A trip to nostalgia now and then is good for the spirit

Each bright, new day… complete with 24 hours of opportunities, choices, and attitudes… a perfectly matched set of 1440 minutes is a unique gift that cannot be exchanged, replaced or refunded. Handle them with care & Make the most of it. There is only one per customer…

Surviving the basics when arriving to Bali can be quite a task. I quickly rushed to the luggage claim to dodge the “baggage helpers” that I was warned about…. They pull your luggage off of the belt and set it in a pile on the floor to claim as their own until you pay them to help you carry it to wherever you need to go. I casually walked past a dozen of then them to grab a cart, rolled over to my bag that was laying by the feet of an Indonesian man. His body odor was so intense I nearly fainted as I reached down to retrieve my belongings from his captivity. He grabbed the left strap on my backpack and gave me the “where do you think you’re going? look” and I returned it with my “hands off buddy, I got this and if you don’t let go I might have to ninja chop you look”. He released my bag and we moved on to customs to pick up my Indonesian visa. Next step was getting a taxi. Making a sharp right when exiting the airport, down a pathway that winds and turns, dodging in and out of all of the so-called “professional” taxi drivers that charge you an arm and a leg to drive you short distances…I finally arrived at the top  secret taxi location that the locals use.  One cheeky driver followed us all the way down the path repeating “Taxi? Yes!, Taxi? Yes!” He finally left once we booked the ride to the next destination with an official taxi service.

I haven’t stayed at any hotels during my trip so far but my  friend Ryza, from Darwin, was kind enough to let me surf with he and his gang for the first night. Arriving at Kuta Lagoon was a very nice surprise.  Such a quaint, hidden treasure that is hidden away in the middle of Kuta. The Journey began at a mysterious narrow entrance that lead me away from the bustling streets filled with chatty vendors and buzzing motorbikes, to a small Oasis of Tropical tranquility.

There were many interesting encounters throughout the streets of Bali and many sights that you probably won’t see in most parts of the world. For example: The “Absolut petrol” for all the mopeds is sold everywhere. I don’t believe its a very safe method for storing petrol, but at least they’re recycling their bottles…many interesting souvenirs, children asking you if you’d like viagra, mushrooms or handmade bracelets, and prostitutes saying they’re going to rock your world all night long.

The next morning my friend Michael from back home and his gang drove to Kuta to pick me up and we set off to Ubud, an important cultural centre nestled among the rice paddies, full of temples, arts, culture and tradition. With a million art and woodwork galleries, souvenir shops, handicraft stalls, cafes and restaurants. We were dropped off in town for a few hours to explore around a bit. We sat down at a tiny restaurant to enjoy a massive coconut and figure out a route to take. NhuThy had been staying in Ubud for the past week and had gained a lot of useful knowledge about any and everything, it’s kind of like we had our own personal tour guide, and she is so full of life and always has an extra large smile on her face so that made it all the better.

We set out towards the Sacred Monkey Forest and passed many cheeky monkeys that were grooming themselves and stealing food from tourists. Of course I had to get as close as possible to video them and got a bit close to one of the babies and was quickly surrounded by five larger, protective, hissing monkeys. Needless to say I jetted out of there rather quickly.

We passed several temples and saw countless Balinese offerings placed in front of every shop and home. The offerings are filled with rice and flowers and anything else they feel is worthy to be presented. These are small offering baskets called ‘canang sari ‘ that Balinese offer to their Gods three times a day. It is basically a ritual of giving back what has been given to you by the Gods. It is a sharing that is not based upon fear, but on gratitude to the richness of life. Offering appeases the spirits and brings prosperity and good health to the family. It is a duty and an honour at the same time, and in Balinese perspective a very natural and almost logical thing to maintain a good relationship between people and spirits.

With time running short we headed back to the market to be picked back up by the driver…as most of you know I have a sweet tooth and gelato is my weakness and even if the clock is ticking, it’s no excuse not to stop for absolute amazingness (yes I made that word up).

The driver took us the Elephant Safari Park. We were all a bit hesitant paying $795,997.03 Rupiah = $86USD, but once we were inside and got up close and personal with these incredible animals in a beautiful tropical park setting any animosity we had quickly faded.  The Elephants immerse themselves in the park lake, in between riding, painting, soccer playing and other activities they’ve been taught to do.  After riding around throughout the park on the elephants we were brought back to the front to hand feed them heart of balm, touch them, take photos with them, then learn more about the elephants ancestry and diversity. I’ve ridden elephants before in Thailand, but this experience was much more meaningful being able to spend time with these beautiful creatures.

On the way back to the villa we passed a small ceremony, I’m not exactly sure what the purpose behind it was but I had been hoping to come across one some time throughout the journey. Everyone was dressed in intricate clothing, and carrying on throughout the streets. It was nice to see some traditions being carried on into the present day.

Casa Viva was incredible!  It’s a stunning Eco-Tropical villa nestled in the Royal Balinese hunting grounds overlooking the Indian Ocean. Mike and Patrice (friends of Michael) recently married and had rented this amazing place for the week. They were too generous and let me crash with them for a few days. While sitting around in to main lounge area, we came up with a new game to entertain ourselves…  We weren’t really sure where we were going with it, Gary kept telling each person to be creative and add their own touch to it. It started with a few beer cans on the floor, a pile of fruit, Gary added a few pringles, Dondy added a flip flop, and I tossed a lychee over the flip flip towards the cans…ta da! Bali Ball was invented!! It was another great day to add to the books. More wonderful people in a new, unforgettable place 🙂

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tuan
    May 24, 2012 @ 17:38:35

    Bali is a amazing place. We had a good time there too. Can’t be in Bali without a picture of you in a sarong. Enjoy!



  2. Kristi
    Jun 05, 2012 @ 20:01:44

    My mom just came back from Indonesia. They did go to Limbae (spelling souns like limbay) and ubud. Sounds and looks beautiful.

    I saw this video and thought of you.


  3. Amin
    May 24, 2015 @ 12:20:05

    Ya .. Bali is wonderful … also if you want a similar Holiday visit Sri Lanka Too it was amazing…ther is so much fun . http://www.holidayplannelanka.com


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