a trip to the other side of the world, bali style
It's actually kind of hard to believe that we have been home for a month already from our wonderful trip to Bali. Time just flies when you're having too much fun I tell ya.
Back in May Trevor and I embarked on our longest trip to date and made the 3 plane ride hop to Indonesia. We are pretty seasoned flyers but nothing but patience and lots of water can really help you through those monster flights. 35 hours later and losing days here and there with the time change we arrived to the wonderful hot and tropical climate of Bali.
Now I know most everyone uses Eat, Pray, Love as the reference for what it is like in Bali and not discounting the movie a lot of it is like that. However, it is also very busy, very hot, not super quiet and serene but in a wow this is really kind of amazing way.
We landed at Denpasar airport and travelled about an hour and a half to Ubud although our driver kept saying 20 min. Time is not really the same in other parts of the world as we know it here.
Neither is traffic. The sheer amount of people mostly on scooters is mind boggling. Thank goodness we didn't have to drive when we got there. The thing that fascinated us was the volume and aggression in driving without the tempers to go with it. People are swerving around each other honking and all the while looking as if they are sitting in a cafe drinking a latte. No one is upset, road rage just doesn't seem to be a thing. It was refreshing, people not sweating the small stuff that they cannot change and just going about their business.
And we hadn't even gotten to our hotel yet.
We stayed at a small hotel right in the middle of central Ubud called the Grand Sunti. It was small, quaint, had 3 pools (no complaints there) and gave us everything we needed including a perfect location to walk just about everywhere including to the monkey forest.
The monkey forest is really a giant forest sanctuary where the monkeys live and you pay to go visit them. They are free range and quite often come out of the forest to sit on the road, use the water fountains, and/ or swipe things out of vendors shops.
We followed the rules as we really didn't want any incidents while going there. No food, no noise makers, my brother brought a plastic water bottle which he quickly got rid after a monkey tried to pull his shorts off. Once the crinkling of the plastic was gone so was the nuisance of the monkeys and we could just walk around and admire them all.
While walking around this place, certain areas are busier than others and some are just almost magically quiet. Certain areas seemed to be where people just herded and acted lets just be blunt and say stupid. A young woman had food in her hand and let a monkey climb onto her and then for her efforts of not sharing and following directions got bitten. She seemed perfectly fine with that however, I'm not so sure that being bitten by a wild animal is such a great idea in a foreign country. She didn't seem to mind though. Trevor followed me around like my mother goose and was on full alert the whole time we were there after he saw that. He even carried my purse so there was no reason for a monkey to come near me. I was free to fill up my camera with cute monkey photos and wander away from the crowds.
In these countries where heat and humidity blend so seamlessly it always fascinates me the colour and amount of moss that is just everywhere. These monkey statues were just gorgeous with their green coat.
Throughout our trip we visited a few temples seen in the photos below, ate at some amazing restaurants, did a VERY long bike ride through the rice paddies and towns (40km through winding streets and mountains in 40+ heat) and walked through some amazing areas and markets. Seriously though the food in Ubud was excellent. Most restaurants had just phenomenal selection, great atmospheres and were dirt cheap. I think as a North American and Canadian getting used to how cheap Asia is was one of the hardest things.
When water is 80% less than we pay at home and most full meals including drinks come in at 30.00 vs 100.00 at home, you find yourself double checking your math quite a bit and just wondering about how life can be so different in other parts of the world.
the photo above and below were taken at a temple from the 11th century. all legs must be covered and that means the guys needed to wear a sarong as well as these are holy areas. we went early in the morning so really had the temple all to ourselves and our guide was excellent. once walking down the stairs into the temple you couldn't hear anything but the waterfalls and birds. it was amazing. the carvings that would have been done by hand. the roof made from palm that men work and prepare by hand.
these people are like super heroes compared to the work we complain about at home.
a rice paddy at a luwak coffee stop.
a holy temple where you can follow the fountains and do the blessing. the little yellow trays lining the top are the offerings filled with anything from crackers to little chocolate bars as a peace offering to the gods and incense.
this temple was extremely busy and for me kind of took the serenity of it away a little bit but watching people and their emotions as they receive their blessings is something else.
and just in case you were not aware of the rules, there are signs posted at the front of all temples and they take these rules quite seriously.
I didn't take a lot of photos while walking around town as we were really focusing on enjoying the sights and not falling in the random holes in the sidewalk.
We can't wait to go back although would do a few things differently next time. This kind of travel is best not done when you are already exhausted from a self inflicted silly work schedule as the jet lag will just about murder you. We would go no less than 2 weeks so that we can acclimatize a bit better to the time change. Trevor and I are really "whatever" type travellers and that makes us hard to travel with sometimes as we aren't great with plans and just go by the seat of our pants without planning our days. In place like this, planning is probably easier and ensures you won't miss anything you wanted to see, so a longer period of time would allow us to do that and still be wanderers. I would like to visit other towns and not just stay in one place next time. My brother and girlfriend were able to stay on a bit longer than us and visited 2 other areas including what appeared to be a gorgeous beach town. I think I would put town hopping on my list next time as it is just so easy to do there. There is NO shortage of friendly taxi drivers just waiting to give you a life somewhere.
All in all Bali was not what I expected but in many ways probably better. Flying time sucks but once you get passed that slight nuisance there is nothing but great times ahead.
and plants, so many plants including stag horns and birds nest ferns growing on trees naturally, everywhere.
Have a great day everyone,