BALI = WOW!
It’s another beautiful day in Paradise.
Why is it that we often desire what we don’t have? Many of the locals (both sexes) cover themselves while in the sun from head to toe because they don’t want their skin to turn darker than it is – in fact they want to lighten it – and then the tourists work on turning their white skin as brown as the locals….
My sister FaceTime’d me this morning – she must be missing me! Was great to have a chat with her and to see my nephew Schyler’s new haircut – he’s rockin’! How times have changed. Sixteen years ago I learned by fax while I was traveling with a group on a cruise ship that Schyler was born. Now we just have to hit a button on a computer to communicate with someone anywhere in the world plus we can even see them in real time on the computer screen.
Most of my gang is up and enjoying breakfast early this morning as we are on a full day tour today.
I always look forward to tasting the seedless, “yellow” watermelon which is on the breakfast buffet but the fruit platter that is available at lunch and dinner is the best – so many varieties that don’t see at home.
Yesterday I traveled to Seminyak which many consider a shoppers haven. I just barely touched on all the shopping opportunities that are available there. I liked it because its full of local boutiques – none of the chain stores that we have back home. I quickly learned where you can barter and where you don’t. The locals are so polite – they often say, “I Can Offer You A Better Price” and if you still don’t agree to their offer their next phrase is often, “If You Wish I Can Give You An Even Better Price”.
On the way back to Nusa Dua, I asked my driver to stop at a trendy restaurant that is very popular. I was able to get some inside pictures and of course buy the chefs new cookbook to add to my collection. Even though I was tempted to dine there, the cuisine is so delicious at our resort there is no need to eat elsewhere.
He also drove me through the community of Legian – great area for the younger crowd who want to party and the village of Kuta which is similar. Nusa Dua where we are staying is perfect for my groups as its the most upscale area in Bali and the atmosphere is ideal for a relaxing getaway.
Last night I tried the resorts Lotus Restaurant which features a nightly Balinese dance performance. This restaurant is pretty high tech – with an iPad menu so you can see pictures of the food and read descriptions before ordering. My meal was delicious. The dancers were beautifully dressed and their movements were in perfect sync. The 8 piece bands music was, “unique” – certainly not we are use to hearing – I don’t think I’d buy a CD but I appreciate their talent.
There are 5 major islands in Indonesia but in the grand scheme there are over 13000 islands. Bali is bigger than Singapore – same population around 3 million – there are over 3000 villages on this island. In Bali there are also 20,000 temples – so its often referred to as the Island of Gods.
Government wise there is a President, Prime Minister, Governor and Royal Family.
Tourism and rice are the major industries here.
Traffic jams are a major problem – I don’t suggest you rent a car if visiting.
The islands Hindu religion originated from India since the 4th Century. The Dutch settled here due to the spices and controlled the island for 350 years.
In Bali there are more shrines than in India. Here the populations prays to both Good and Bad Spirits as this is equality. Most worship and pray 3 times a day 6am – 12pm – 6pm – they meditate and remember the Gods. Hindu’s believe in 3 Gods – that is why there are 3 temples in every village representing each God – colours are important – Black, White, Red.
Ceremonies are a way of life in Bali. The first ceremony is when a women is 3 months pregnant, 3 months after birth is the next ceremony – a new born will not touch the ground for 3 months and is considered an angel – announce name of baby at 3 months – family members each write a name on a piece of paper – baby determines its name by grabbing one of those pieces of paper. After 3 months a baby is then allowed to touch the ground. At 6 months another celebration for the 6 month birthday – birthdays are celebrated every six months until the age of 16 and then celebrated once a year.
A bride and groom tooth filing ceremony takes place 6 months before a wedding by the monks as its felt that this turns you into real human being and protects your soul to go to heaven. The teeth are filed until you can determine the taste of tamarind, sugar and salt.
A Wedding is the nicest ceremony – friends bring gifts. There are 3 ways to find a mate – arranged marriage (not as common now) – parent lets children decide – or kidnapping (practiced years ago by the wealthy).
The final and largest ceremony is cremation. This is the most expensive ceremony – lasts up to 14 days – shows the wealth of the person that passed – that persons money to spent to feed the guests for 14 days. Mass cremation is practiced by the poor 5 years after the death – ashes are then taken to the beach or river.
Ceremonies are held for both humans and the environment – the locals are grateful for the environment – for example they believe that a tree also has a spirit – when their is a ceremony for an animal they will be feed more that day to celebrate. Even a stone has a soul so often they will put an umbrella over a carved stone to protect it from the sun or dress it (clothing will be changed every 6 months during a ceremony).
They believe in the following interactions –
Human and God
Human and Human
Human and Environment
They follow a good thinking – good speaking – and good doing philosophy. They also believe in Black and White.
They really don’t need a weatherman because they know already weather details such as, 2 days before and 2 days after a full moon there will be heavy rains but they celebrate this because rain is important to make the crops grow.
During our all day tour we were amazed by the workmanship we saw at businesses specializing in silver jewelry production, coffee/tea, batik fabric, and woodworking. The craftspeople are some of the finest in the World. Their talent is remarkable – and has been passed down from generation to generation. One of my passengers thought these operations were like sweat shops – I disagree these are just very hard working people.
Our luncheon was at a stunning location – next to rice fields. The food was delicious – we had a choice of 3 soups, for the entree crispy duck or BBQ chicken and for dessert 3 choices (fruit, crepe, fried bananas). The bbq chicken had been cooked on hardwood – full of flavour and so tender.
The family that operates the restaurant also owns the family woodworking shop. I’m not typically interested in woodworking but I could have watched them work for hours – just fascinating seeing them create such masterpieces.
As a “Bradley Surprise” we visited the Nusa Dua Theatre and attended the “Devdan” Production which features the music and dance of Indonesia. This is a major attraction in Bali. A World Class production. The sales manager was so excited that I booked a group for the first time that she personally transferred us to and from the theatre in her vehicle.
After the performance I dined in the beautiful Japanese restaurant at the Melia Resort where we are staying. Once again another excellent meal.
I must close for now – there are 3 of us attending a cooking class this morning at a famous boutique hotel. Their famous chef is hosting us. We are looking forward to it!
The sun is out and its another picture perfect day in Bali.