Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Keeping Busy in Bali

Aside from lounging poolside and the time we had at the Blue Lagoon, we have managed to experience some of Bali's other attractions.

One of our first excursions had us take in a traditional Balinese dance that dealt with the never-ending struggle between good and evil spirits, and featured a stunning performance by a monkey.

After the show when we were trying to get the a picture with the monkey, we were suddenly swamped by photo requests from other Asian tourists. Our guide later explained to us that these tourists were from Java, and apparently not many tourists like us go to Java. As a result, when these people meet tourists like us, they love to get pictures with them so they can prove to their friends back home that they actually went somewhere.

We also visited the Elephant Cave temple, where aside from melting in the heat and humidity of the moment (ok - it was just me having an implosion), we discovered that for foreigners to enter a temple the wearing of a sarong was required so as to cover up your knees. Also, and perhaps a little more socially awkward, woman are asked if they are currently having their period and if they are they cannot enter the temple.

The day's adventure ended with a drive to see the local volcano and have lunch, which resulted in our first brush with the "rainy season."

The best meal we ate in Bali was one that we all had a hand in when we took a cooking class with a Balinese woman who, along with her husband and members of their extended family, set up a school in their home.  Can't imagine we'll ever be able to replicate the amazing results of this meal at home but we do have the recipes and will eventually give it a try.

Heather and Chloe spent a day in the Balinese countryside on a cycle trip that took them past rice paddies, small villages and chicken farms.  The tour ended at the owner's home with an amazing meal cooked by his wife.

For the last day of 2011 we decided to look for an exciting (and hopefully memorable) Bali activity - a high ropes course about an hour and a half drive from our villa.  With about 15 minutes left in the drive we became aware that the sky overhead was darkening somewhat, but it was only really "misting" when we got to the park. The course looked very exciting (and very high up, not necessarily what those of us with height issues would be good at) and being hardy Vancouverites we figured we could handle some moisture. Unfortunately, as we walked closer to the gate the weather gods decided to let loose and remind us again that this is the rainy season

Huddled under the mini-overhang trying to stay dry
So now plan A was toast. We drove to a water temple as a back-up but no dice. As we headed back and the idea of driving for about 4 hours but not actually doing anything took hold, we came up with one last idea. The Monkey Forrest Temple in Ubud was going to be our last chance.

It was drizzling a bit when we got there but that wasn't going to stop us. We entered the temple grounds and almost immediately said hello to more monkeys than we had ever seen. All of them just strolling around, taking food and eliciting shocked cries from older female visitors who hadn't read the warnings that the monkeys actually will climb on you.  Which once you see how big some of them are (and how big their teeth look) can actually be a bit scary.

Our next adventure, Gili Air!


  1. Katie is jealous of your cooking lessons Chloe. Those monkey's do look a bit frightening. Kenneth Oppel wrote a book called Half Brother. A family adopts a baby Chimp, great read!I'm going to look up Gili Air as I have no idea where it is.

  2. Chloe and Heather just finished reading Silverwing - love it!! Looking forward to a cooking class in Chiangmai, Thailand! We would all recommend Gili Air as a travel destination!!

  3. Just watched the video on your place in Bali. Wow! What a trip of extremes you are having!