Bali, Indonesia; February 20-21, 2010
Feb 20, 2010
|Day #1 in Bali! (not Bali Hai! it is beautiful in its own way, though). Our "twin sisters" followed us here (or could have been waiting for us all along-we slept so soundly from the exhausting excursion, yesterday). Again, we got up early for the early morning tour that started at 08:15 and was another bus ride around the island of Bali. This time the anchorage was in an adjacent bay & the tender ride was about 30 min. to get on our awaiting buses (after wading through the swarm of "hustlers & vendors," many of the same faces who had been on Lombok the day before).
After loading the buses,we rode another 30-45 min. up the mountains, passing rice paddies, coconut, mango & banana production (bananas grow like weeds here but the sweet bananas are farmed & harvested) & then to an old Temple that families lived in their respective sections & sold goods behind their "store fronts," where they made the items they sold in the courtyard, raised their families and took care of the temple. It is a very family, communal living arrangement, that keeps the temple & families together. Our mobile "vendors" followed us to this temple on their scooters & were supervised by uniformed "police" offices, that "moved on" the swarm when one of us didn't stop to buy what they were selling or even look. I think the "mobile vendors" were tolerated enough but were redirected elsewhere when it looked like they were cutting into the Temple's business of tourism & selling to tourists inside their walls. Ellie & Debbie stayed on the bus, with only Ellie getting out for a brief while to look at some baskets & other items from the "storefront vendors" at the Temple. They got back on the air conditioned bus quickly when the "mobile hustlers" began to swarm them. I took pictures & didn't stop to barter (in hindsight I should have helped the "temple" storefront vendors-they were the more worthy & respectful business owners).
We stayed only about 30-45 minutes & proceeded to our next venue a public park built by another King that wanted the public to enjoy the grounds & water features of the royal family (their residential area was walled off from the public). The private areas that were adjacent, had gardens & wedding areas for the royal children, including private quarters for the newly wedded couple & the kings "harem," living in the same quarters. It was pleasing to see that this Royal shared his visions of sharing the beautiful gardens, pools, ponds & fountains that were built for the citizens of his kingdom (& his own royal family).
The last stop was to a Oceanside resort that was also a featured stop for a tour that we (& many others) could not get reservations for. We had a quick lunch while a local dance group & accompanying "band" performed for us. After an hour & half our tour was getting ready to leave, so we asked the operator if we could stay & get back to the ship on our own (rent a vehicle/taxi). We wanted to stay longer at the "beach" resort (that had no beach but was on the Ocean & had a great pool), enjoy the pool & rest in the chaises & swinging beds. All the comforts of food, drink, showers, changing rooms & toilets were available, so this was agreeable that we stayed. After about 2 hours the other tour was getting ready to leave & the tour operator asked us if we wanted to ride back in an "extra" mini-SUV. This was a moment of opportunity that we didn't expect, so we took advantage of the offer & returned back to the ship about an hour earlier than we had planned for.
Have to stop for now-getting late!
Photos & journal entry will be posted soon, enjoy the mental images of paradise, tropical breezes (heat & humidity), blue waters and exotic dancers & temples (& you will be close to the actual pictures of Indonesian Islands & lands).
Day #2 in Bali: Early morning meant 08:00 (8 am) so we could be on the docks to hire a driver that spoke English & would take us to several places on the Island & be with us all day. We were able to negotiate a driver & mini-SUV for $30.00 (usually what we wanted would cost $60.00 but because of the drastic decline in tourism, the high numbers of competitors & the world wide reduction of "spendable" cash-including our own-we got a reasonable deal). We wanted to go to the woodcarvers & silversmiths cities & a beach, if possible. Our driver took us by the scenic route & we saw much of Balinese life in the mountains, near the beach & in the countryside. What an enjoyable experience! I know the girls wanted to go to the beach so bad but there was an "itch" that needed to be scratched: shopping! We stopped at one woodcarver store but all we saw in most of the stores was furniture, not items or artifacts & the silversmith city of Celec was stores of finely fashioned earrings, rings and bracelets (nothing of what we wanted).
Off to the "resort area" where our driver said many stores & shopping could be done. We went to an area near the Hyatt beach resort but never saw the beach because Debbie was distracted by stores along the street that had some fabric she wanted to get. It was SO HOT that shopping was done only by the most determined or fanatic shopper. Ellie had spotted a massage/reflexology store that said "one hour reflexology" for $14.00 (turned out that the real price was less than $15.00! for 2 half hour neck & back massages & 1 hour reflexology). This took all our allotted time to be back to the docks by 16:00 (4 pm). The extra 45 min.s gave Ellie & Debbie time to scratch the shopping "itch" by "beating up (or down)" the "mobile" vendors. As they said: "it was more fun than a barrel full of monkeys."
We got back in time to get a cold drink & enjoy the air conditioning before going to the upper deck fantail to have dinner as we sailed away to our next port of call: Semarang, Indonesia, arriving at 18:00 (6 pm) tomorrow. Until then, dream of coconut & banana trees, warm breezes and blue skies & seas, rice paddies, exotic dancers and faraway pacific islands & you will be with us in mind & spirits (and through the "eyes" of photos posted).
"Our World, Our Way, No Regrets!"