We asked why this should be and were told that she has been a widow for about three years and there is no one to help her (her children live in other parts of the island). There seemed to be no community structure to help her and we wondered what would happen to her when she was simply unable to carry on this grueling work. The guide and driver seemed to have no answer for that puzzle.

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The other intriguing aspect of this stone-quarrying trade centered on the lack of any community effort to make the cutting or carrying any easier for all; i.e., no attempt to create a pulley system all could use to bring the rocks up from the quarrying site; not even a minimal effort at making the treacherous path safer to climb had been attempted. It seemed to us that the extreme “family responsibility” ethic of the island might be working against the people. If they could get together to make some of the work more efficient, safer, and easier for all, then whole communities could prosper more. After all, the communities do work on the public temples and shrines together. EDUCATION Education is increasingly seen as very important to the Balinese future. Elementary schools are present in most villages no matter how small, but they are dependent for supplies and teachers on the efforts of the villagers. The central government does very little to support these institutions. However, when students pass examinations at the conclusions of the different levels of education, more public support is available for attending high school and college/university. Very few youngsters take advantage of higher education because their labor is demanded at home to support the family structure. Our guide, Komang, is very involved in the elementary school in his village of Bulian about 30 miles from the North coast beach where we were staying. His wife is a teacher in the school and he works to secure donations and grants as well as organizing fund raising events for the school. He also takes his clients into his village to see that type of life in action. We visited his home for a delicious meal and met all the members of his extended family (his cousin had been voted mayor of the village the very day we were in town) including his father, stepmother, mother-in-law, aunts, a disabled sister with one child, and his own three children and wife. His father had been incapacitated by a stroke but even he performed small tasks around the compound. The older ladies helped in the way previously described and also tended to the needs of the sister who had lost a leg in a motorcycle accident and her child.

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CHILDREN'S DANCE PERFORMANCE We had been introduced to the entire village of Bulian on the day of our first visit when we were taken to a community field with a pavilion that was partially enclosed as a room. The other half of the building was open-sided for communal meals and ceremonies.

The entire elementary school was there to greet us and the men of the village were in the concrete block “room” playing non-stop Balinese music. The children performed folk dances and interacted with us as much as their English would allow. The main source of the music was steel xylophone-like instruments and round lumps of steel that the performers beat upon with hammers. They hit these pieces of metal with great strength and the resulting cacophony slammed against the concrete walls and reverberated over and over again. We

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were very fearful for the men’s hearing and mentioned that to Komang but he seemed pretty much unconcerned with that possible ramification since the community has been using this kind of music for centuries. We wondered why they did not at least play outside so there wouldn’t be so much echoing and the sound could be dispersed a little anyway before it assaulted their unprotected eardrums.

The kids were real charmers and loved playing little games with us: like slap hands and follow one another’s gestures. They showed us their versions of the “eensy beansy spider” and laughed loudly when we showed them their pictures in the cameras. The girls were particularly enchanted with my sunglasses and tried them on somewhat shyly but then laughed uproariously at one another when they wore them. The little girls returned to me several times during the concert to show their friends how they looked in the glasses and everyone wouldcollapse with giggling. Some of the more proficient with English wanted to speak a little with us, but their English was pretty much confined to “hellos” and “how are yous” so it was difficult to carry on a real conversation with them. But we all enjoyed our merry time with them. We hoped neither our ears nor the ears of the performers were permanently damaged by the continuous music but it was exciting at first because it sounded barbaric and undisciplined.

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After the performance, we were invited for dinner at the home of our guide and his wife, a teacher at the school. They roasted a pig over an open fire and served it with delicious vegetables. The hospitality of the entire family was splendid.

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Proud Papa and Grandmother

After dinner entertainment

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SCHOOL VISIT On another day, we were treated to a school visit and met the animated children in Komang’s wife’s class of 5th graders. They sang songs in English for us, most of them popular American folk songs like “Jimmy Crack Corn” and “The Eensy, Beansy Spider.” We had the feeling that the children really did not understand the words of the songs at all but had learned them by rote. But it was an engaging visit nonetheless. Later on, before we left Bali, we went to a store to purchase a globe and school supplies for that class. The name of the store was “Mata Hari” but it did not refer to the spy whose name we knew. Instead, in Balinese, it means “Sunshine!” Isn’t that a kick? We knew that Komang would be delighted to take them to his wife and share them with all the students.

The families in Bulian are mostly farmers with some rice growing and some animal husbandry. They introduced us to the “palm wine ceremony” where villagers assemble to drink palm wine until they are pretty much “ossified” and then they dance and tease and laugh. We, of course, had to participate in the drinking and the dancing or we would have been considered very rude and ungracious. The wine was very strong and not too tasty to any of us, but we were all game and gave the villagers their chance to laugh with and at us as we attempted to follow the steps of the lovely young girl who invited everyone up to dance with her one on one. The steps were complicated and we were pretty gauche. But everyone in attendance, including us, had a

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good time and we knew the party would continue long after we left for our seaside resort home for the night. The party had a good reason for continuing since everybody wanted to celebrate the cousin’s mayoral victory.

N OT J UST C OMFORT --L UXURY !

RESORT KOMANEKA AT TANGGAYUDA Beautiful beaches and warm sunny weather are not the only attractions in Bali’s tourist industry! The 5-star hotels are a real treat in any visit there. We stayed in the city of Ubud, a cultural and arts & crafts center about 30 miles from the nearest beaches. But many fine hotels and restaurants are there as well as the art galleries, indigenous dance troupes, wood & metal carvers, batik studios, and weavers. Our hotel was called the Komaneka at Tanggayuda and though it was rather removed from downtown Ubud, it was a spectacular property.

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The suites were all quite private since each was surrounded by its own privacy fence; we supposed that was so that guests could indulge in skinny-dipping in the very inviting small pool outside the front door of eachsuite.

The walls overlooking the pool and the valley and hills beyond were made of floor to ceiling glass so the view of the sunrise was never blocked. The suites consisted of a sitting area with comfy couch, chairs, small dinette set, and a television. The bedroom area was separated from this by the four-poster style of the bed itself with its mosquito netting adding a bit more privacy. There was another large area consisting of three rooms behind the bedroom wall. In that area was the lavatory and dressing room, and off those there were two separate rooms for the shower and toilet facilities. Fresh flowers appeared in the suite every day. Any meal could be ordered en suite which was particularly delightful to me since the whole property was spread down a fairly steep hillside which required some pretty arduous climbs up and down on my still swollen and painful ankle. There was also an open-air restaurant at the top of the property where the lounge and gift shop were located. The food was good and there was a varied menu including fresh seafood and Balinese specialties which are really similar to Indian food in many ways.

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The restaurant always provided fresh fruit and veggies which were just excellent. There was a “barbecue” type arrangement near the public pool where drinks and munchies as well as full meals could be obtained. Vibrant flowers were splashed all over the grounds and the trees provided welcome shade all through the day. We enjoyed observing the local birds, geckoes, lizards, frogs and cats as well. What a terrific place to unwind from the day of sightseeing and from the total trip. We all thought the Komaneka was a little slice of paradise within the special Balinese environment. The Lovina Beach Resort was not a 5-star facility because it was older and less than perfectly maintained. The grounds were lovely and the open-air restaurant and bar were delightful. The rooms were large and comfortable, but the heat could not be beaten back by the inadequate air-conditioning in each room. The advantages to the facility were that it was right on the black sand beach and that the shower facilities were roomy so it was easy to cool off by taking a refreshing shower. The food at the restaurant was not the best but it was goodenough.

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GRACIOUS DINING A really big treat in Ubud was a chance to dine at the best restaurant any of us had ever enjoyed anywhere in the world—theMosaic.

We obtained reservations to have dinner there and it was truly the evening’s entertainment as well as the day’s provender. The restaurant is rather narrow and small in appearance from the outside, but once inside we discovered that facility went back, back, back from the street with many different “rooms” to enjoy— some were actually inside, others were partially covered by porticoes, and some were completely open to the stars.

We chose one where the only shelter from the outdoors was the many tree branches crisscrossing over our heads. As the sunlight melted from the sky and the stars began to compete with the dim electric lights, we saw the fruit bats flying right over our heads as they left their roosts in the trees above. It was a beautiful setting and only elegant and delicious food could have matched the environment. And the food was just amazing and the service punctilious but never overbearing or intrusive.

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We selected three course meals each and shared tastes of one another’s choices and were all sighing in postprandial bliss when the meal was over. The young chef was half French & half American but had studied cooking in France and you can trust us on this, he had really mastered the craft and served delicious and inventive surprises. The roast lamb was probably the best we ever had eaten! What a wonderful culinary experience. This was real luxury! Actually, almost every meal we ate in Bali was delicious, with one or two exceptions, but we are going to forget those soon. One of the most interesting dishes we were introduced to was a Balinese specialty—black rice pudding. Which of us had ever even heard of black rice anyway? But it does grow in Bali—not quite black, more like gray with black streaking along the grains. But when combined with milk as the dish requires, the color becomes quite dark, almost blue black. Sweetener (usually palm sugar) is added to the mixture and some mystery spices and the result is absolutely delicious. We all quailed a bit when we were first told about it, but the folks were correct—it’s really special and tasty. Most of our meals were in restaurants with open air dining decks. Because it is so hot in Bali, that ambiance was welcome. There is not much A/C in the country and the natural breezes make things much more comfortable than being inside a building. Our goodbye lunch on the beach in Denpasar (the capital of the island) was another memorable one. The rolling waves coming in from the far reaches of the Indian Ocean made a constant booming sound to accompany the warm breezes and that 7th wave was really loud; it

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brought conversation to a halt it was so thunderous. A kite seller was walking the shore in front of us flying the most beautiful kite creations any of us had ever seen. A large and colorful sailboat with at least three masts was the most striking and it flew as if it were floating on the “sky ocean.” It was so graceful that we each bought one and then realized that we would never get them home unbroken. So we gave those to Komang for his boys to play with in little Bulian—we hoped there would be enough wind to make them float there as they did on the beach. Anyway, back to the restaurant—it was labeled barbecue in style and its specialty was fresh seafood. We all perused the menu and everything looked delicious. We must have been hungry. The fish, shrimp, lobster, crab, or oysters were to be served with cooked greens and rice. Kay and I selected the catch of the day (who knows what kind of fish it was—except delicious) and Micki chose lobster and Dan settled on lobster with prawns. They even added a lobster head soup to their menu and we all had our usual drinks: a glass of wine for Dan, a local beer for Micki and Fanta Orange for Kay and I. There was so much food that we ended up giving the doggy-bags to Komang and our driver for their dinner that night. We all enjoyed the meal very much and the setting was super. However, when it came time to settle the bill, Micki and Dan had to ask themselves whether it had been all that good. Their bill for lunch was $200.00 without tip. Kay and I had spent a mere $23.00 with tip! Only they can know for sure just how tasty that lobster was. Well, maybe Komang and the driver could also testify as to its deliciousness.

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O THER S PECIAL T REATS

OUTDOOR THEATER PRODUCTION We saw and did so many interesting things in Bali that the trip was a very happy and satisfying experience! One particularly enjoyable evening found us at the outdoor theater of an indigenous theater production. It was a warm night and the music, dancing and singing was really engaging.

The troupe was presenting stories from the Hindu scriptures and though we really could not follow the convolutions of the tales, we could certainly revel in the amazingly athletic movements of the men and the graceful dancing of the slender and beautifully costumed women. The rhythmic chanting with much percussion behind it was also exciting and effective. The performers were of different ages and it was gratifying to see that the lead male singer was probably in his early 60s. The finale of the whole exuberant performance by such handsome and skilled dancers was a “fire dance.” The actor/dancer who performed this portion of the program was probably in his late 30s or early 40s, very muscular and well-built. He wore voluminous cloaks and robes as he started playing with the fire: handling fire sticks as he whirled and twirled. The background chanting grew more intense as he began to pass

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the flames closely around his arms and legs and tease us with his apparent invulnerability to the heat. As he danced around with the fire, he shed more of his cloaks and wraps. At the conclusion of the dance, he stood in the center of the flames with just a breechcloth for covering. Then he threw one white clock back around his shoulders and sat on a bed of flame and embers. It was very impressive and a little frightening. But he leapt up again and was obviously unhurt! The applause he received was well deserved. It was a fascinating evening.

EKA KARYA BOTANICAL GARDEN

Beautiful day for a visit to a formal garden at Bedugul. Besides the lush vegetation and gorgeous flowering plants, there was the stunning immense statuary. Kumbakarna Laga statue at the entrance tells a Hindu story about the battle between Kumbakarna and the monkey army led by Rama.

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The garden's main collection are divided into several subsection: orchids (293 species), Balinese ceremonial plants (218 species), medicinal plants (300 species), cacti (68 species), ferns (80 species), begonia (200 species), and various aquatic plants.

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GOA GAJAH

Goa Gajah dates back to the 11th century. It was built as a spiritual place for meditation.

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The façade of this cave is a relief of menacing creatures and demons carved into the rock. The primary figure is thought to be an elephant, hence the nickname Elephant Cave. A pool, excavated in 1954, features five out of supposedly seven statues depicting Hindu angels holding vases that act as waterspouts. This site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on October 19, 1995, in the Cultural category.

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THE MONKEY TEMPLE AND FOREST One late afternoon we spent time at the Monkey Temple and Forest. The macaques who live among the Hindu shrines and temples in the forest are used to having human beings around, but they are not tame! They are not aggressive with humans though we did witness much rough and tumble among the many young monkeys around us. The males were jealous of their “personal space” and did remonstrate physically with young monkeys and other males who got too close. Females they tolerated without cuffing or menacing them.

The young monkeys were such fun to watch in their fun and games. Really interesting was seeing how quickly the adults could get into coconuts. Those big incisors were effective at tearing loose strips of husk and their nimble fingers could handle the rest. Then the teeth came back into play as they pierced the “eyes” of the coconuts to drink the milk.

When the milk was finished, then the bald inner nut was cracked open by pounding it on the pavement or hurling it across the path. When the big males had completed what they wanted of the meat inside, then the females and young ones would snatch smaller pieces to eat. Some people brought bananas when they visited the sacred precincts and the macaques got their share of those as well. These monkeys have droll, rather worried looking faces with drooping mustaches and deep-set eyes. They are a dull brownish color and about as big as a gibbon orsiamangI.

They often posed on the low walls surrounding the temples and shrines and, of course, made us think of the “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” monkey statues. We rather foolishly took turns sitting next to three in that configuration to have our pictures taken with no untoward reactions from the creatures. However, when it came her turn to sit for her group photo with them, Micki naively picked up a banana peel to hand to the male nearest her. With lightning speed, he bit her forearm—in displeasure for either the invasion of his “personal space” or disappointment that there was nothing in the banana peel for him to eat. Anyway, at

first we did not think he had drawn blood but after a few minutes, we could all see some redness seeping up. Kay was a properly prepared “doc” once again and immediately cleansed the wound and applied antibiotic ointment and a bandage to the site. Afterwards, we awaited signs and symptoms of some rare monkey-carried disease, but luckily Micki remained healthy.

T HE G ITGIT W ATERFALL A short interlude out of the car. Had to walk a gauntlet of souvenir shops to reach the falls but the end result was a cooling off with the spray from the 35 meter falls. There is a restaurant there - but we did not stay for food.

THE RICE-PADDY WALK

We all agreed that among the wonderful treats we had experienced in Bali, our 3- hour walk through a community of rice paddy fields was the highlight. We had a perfect day for the stroll (my ankle was even cooperative by now) and all of us were eager for the anticipated experience. The fields were terraced along a low hillside ringed round with mountains and volcanoes topped with wispy clouds. Languorous palm fronds fluttered lazily in the slight breezes and they sprouted up unexpectedly along the paths, in the fields and on the mountainsides. There were Hindu banners streaming across the fields to deter the birds from feasting too soon on the rice kernels. An ingenious system of noisemaking complemented the flapping banners in this alternative to traditional scarecrows. Tin cans were attached to windmill like sails which pulled strings as they moved in the wind and caused pebbles or metal to rattle inside the cans. The noise was more tinkling than harsh and added to the serene morning atmosphere.

The path was made of clay and easy to walk, though occasionally there was a reminder that we were walking along the side of a mountain; there would be a steep drop-off into a little ravine filled with tall trees and many flowering shrubs. Farmhouses or little shrines appeared as we strolled along taking pictures and taking the time to look at little things, like insects and butterflies. Irrigation ditches were always on at least one side of the path and sometimes on both sides. The community path accommodated farmers on foot, women carrying huge burdens on their heads, bikes, scooters loaded with whole families, even one loaded with rebar, and of course sightseers like us. Some industrious rice farmers had also discovered they had artistic talents including wood carving, rice paper production, painting and drawing, and jewelry fashioning. These farmers put up small stalls (even some tiny concrete block buildings) along the way to sell these items to the tourists passing through. It must be worth their while because they had to sacrifice some land for the tiny structures.

At this time of year, the rice fields were incredibly beautiful because they were close to harvesting. The diverse shades of green were topped with golden sheaf-like “flowers” where the rice was ripening. The different kinds of rice reach differing heights as well, creating more texture in the picture. There was black rice, plain white rice, sticky rice and red rice. Here and

there we would encounter a little garden patch cut out of the paddy field. In these we saw water spinach growing, as well as long beans and sweet potatoes. These farmers do not waste much land on anything not productive. Swallows dove and rose above the fields chasing the many insects everywhere in the air above the rice plants. We even were lucky enough to see rice dogs and cats doing their jobs of slithering through the closely planted rice to chase mice and rats and snakes. Some workers were in the fields as well, but not many because the rice was really not quite ready for harvesting. We learned that the women do the harvesting while the men do the planting and the threshing. Both sexes look after the irrigation ditches and insure the proper amounts of water during the growing seasons. Men and women both drive the ubiquitous scooters but more men appeared to ridebikes.

There were some motorcycles roaring down this rice paddy highway, mostly with young men astride them. The road was amazingly busy on such a peaceful and warm day. It’s a multiuse pathway for sure. Our group “shot” everything in sight and must have accumulated hundreds of pictures to process when they got home. It made me glad that I am not a photographer. The butterflies alone were too beautiful to be skipped and the formidable spiders were also worthy of memorialization in pixels. Many of the insects were new to us so they too needed to be “captured” for later study. The rice-paddy walk was a multi-sense experience in every way: sights, sounds, smells, touch and even taste when we tried a path-side banana. We loved every step of the way.

S ATISFACTION This visit to Bali was a wonderful conclusion to our trip through Asia. We were able to relax but we were never allowed to be bored. We saw many beautiful sights, ate delicious meals, enjoyed local arts and crafts, drank in many glorious views, met warm and friendly people, and best of all, did not have to experience any part of terrorist activities. All was quiet while we were among these people. Even if our dolphin watch on Lovina Beach was a bust, we nonetheless had the opportunity to be out on the Bali Sea for a while. The activity was ridiculous because it ended with about 30 small boats chasing down a couple of dolphins who were not in any mood for interaction with people. We did see a couple of them perform complete flips into the air, but we quickly determined that the constant movement of the boats towards the dolphins constituted harassment and we instructed our boatman to take us back to shore. Dan quipped that we had kayaked faster in Halong Bay than this man was able to push through the sea with his small outboard motor! We did observe flying fish and that was amusing. Some small silvery fish also swam around the boat shimmering and shining in fascinating formations. So all was not lost on that particular activity. Would we want to return to Bali? Probably not, but then we probably won’t care to go back to the other places we visited on this trip either. But that doesn’t signify that we did not thoroughly enjoy ourselves, because we did! How do we feel about Bali’s prospects for the future? In spite of its grim past, this country seems filled with happy people who are content to pursue their own lives without interference from the larger Muslim community. If radical Islamists can be prevented from disrupting their tourist industry and frightening the populace, they will probably continue to thrive and support more industry with more education of the young people. Komang told us that the only significant export from Bali is cloves, so tourism is their chief source of foreign money since there is little or no investment in the country from outside. Nonetheless, we felt as we left Bali that these wonderful people are planning for their future and living satisfying lives now. Click Logo to View Kay's Photo Album of this Trip

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