Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off To Tour Bali We Go!

Ubud Travel Blog

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Elephant Cave
4th August 2008

Most Memorable Moment: Sacred Monkey Forest - Balinese Macaques are awesome!! So playful, energetic and approachable. Definitely not shy for the cameras, but keep food away from them!!

Local Knowledge: Hinduism governs Bali where as Islam governs Java. Drug trade and corruption within government.

10 hours of traveling, site seeing and learning about Bali.

The day started bright and early at 8:30am local time. I had breakfast at the hotel: Bacon, eggs, toast and fresh papaya juice for $12000 (approx $1.50).

1st stop was Batubulan to watch the traditional Barong dance. Was very entertaining and interesting. A story about the battle between good and evil.

Next we traveled through the art and wood carving villages of Mas and Ubud.
Holding a Diamond Python outside of the Elephant Cave
The wood carvings were very very intricate and huge! There were very large statues and sculptures of Gods and Godesses, houses, patterns plus all types of furniture and ornaments.

From Ubud, we traveled to the Sacred Monkey Forest and I was surrounded by hundred of Balinese Macaques!
I loved this trip. The monkeys were so human like in their mannerisms and playfulness. There were older monkeys and baby monkeys that wouldn't stray from their mothers and there were all ages in between.
I also had the opportunity to stop and explore various temples. One being the Goa Gajah - "Elephant Cave" - had opportunity to hold a live diamond python.
Was great to see the Balinese Hindu culture and be part of it.

Travel then took us to the town of Kintamani, where lunch was served with a view of Mount Batur (active volcano which last errupted in 1994) and Lake Batur.
Elephant Cave

Absolutely stunning views but a bit disappointing that it was laiden with hagglers calling out "madam, only 10000, please madam".
Another haggler was so desperate, he tried to sell me a beautiful hand carved wooden chess set for 10000 ($1.20). I would have purchased it but I didn't want to cart it around everywhere.

From Kintamani, we travelled to Lovina, a black sand beach located on the north coast of Bali. I'm staying in a bungalow type room at Hotel Puri Mandhara with amazing views of the ocean and got some awesome photos of the sunset.

During my travels today, I have seen many small villages where the locals live a very basic and simple life.. to a point where it may be considered borderline primitive.
Women washing their clothes by hand, men fishing in the river with a throw out net, dogs roaming the streets, women carrying HUGE baskets of food and other things on their heads.
Sacred Monkey Forest

It has been a real eye opener to see how simple life can be.
I have started to develop a great appreciation for what I have and what I value in my life.
1. Social Networking - good friends and good family relations
2. A decent health care system. I learnt that if you son't have enough money to go to hospital in Indonesia then you are most likely going to die. Expenses can exceed 1 BILLION ruppiah (more than AU$1000) which is well in excess of what the majority of the population will ever be able to afford.
3. Steady education and employment. If you're from a poor family, you have a good chance of not being educated through the school system, and will probably end up haggling to earn enough money to survive.

I have also been talking to the tour guide about politics and religion in Bali, as well as Indonesia as a whole.
He explained that Indonesia has the highest level of corruption in the world and the highest incidence of drug manufacturing and extortion.
"Ganjar" produced in Aceh ends up being distributed within Indonesia and overseas. Marijuana is the biggest drug, followed by an increasing amount of ecstacy being sold on the streets.
The guide is the 4th person that has warned me not to buy any drugs off anyone because chances are the police or soldiers are governing the person selling the drugs and fines are in excess of 7 million rupiah to bribe them otherwise imprisonment.

***

Just has nasi goreng (fried rice) for dinner at the hotel that I am staying at.
I will keep saying this because it is true - you can't get food that tastes like this back home in Sydney!!

Speaking of drug smuggling before, I found out that Schappelle Corby's is incarcerated in a jail that is less than a 10 minute drive from where I am staying at Kuta. Have also heard stories that Schappelle has it very good compared to over people remanded in custody there and is allowed to go out to nightclubs in Seminyak some weekends.
Maybe the Allegation that she was out having kebabs wasn't a lie.

I tried Balinese rice wine tonight.
Like sake but Balinese and not Japanese. lol
They do shooters of it rather than slip it slowly. It's a very warm drink and goes down smoothly, definitely not a burning sensation like shotting vodka, although the liquids look similar.



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Elephant Cave
Elephant Cave
Holding a Diamond Python outside o…
Holding a Diamond Python outside …
Elephant Cave
Elephant Cave
Sacred Monkey Forest
Sacred Monkey Forest
Ubud
photo by: eddie8498