Sunday, August 25, 2013

I'm going, going - back, back - to Bali, Bali..

Every August, Indonesia has about two weeks off in celebration of Ramadan, a Muslim holiday. The whole country basically goes on vacation! I love it. I will definitely miss it next year when I am back home but the summer break in June and July will make up for it.

I decided to travel with my friend Julia since we had a lot of fun last time we were in Bogor. She's so free-spirited and adventurous. Those are the kinds of people you definitely want to vacation with. And she isn't clingy! So it was nice to be able to go off and do my own thing.

We left on a Wednesday afternoon. The airport itself was quite interesting. We were relaxing at the Starbucks until we could check-in when this scene right out of Maury or Jerry Springer erupted! It made me miss my trashy reality TV shows back in the States. This couple had the whole airport staring as the girl stood up and started shouting at her significant other. I'm not sure if it was her husband or boyfriend but he obviously was in trouble. Maybe he cheated on her. I don't know. It had to do with his phone -- that much was evident. The angrier she got, the louder she would like bark at him. Literally. And then he'd have her sit down out of embarrassment and then a few moments later, she'd go off on him again. It got so out of control, that she tried to hit him and picked up the table which ended up knocking her coffee all over the place. Then she stormed off! Security did nothing. I'm not sure if it's cultural or not but people don't intervene when trouble arises. Which is a bit scary to be honest...

Eventually, we were on our way to Bali. The plane ride itself was horrific! I don't know what was up with the cabin pressure but my ear drums felt like they were going to burst. I was in so much pain but I think part of that was due to my sinus infection. I travel all the time and even the international flights don't hurt my ears like that particular flight did. It took a couple hours before my hearing was back to normal.

Jakarta is near the top of Java

We landed in Bali and stayed the night at a hostel called Dana Guesthouse.

The perfect getaway

Our little room was it's own little brick building with a closet for a bathroom (that's okay though). The water wasn't hot so I was pretty bummed about that but the owner's dog was protective and slept in front of our door all night. The breakfast was yummy too. Best egg sandwich ever!

Although Dana Guesthouse was completely out of the way but they did have free motorbikes and an amazing resort within walking distance. We had a late dinner and relaxed by their pond. I had the BEST tomato soup, ever! My favorite thing though in Indonesia is the hot tea. It is as organic as it gets. The tea leaves are placed in a hot tea kettle (usually made of glass) with a metal strainer you press down on. Then, you just pour yourself a fresh cup of tea. I had peppermint tea to help open up my nasal passages. It was wonderful and soothing! A great way to end a painful flight.

Our security for the night

Because most of Bali is Hindu, there are lots of religious type sculptures for worship in the area. Dana Guesthouse had some beautiful pieces that I just had to snap some photos of (with permission of course). You will notice in the pictures to follow that there is a little set of what appears to be bamboo, flowers, and incense.

The Hindu god Shiva

The offering is lit every morning and night for the gods. It brings peace and security. You will see these all over Bali, including temples, restaurants and even the front gates of homes.

Look closely and you can see the incense or offering

The offering

I must say it is amazing Indonesia has such vastly different religions on islands just hours away from each other. The island of Bali is mainly Hindu whereas Java (where Jakarta is located) is mostly Muslim. And yet it seems that everyone gets along so peacefully. In Indonesia, all religious holidays are celebrated. That includes Christian, Islamic, and Hindu holidays. Chinese New Year is also celebrated and you can find Buddha statues all over. That's how it should be. Everyone seems to get along just fine! I really respect that about Indonesia. I think the worker at Dana Guesthouse was impressed that I recognized Shiva. I thank my friend Pratiksha for that! We met in high school and because her family is Hindu, she explained her beliefs. Here is a throwback picture of us at an Indian celebration back in the day. I borrowed her clothing. People thought I was Indian!

Oh to be 115 pounds again...

I also saw this pretty spectacular tree in front of our little homestay. I instantly thought of you, Kelli! How WEIRD is this tree? Its roots were growing out of the ground.

Does anyone know what kind of tree this is?
I have a tea obsession
The next morning, we were off to Padangbai (Puh-dong-bye) to catch the ferry to Lombok. They have fast boats available too but the ferry is only $4.00 versus a $60 one way trip on the fast boat. Although the ferry ride is a bit slower (maybe 3 hours), it was relaxing because we were on the top of the ferry so I got to recline and work on my tan (or sunburn, rather). You always meet interesting people on your travels here! It was so funny to look around and see the Indonesians covering themselves with sarongs (a colorful, long but light-weight cloth with a variety of uses) or newspaper to avoid the darkening of their skin.

Whereas the "bules" or Europeans/Americans were working on their tans and were soaking up the sun as much as possible. I should have put on sunscreen though. Tanning on the equator is completely different from tanning in the West.
Say no to skin cancer
I must say the most memorable part of this trip was walking around the bay area until it was time to load the ferry. I was pulling my heavy suitcase up this insanely steep hill (my work out for the day) with Julia's duffel bag on top. We were in search of a little snack to hold us over on the ferry ride. On our little food search, we came across a dead cat on the side of the road. This is another cultural difference in Indonesia compared to back home. Road kill is rather common and is very rarely moved off to the side of the road unless someone decides to be a good Samaritan and move it. I had to do a double-take though because this was like a FREAK ACCIDENT. Not only was the cat dead, but it was covered in blood and one of it's eyeballs (I kid you not) was hanging out of its socket. I thought that was something that only happened in cartoons! I felt the blood rush from my face. I'm not sure if that was worse than seeing the cow being freshly slaughtered in the Thousand Islands or not but it was pretty close. Needless to say, I lost my appetite. If my P5 Joy students from last year are reading this, I'm sure you guys would have enjoyed it. I can just hear the girls screaming out of disgust and the boys saying, "AWESOME! I want a picture with it!"

On our way to catch the ferry, we saw some roosters caged up. :( Sometimes, I secretly imagine myself removing the cage and screaming, "Roosters. Be free!" I have never seen so many roosters until I moved to Indonesia! Unfortunately, they were for sale and probably not as pets..

Foghorn Leghorn

Part two coming up soon. Hope you enjoyed the post!

xoxo amber

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