Wednesday, October 20, 2010

9/29 Bali

We were picked up at 9am and dropped off our bags at our villa and then drove 2+ hours into the heart of Bali.

There isn't too much room for comfort when drving in Bali.

If you look closely, you can see the roads are in terrible condition. There are no highways in Bali.
 Our driver was really cool, he told us how there are only four names in Bali, the first kid in the family is always named Wayan, the second is Made, third Nyoman, and fourth Ketut. If there is a fifth child, he or she is named Wayan and it starts over again. Thus, there are tons of Wayans and Mades. They use middle names to differentiate. The village that was are starting point is home to 200 people.

One home in the village we were at, all homes have shrines like this.
Cocks being raised for fighting
After a quick lunch, we rode ATVs down to the river for tubing.
Both our driver's names were Wayan.
Ready to launch
The river we were on originates at a volcano and runs through a canyon where we are. It doesn't flow too fast and at some points is barely wide enough for the tube to squeeze through. The website said we would have to get out at a few points where the water is too fast or there is a waterfall and be able to do a zipline. However, the ziplines were out of order so we just had to walk.

example of waterfall we can't go down on a tube

the "big" one we could go down

Evelyn enjoying herself

Adventure and scenery, definitely got our money's worth
Nice statue at the end. Our guide said they made a mold of his.
There was only one ATV waiting for us at the end and I had to sit at the front. That was a great bonus adventure. The dirt road is extremely steep at some points with tons of potholes.
10 year-olds are allowed to operate scooters, apparently
When we got back to camp, we showered off, had some tea and cake, and proceeded to Ubud. It anyone has read Eat, Pray, Love, this is the city where the author lived. On the way there, we passed a procession for that days festival.
Pagerwasi holiday celebrating the Lord of the Universe- Sanghyang Pramesti Guru
I didn't spend anytime learning their religion, just found a free book that lists all of September's holidays. There are 12 holidays that month and the description for some of them is simply preparing for the next day's holiday. As our driver repeated many times: "Bali has a lot of ceremonies."

Once in Ubud, we went to a palace and saw these girls dancing really well.
Sorry I can't get videos to load, these girls were good.

I can't imagine them going to school very often for how much they must practice this dancing. I realized they were having the girls dance for free that day as a preview, because the women were doing a show later in the evening that wasn't free. Much of the palace was off-limits for that days ceremony, but was still cool and ancient looking.

As I mentioned before, Evelyn did a lot of homework before the trip and knew how to negotiate with the vendors across the street from the palace at the central market. She said that everything can be purchased for 30% or less of the starting price. Evelyn found a purse she really liked with a starting price of 400,000. We negotiated down to 180,000 and I said OK. Evelyn got a little perturbed that we didn't continue to haggle. I should just walk away and let her do it, because all the vendors can speak English, Chinese, Japanese and I don't know what else when it comes to numbers and bargaining language.

However, I didn't learn my lesson. We walked by a guy who said he was selling sandals for 1000. Remember it's 1USD=8900IDR so that's about 10 cents for a pair of sandals. After we picked out three we liked, I tried to hand him 3000 rupiah and he laughed at me saying, "Are you kidding me man? I said one HUNDRED thousand." No he didn't, it's just his sales ploy. Now at this point, I should've just walked away, but for some reason I stuck around and tried to negotiate. We ended up paying 140000 for the 3 pairs, so still only about $5 per. I still thought it was a good deal, but Evelyn was mad that I continued to do business with the guy on principle and she's right. Sorry Evelyn.
Those are two pairs she bought. Only one would make it through the next hour.

All that shopping worked up our appetites and we would do a lot of eating the rest of the day. First stop was down the street for some dirty duck.
Crispy Duck-half a duck steamed in Indonesian spices and deep fried for a crispy finish.

After that, we found a massage place and did another hour massage, but full body this time for 95,000 rupiah.

The massage place provided a driver for us back to our villa, about an hour and a half drive. Not a free driver, but it's better than trying to negotiate with one of the illegal taxis on the street, they had set prices. The guy even waited around while we got a second dinner at Naughty Nuri's.
how much would this cost in the US?
A guy from Brooklyn was backpacking around the world and stopped in Bali and met his wife crossing the street. They started this awesome restaurant with American style ribs cooked with an Indoesian sauce, best I've ever had. The decorations and atmosphere of the place are perfect.
Nuri is the wife's nickname.

read it again... there ya go
Next stop: our villa!!
so comfortable

our private pool
That's the end of our best day yet.

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