Monday, October 14, 2013

Ricefields, a mouth full of Traumeel creme, Bali has it all

I was not drunk, just tired and it was dark  because I could not find the lightswitch, so I grabbed what I thought was the toothpaste... and brushed and brushed, it did taste a bit different, but Iam still alive.

Our first evening in Bali.

Seen during taxi ride
The drive from the airport took 100 minutes, 40km... it was hektic. Traffic XXXXL, organised chaos, we asked the driver millions of questions, his english is good enough to communicate with us. Arriving at the hotel we settled in and the group enjoyed a very delicious Indonesian Rijs Tafel Menue. The next morning I left Dietmar who needed a "slow and relaxed waking up time" and joined a guided and rather fast walking tour thru the neighbourhood and adjoining rice fields. Very interesting. Bali, despite harvesting massive amounts of rice, still needs to import Rice. From planting seedlings to harvest it takes 70 Days and the caring of the plants is done by hand. We looked at different fields and different stages of growth. 

Rice fields

Coconut Tree

Rice Corns

On return to the hotel we enjoyed a relaxed breakfast and then? Then we received our 2 hired scooters for our duration in Bali. 

We love to go out on scooters ...

We had already picked out a destination in the North of Island Bali, packed a map supplied by our Hotel and off we went. One of the scooters had no fuel, soon we found out that small sheds alongside roads sell fuel in 2 l bottles next to vegetable fruit sweets cold drinks and chips. Very convenient and quick. They supply the funnel, you fill up and give back the bottle. $2 and one is back on the road.

Fuel on the left, Dietmar's scooter on the right

We drove along rice fields, bamboo plantations and thousands of workshops of different artists.
The woodcarvers, furniture builders, weavers, fine art, the Brick maker and anything one can think of, was here. Kilometres long, one next to the other... and we are wondering who they sell to? We reckon overseas buyers come in and fill a whole container to re-sell. One of those sales will carry them for a long time.

One street seller showed us a beautiful carved wooden box containing other carved objects wanted $1 from us, we would have given him much more than that... unfortunately we have no space to buy any of the wonderful items offered. People are earning very little money and are very happy and grateful to have a job or work never mind how little they earn. Service to the Tourist industry is a very large part of the Bali economy. Any spa or beauty treatment in all variations are on offer anywhere and are very reasonable and very good. 

To come back to our scooter tour. The traffic got better once we drove further out of town, we drove very careful avoiding potholes and dogs crossing roads. We passed large palm trees full with coconuts, vegetable fields, banana plants, (the small and sweet 'Lady Finger' ones we have in Cape Town). By the way, those plants grow Bananas once, the trunk has to be cut off, but gives another shoot at the root.

Than we were stopped by police. First I thought they stop us because we wore no Helmet, but no, that did not matter. The wanted money: we were about to enter an area frequented by tourists because of spectacular temples, palaces and view towards a Lake. $2 for both of us.

Pics of temple and 

Before entering the temple we paid our entrance fee and in turn were wrapped in a piece of material to form a long skirt and a long shawl to tie around the skirt to form a belt. Only then were we allowed to enter, and that applied to everyone.

Note: required green skirt
Unbeknown to us a Life Cock Fight took place in one of the temples. A large group, men only, gathered in a circle and big excitement, shouting and betting was going on. Then we saw, Dietmar tried to take pictures and I took a picture at The End.

The crowd has gathered and bets have been laid

The fight in full action 

The End

The temple next door was much more peaceful and we witnessed a wedding ceremony and were even allowed to take pictures. We like the Indonesian way of incorporating and accommodating tourists into their daily life. They are very tolerant, let us participate / watch / photograph / listen to their every-day life activities yet they ask us to wear wrap around skirts when it is appropriate and that is fine and fair enough.

On the main street

Some detail

Interesting views from every angle

Typical Offering

Gathering Area

It took us 3 hours to drive back to our hotel, on a different route and at the end we got into a traffic jam with hundreds of other scooters. By that time we were used to the weaving and the in and out and the slow pushing forward. We managed very well. At night we got together with a some more members of our group and had yet another Indonesian supper.

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