31 January 2008
If you're interested, you can scroll down and find 7 posts - 1 for each day in Bali. A lot of you have already seen the pictures, but I've added some captions here and there.
14 January 2008
We flew into Bali pretty late and didn't check into our hotel until about midnight. Then, we woke up bright and early the next morning to go whitewater rafting - through a rainforest - surrounded by waterfalls and amazing wall carvings. We also made 2 new friends - the Russian couple sitting in front of us. They didn't speak any English, but they still managed to make us laugh. He fell into my lap a couple of times, and she fell into Eric's a couple of times. I've never seen a man look so tough with a lifejacket, goofy helmet, cigarette and speedo.
The food in Bali is fantastic! And so cheap! You can buy a meal for less than $5. Just beware of "Bali belly". We also learned that we need to beware of the money changers. They're sneaky. I'd actually read about them before our trip and intended to only use the ATMs, but we thought it might be safe at the airport. It wasn't! Once we got the money sorted, however, it was pretty cool to be millionaires. $100USD is almost $1,000,000Rp.
Funny story about these nails. You may have heard about the Bali street markets where they sell all sorts of knock offs for next to nothing (after a bit of bartering). Well, I was doing a great job of avoiding the sales pitches until I was physically abducted by a small Balinese woman. She grabbed my hand and literally yanked me into her shop as I was pulling against her, saying, "No thanks", "No money" repeatedly. She kept answering with "No problem. Don't worry about it." Then she tied a bracelet on my wrist and proceeded to paint my nails without so much as asking me what color I'd like. In the meantime, she sent her daughter running after Eric . After she finished the first finger, I said, "Wow, that looks nice, but we really don't have any money, and we need to go." To her response yet again, "Don't worry about it." So when she finally finished my nails (and her daughter finished Eric's), we decided we would give them maybe a couple of bucks, $5 max (which is what they charge at the Spas there), but she started insisting on 600,000Rp which is almost $60! I was not happy with that woman. She was entirely dishonest, and I was tempted to walk out and not pay her a dime, but Eric is a kinder person than I am. I think we gave them $10 and walked away. Then, I had to spend another couple of bucks to buy nail polish remover.
The beaches in Bali are cool - lots of surf boards and big waves - but, they're also really dirty. There was tons of trash, in huge piles, all along the beach and even some in the water.
Elephant Safari Park in Taro. I still can't believe we got so close to these awesome animals.
If the story is true, the elephants were rescued from Sumatra where they were being poached by angry farmers.
These were some talented elephants. They played basketball, soccer, harmonica, did math, etc.
We got to feed them bamboo shoots. Lots and lots of bamboo shoots.
It was a fun ride, but I wish we didn't have to use the silly chairs.
After the Elephant Park, we had a little bit of a traumatizing experience. As we were headed back to our hotel, our driver hit a stray dog. Eric and I are still haunted by the memory of the thump and consequent yelping. I'm not sure if the dog made it or not, but we were sick to our stomachs for the rest of the ride home. I wasn't very happy with the driver. All he had to say afterward was, "Poor doggy."
The Barong Dance.
The coolest restaurant ever! overlooking Kintimani Volcano and Lake Batur.
This is my attempt at taking an artistic shot at the Monkey Forest.
This little guy loved Eric.
Monkeys doing what they do.
We're both pretending like we're not interested in each other. I soon learned, however, that this was a fiesty one. I tried to poke him with the banana to get his attention and he nearly attacked me.
I'm really impressed with how this picture unintentionally turned out. The baby is the only monkey in focus (click the photo to enlarge).
Not a lot of thought went into me putting this massive python around my neck.
This fruit bat isn't so sure about Eric.
Tanah Lot Sea Temple. There's fresh water inside the temple that is believed to be holy. Many visitors wash their faces with it in hopes that it will keep them young and healthy.
As soon as the sun went down, as if on cue, a huge swarm of bats flew out from the cave/cliff that we were standing on.
"I'm the king of the world!" (That caption is for Patrick)
After Tanah Lot, we went out to eat at this nice indoor/outdoor restaurant in Kuta. The only negative was the traffic noise - especially the loud crashing sound of the motorcyclist driving head-on into a Taxi cab. Fortunately, no one was hurt, and I'm a little surprised that that was the only accident we witnessed over our week in Bali. Traffic laws are basically non-existant there. We were told that people do get pulled over on occasion, but, rather than get a ticket, you just have to pay the cop off. It's a little shady. The roads are extremely narrow, and there are literally hundreds of motorbikes darting in and out of traffic. I just had to close my eyes in the car for the first couple of days. The roads in Bali are so narrow that we had an incident where we were actually driven off the road and off a steep 2 or 3' ledge (on our way to the airport of course). It was pretty cool to see how many people stopped to try and help us though. Eventually, 3 guys just lifted the whole left side of the car so it was even with the road. I was impressed - not only with their heroic feat, but moreso with their kindness.
I love this shot! As soon as I saw this, I knew it was too good to pass up. I had our driver pull over, and I pushed Eric out the door to steal away this priceless Kodak moment. Eric did me proud. As for the pig, our driver compared him to pizza delivery in America (poor guy).
Here we are at a natural hot spring surrounded by rice terraces. If you look closely, you can see the men in the water below Eric. They kept saying, "America! Bathe with us!"
Pura Ulun Danu - Bedugul Temple on Lake Beratan
Buddhist Temple, right by Bedugul (Hindu), and there's also a mosque nearby.
Eric found a nocturnal friend.
They said this was a mongoose, but I couldn't tell you for sure. All I know is that, whatever he was, he had an accident on Eric, and that made me laugh. Then I laughed some more when Eric told me the story about trying to clean his shirt in the bathroom. Apparently, some places in Bali charge you to use the restroom. As soon as he walked in, there was a bathroom attendant (an enviable job) who politely asked, "Pooh or pee?" The former, of course, is more expensive.
I'm not positive, but I think this is lake Tamblingan and Lake Bunyan (one of which is just outside of the shot, to the right)
Gitgit waterfall & Eric swimming.
Isn't he handsome? And look at those "muscles" (be sure to pronouce the "c" like our driver did)