Bali: Sightseeing

We stayed at the Pertiwi Resort in Ubud for $62 USD/night, double occupancy, including the 21% goverment tax and service charge. The accomodations were fair, and we were comfortable enough once we turned on the air conditioner and everything inside the room dried out. Most of our first day was spent roaming around various temples built about 1000 years ago. It was interesting: at some of the temples, Dave and I were literally the only ones there. The decline of tourism in Bali is very, very noticeable.

One of the highlights of our temple time in Bali was a religious procession at one of the temples. The music accompanying the walking group was really neat: interfering, near-unison, percussive gonging (alternating up and down in an interval very close to a tri-tone) with layered, high-pitched percussive patterns. The men walked to the temple area first, followed by women and children, who were carrying all sorts of offerings to be presented to the water priests (who previously had been sitting alone, smoking cigarettes).

If you do elect to take a driving tour of Bali, skip the "volcano" view in the mountains. It's definitely not an impressive site, and we were presumably taken there to be ripped off by a bad restaurant with a volcano view. And no, I don't want a Bintang t-shirt, a cheap sarong, or wooden chopsticks. I did enjoy seeing the terraced rice field views. With more time, I probably would have tried to take some sort of hike along the rice fields.

After spending a couple days in Ubud, we relocated to Sanur, where we stayed at the Parigata Resort for $50/night, double occupancy. I met up with Robert Delfs (a fellow Wetpixelian) and his wife, who were both formerly journalists in Asia. They took me out to a nice local restaurant, and we spent the evening chatting about underwater photography and current events. I love the spicy chili sauce in Indonesian food. It is *very* strong. :)

Don't buy cheap sarongs. They will bleed paint onto your shorts and legs.

Bali: Cool Fruit

There is a lot of fantastic, exotic fruit in Bali. During our wonderful (yet extremely over-priced) car tour of the area around Ubud, we stopped at a spice/fruit farm. And while it was questionable whether any of the spices sold at the farm were actually grown there, we had a great time trying out fresh Balinese coffee, hot chocolate, and an extremely strong ginger-lemon tea. We also tasted all sorts of great fruit: pomelo, snake skin fruit, mangostino, rambutan, cocoa, and more. I had no idea that cocoa would be so slimy inside. :) My favorite fruit is now rambutan, which tastes and looks (on the inside, anyway) like lychee. My absolute least favorite fruit is durian. YUCK! Crispin just wrote to tell me that durian is actually "wonderfully tasting." Well, in theory, durian tastes good -- if you can get over the smell. For me, they are too closely linked. Who wants to eat something so... fecal smelling?

The locals have an ingenious way of "peeling" fruit; the guy at the spice farm had really long thumbnails and pinkey nails. He would just stick his huge thumbnail into a fruit and rip the thing in half. Very... efficient. Of course, during my travels in Asia, I have seen the huge long nail used for other purposes, so I'll just assume that he had just washed carefully using soap and water.