A Multimedia trail
I have had a bit of time this evening to piddle with Picassa and vacillate with Vimeo. So today's theme will be a multimedia attack on your senses. Well not quite, but I hope to give you more of a sense of what we are experiencing in Bali with some of my pics so far and a couple of videos in which the sound is more important than the picture – good job really given my shaky hand. I hope they work, the connection here is too slow for me to see them on line clearly.
First off I will pick up form the last two days. I told you the Balinese dance was mesmeric, well I hope I have managed to capture a bit of this in the video (my first blog video ever so be nice) Here is the link - http://www.vimeo.com/8220190
During writing about my near death experience with the lizards and monkeys yesterday
I mentioned how beautiful it was writing on the patio with this wild orchestra playing around me. Well I tried to capture a bit for you this morning. So its the sound here that I am trying to convey, and not the beautiful videography of the garden.. – http://www.vimeo.com/8235191
I told you briefly what we got up to yesterday that did not include animals. I thought I would add a bit of colour to that today with some images and a few further observations.
The Temples -
the first was the Royal Family Temple in Mengwi, and was spectacular, all the temple buildings were sculpted beatifully and all set in a grounds that would put Hampton Court to shame.
One of the nice things about yesterday however was the journey between sites. With the driver speaking good English he was able ot explain a lot about the villages and places we were passing through. I learned a great deal about the Hindu religion and how Balinese society works within its teachings. We did around 150 kilometers in total for the round trip so we got to see a lot of Balinese life albeit as a fleeting glimpse out of the window of the car. However, todays journey allowed us to savour this more closeley and at a much slower pace. More of that later.
We arrived at Tanah Lot
at around 5 - about an hour and half away from the sunset. This gave John and I sample time to 'negotiate' with the other 1000 or so tourists to try and get that - there is only me here photograph
without any of them in the background. Quite a struggle but with a quick jostle of the odd Chinese or Japanese tourist (we picked on them cos they are smaller) we managed it.
I shall spare you our stupid grin shots, but leave with one I took at sunset (I said it was a bit cloudy, so the shot is the best I could do). It was also a good day to be there to see the Balinese making offerings to the sea at the temple, as a full moon is an important day in the Hindu calender. An offering to the sea on this date is meant to help rid you of bad spirits. John and I decided there was not enough offerings available to us help us out at our time of life. So we had beer and watched the sun set instead!
Roundabouts again - I also managed yesterday to snap another of my roundabout thingies. Not one of the finest or largest, but still impressed me.
The Bike Ride with Happy Tours of Bali
We were picked up at the hotel this morning at the ungodly hour of 8am ready for our Bali bike tour. We got into the the van and then our guide for the day, Wayum, gave us his opening spiel and then said we were off to pick up the other two joining the tour with us today. Our hearts sank, could it be Americam Mom and Pop with Malcolm in the child seat on the back of the bike? Would it be Mr and Mrs Glum van Gloomier from the shuttle bus the other night . Thankfully it was neither of these. We collected two Kiwis (Abbey and Jack) who were just lovely company all day.
So we set off towards Mount Batu and Lake and stopped first at a coffee plantation where we were shown round and looked at the nice plants and got to taste the different coffees and teas the Balinese drink These consisted of - Balinese Coffee with added Ginseng, Hot chocolate made from Balinese cocoa; then we tried both Ginger and Lemongrass teas. We were also treated to a taste of the most expensive coffees in the world which is manufacted by dint of the intestines of a small possum like creature who is a fussy little bugger and only eats the finests tasting coffee beans. When his digestive system is finished with them (I dont have to spell it out do I!) they are processed into this delicacy with coffee officianados. If you dont believe me read for yourself
Then we went round picking local fruit off the trees and trying it. My favourites were the slime which is around cocao beans before they are processed and dried (slimy sweet but with a vanillary taste) and a fruit called the snake skin fruit. The picture tells why it got such a name, this tastes like pineapple with garlic, strange but moorish.
It was this point the guide told us that the route was mostly downhill. So we set off for the first 10 kilometeres and true enough this was under the influence of gravity. Then we started to meet with little inclines and a few bigger uphill bits which felt like Mount Everest pedalling in this heat. But we all made it through to the end (26km) without heat exhaustion or any fallings off. The route was all through the remote villages and paddy fields. So we got to see it all up real close and personal. We saw village life with the fantastic guide stopping and explaining how things work and sometimes how they dont. The education system, rice growing and cultivating, sanitation, village festivals and anything else we cared to ask about . I cant really explain how wonderful this trip was.
It was well organised and informative and had great food and tastse treats at either end. After the cycling is finished they then take you to a traditional Balinese home (that of the owner of the company) and his wife cooks some of the most amazing food I have had on this trip and the chat and questions about Bali (and in our case New Zealand too ) continued. We were then deposited back at the Hotel at about five very sore, tired and achy but feeling we have seen and touched a lot more of the real Bali in this single day than on the previous six days. Truly magical. My Highlights were :-
- The cow jam - we met some cows being moved and as they are a sacred animal in Bali the cows come first so we had to wait for them to plod on
- The views of Lake Batu and the volcano that overlooks it
- Getting greetings from the local kids as we passed though the village, and in some cases high fives too
- Seeing rice laid out in front of houses drying and smelling it as you cycle past
- Seeing the local village temples and beginning to understand the relevance and importance they have to village life
- Getting lucky and seeing a traditional wededing in action and being allowed to photograph it.
- The ducks in the paddy field (they keep the bugs and parasites down and their poo fertilises the fields) - they have duck herders who move them about the fields - very funny to watch ducks being herded
- The great meal and conversation at the end of the day