Bali , Indonesia

BEFORE  I get to post on Bali, I have to say MERRY CHRISTMAS and Happy New Year to everyone who is reading this blog.  This is how I spend Christmas Eve day. While driving in the Outback we got a flat tire. Dad had to change it in 101 degrees.  Thank god he knew what to do or we would have been there for hours. Only 4 cars passed us in an hour. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Dad who just turned 50. (he is so old! LOL).We love you Dad. He said it was the best birthday ever.  We drove back to ALice Springs, got a nice hotel and went to a local Church.  The Priest came up to us, welcomed us and asked us where we were from and we talked to him a bit.. imageThe hotel had a resident Peacock, he loved us.image imageWe spent Christmas Day in the hotel Pool and left for Bali, Indonesia that evening. I was very surprised to see a couple of Christmas gifts left for Sawyer and I. We were not expecting .

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BALI – INDONESIA

FUN FACT: Indonesia is an ALL ISLAND NATION.  The biggest island Nation in the world. Most of Indonesia’s Island people are Muslim.  Indonesia is an Islamic country and home to the worlds largest Muslim population (85%) EXCEPT for the Island of Bali, which is mostly Hindu.

FUN FACT: Indonesia has thousands of Islands (17,000), know one knows how many exactly because some are so small.  Only 6,000 are inhabited and even fewer than that have names.  There is one President who rules all the Islands.

Indonesia is (supposed to be) known for its beaches, but from what I saw, the beach in Bali was gross. Literally garbage all over the place and in the water.imageimageI never saw an ocean so discusting, there was logs, wrappers, and trees floating in the shore. I learned from a local resident that most of it comes from the island of JAVA because that is mostly poor and they just pollute the sea and the current takes it away from Java, over to Bali at this time of year. Mom and Dad didn’t let us swim in the water most days because they said it was “dangerous” my mom said ” I would be a bad parent if I let you go in , you could get impaled with a tree branch or knocked out!” I was looking forward to going surfing but could not.  ONe good day we got to go in the ocean, (no trees floating around that day, only garbage) it was rough waves for playing.

imageGoing at Sunset was nicer, we got to eat by the beach and enjoy watching the men play soccer on the beach in low tide.

By the way, The beach, KUTA BEACH,  has a ton of people trying to get you to buy things, they literally walk right up to you and shove in your face what they want you to buy.  (bags, bracelits, sun glasses, scarfs, hair braiding, ice cream, fruit, beer, toys, wood carvings, kites, massages, basically everything. ) its annoying to say NO Thanks all the time. Mom and Dad know how to deal with this, they have been to South East Asia before.  They would sit right next to you and stay until finally you ignore them and they move on. imageimageTypical street in Kuta, all the streets are small.  You have to walk single file. The streets are so crowded around Kuta square. There were a lot of motorbikes weaving around cars and people. The streets are all narrow and you have to walk on the side avoiding the motorbikes coming every direction.  PLUS, each street is lined with stalls and the owners sit there yelling for you to buy their stuff.  Nothing is listed as a price, you have to bargain for everything, even food.  Its annoying and takes a long time to settle on price.  My mom is the master she sets her “final price” and askes the store owner if they agree.  If not, she walks away, they always say YES and come to get her.  She got the stuff we baught for less than half of the original price.  Yes, things here are cheap compared to the US dollar but its a pain to bargain for everything.

imageHere in Bali, you can not escape Religion, it is everywhere.  The Hindu Religion is practiced here. every single shop, home , business, restaurant , hotel, etc has a shrine , some small some big, they leave offerings everyday in front of their business or home.  It is very pretty, the decorations on the shrines and temples are nice. Sawyer stepped on a few offerings without realizing. The offering usually has flowers, food, money, incense and fruit. Some shrines are very nice, even McDonalds had one. Offerings are made throughout the day.image

We were not that impressed with Kuta, Mom and Dad say it reminds them of Vietnam and getting crazy.  It is not a relaxing place to be at all!  IT’s actually stressful, the walking, the beach, the bargaining, BUT we did meet some great locals who showed and helped us learn things. We rented an apartment for the week and the ladies there were great helps. Even asking a friend of theirs to take Mom by motorbike to the post office to mail home a box.IMG_1637I learned that everywhere in Bali is crowded, there are some open spaces up north on the island but all the roads to get there are similar, lined with shops and just wide enough to fit a car or two. We went on a 10 hour day drive($40 for car, driver, and gas)  one day to see and explore other parts of the island, hired a driver because NO ONE should be driving here if you don’t know your way around. Nothing is labeled , few signs, and more traffic than the LIE at rush hour (according to Dad). No lights, stop signs, lots of stray animals,  its every man for himself We couldn’t believe the Miles and Miles and Miles of wood carving store fronts.  Carvings of shrines, and furniture mostly.  The day was actually a great day.  Here are the highlighs….and photos we took on our adventure.

RICE TERRACES: Bali is known for its Rice Terrraces.

FUN FACT: The Rice Terraces in Bali are Man Made and are 2000 years old, originally carved into the mountains with hand tools.IMG_1599

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FUN FACT:

Importance of Rice as a Crop in Bali

Rice is considered to be the most important crop for the Balinese and traditionally it has been viewed as a gift from the gods that needs to be honored as such. It is a key ingredient of the local cuisine. The value of this crop to the local population is demonstrated by the fact that the villages surrounding the rice fields will have shrines devoted to it. The cycle of rice planting, irrigation, maintaining, and harvesting sets the tone for much of the traditional island life. The Balinese have created their own system for rice cultivation, and it is one of the most effective ways of managing this crop in the world.IMG_1624I think it is smart that the people carved terraces into a mountain so the water would be able to run down.  it must of taken a long time to make.  when I was on the rice terrace trail, there was very narrow paths.  mom ended up stepping into the mud twice! Her sock and shoe was drenched. This is what the rice  plant looks like when fully grown,,  If you want to see how rice is made, click here , it is a link to a very educational video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dT6gjb48_N0

I thought the rice terraces are cool. If you watch the video you can see how much work is involved, whenever I eat rice I will think about my time at the rice terraces.

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HINDU TEMPLES

My famliy and I saw a lot of  Hindu temples.    In the temple the adults had to where this skirt thing thatimage coverd their knees.  Sawyer and I got to wear this scarf that was tied around out waste.  I thought dad looked hailarous in his skirt.image

IMG_1640   the temple had a lot of stautes.  I have no idea what they mean.  The temple had tables that you are supposed to put an offering down and pray.  You can tell from the picture below that the temple has a lot of golden color.  And some red.

 

IMG_1635  what I found funny ws that a lot of the tourist here were from China and others were Hindu or Muslim   and they got all exsited when they saw Sawyer and I so a lot of people took our picture and posed with us.  They took pictures with us because they do not see much blond hair kids in there country so we kind of stood out.  If I ever go to China I would have to wear a hat or else it would get pretty crazy!

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MONKEY FOREST TEMPLE/  THis is a temple located in a forest that has been taken over by these monkeys. 

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The monkey temple was so awesome.  you get to walk through a path and see wild monkeys.  I don’t just mean a couple of monkeys.  I saw a  whole colony of thousands!!!!! Monkeys are my 3rd favorite animal and they are Sawyers all time favorite.  So we were really looking forward to this. IMG_1692I saw SO many monkeys I seriously cant count them all! I saw monkeys grooming each other, playing, stealing bananas from people, climbing on people, climbing up trees, chasing each other, eating, almost everything a monkey does!  I do not know what kind of monkeys they are but they were small.  about 2 feet.

Out of all the monkeys I think the baby ones are the cutest.  I saw some climbing on there mom.  Baby monkeys are like humans.  very curious and  play full.  Some of the monkey famlies would get together and let the kids have a play date.  It was really cute. IMG_1663in this picture the mom is grooming the monkey and the baby is playing with a red ball he found. IMG_1691 remember how I said the monkeys act somewhat like humans?  Well, this one is using a rock as a tool to rub against the stone and create white marks.  you can click on all the pictures to see it better.

In case you are wondering how close we got to the monkey the answer is about 2 inches from them.  Some actually climed on us!!!! and let me say again that this is NOT a zoo. These monkeys are wild. IMG_1679this is my favorite picture out if all of them.  I was just standing around and before I knew it a baby monkey was tugging on my clothes.  and then he put his hand in my hand.  let me just say, that the monkeys hands are very soft.  I think the monkey was acully studying me like I was examing him.imageIMG_1683

Another thing a baby monkey did to me was pull on my band aid.  It must of saw that the band aid didn’t mach my skin color so it started ripping it off.  I do not have a picture of this because it happened very fast and my parents weren’t ready with the camera. IMG_1658I’m sure everyone knows that monkeys LOVE bananas.  Well they were stealing bananas from people.

If someone had a banana in their hand the monkey would climb on the person and snatch the banana away. this happened to me and sawyer and you can look on sawyers page to see the picture.(when he updates his blog post) image I was surprised to see a bunch of monkeys playing with plastic water bottles.  They really liked them.  In fact a monkey jumped on dad and stole it from his backpack. He did it so easily. Climbed on the back pack, reached for the bottle , then took it an jumped off.  After some struggling with the cap he got it opened, spilled the water and drank from it > Look at this , isn’t it hilarious? We watched him.

imageimage my dad is not an animal person so he was very nevers when the monkey was climbing on him.  I had a great time at the monkey forest.  Monkeys are great animals.  if you look on Sawyers page you can find out his experience at the monkey forest and  how he got bit by a monkey! (don’t worry, it was nothing serious).

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LUWAK COFFEE PLANTAION

My famliy and I visited a coffee plation where this Bali coffee is made.  It was very educational and I learned a lot.

The coffee plantation was OK. First we walked through a forest where this creature called a ‘”civet” lives.  We saw Big Cocoa Beans hanging from trees, pinapple plants (never saw this before, they are cool) . We saw first hand how the beans are collected, dimageried, roasted and crushed up.

We got to taste test a bunch of different drinks.  Dad tasted coffee, mom tasted Tea and Sawyer and I had hot chocolate from the beans that grow right on the plantation.  I tried Tea for the first time and liked it.  The cool thing about the Tea is that it had color to it.  I tried a red tea and Mom tried the yellow, orange, red, brown and some other kinds.  I think the red tea tasted a little like fruit punch without the sugar.  (I personally think fruit punch is better). they also grow tobacco plants here and we saw what goes into a cigarette, we actually got to roll the tobacco into a cigarette (which of course we would never smoke).

                            THE STEPS TO HOW LUWAK BALI COFFEE IS MADE

#1-  first, a cat like animal, called a Civet, eats a cherry fruit  that grows on trees in this forest.      . 

#2-  the animal poops the seeds out and the poop looks like the picture belowimagethat is Sawyer in the backround of this photo.

#3-  people find and collect the poop from the forest floor. They extract the seeds out of it.  the seeds are then washed and dried (the digestive process does something to the seeds)

#4-  after the seeds are washed and dried they peel the outer later off and find a bean. (we got to peel off the outer layers, it was easy)

#5-  they roast the beans in a big frying pan , crush them up, then you add hot water to it.  No sugar or milk is needed.

BOOM!     you got Luwak Bali coffee.  I laughed at dad for drinking animal poop.  but it is not the poop only the seed.  (not all coffee is made like this).

FUN FACT– This is the most expensive coffee in the world.  It can be sold up to more then $25 dollars a cup!  In Europe it is $35 a cup.  Some of this kind of coffee is made in factories.  they keep they animals captive and feed them the cheeries so they can poop it out.  the factory kind of coffee is just as expensive then the real kind, but the real kind is said to taste better because the animals are not “stressed” and it is all natural. Look for the label on the bag if you buy this.

The coffee plantation was interesting. It was all natural and a  nice place to visit.  imageimage

 

We all enjoyed visiting these cool places, but ….To be honest Indonesia was not as good as I thought it would be. So crowded,   even 2 hours outside of the major city, Kuta, it was still crowded and a hassel to get anywhere or walk in peace without being harassed for one minute.  I expected the beaches to be a whole lot better.  Mom says she is “underimpressed” with Bali and especially Kuta .  It is a word we made up for not impressed.   Perhaps years ago when the backpackers discovered this island in the 70’s it was more relaxing but now (according to Mom) it reminds her of Saigon, a complete mess and only getting worse!!! We will never be returning to any of the Islands here. But learning about the Hindu religion, Luwak Coffee and the Rice Terraces in Indonesia was cool.  Don’t let the guidebooks fool you on Indonesia.

I can be reached at rileymeckley@yahoo.com