On our first day here we landed in the late afternoon, after flying our fabulous Hello Kitty airplane. We met up with our driver and headed off to our villa.
1. Driving “lanes” are just a suggestion. They are the outlines of where cars could fit, but no real Balinese driver with any sort of schedule would stick to them.
2. In America, honking is a form of communication to inform the other driver that they are an idiot. In Bali, honking means, I am about to pass you or thank you.
3. There is a ton of traffic and very little streets. Basically take LA downtown traffic, take away half of those drivers and replace them with twice the amount of mopeds and scooters. You have Bali.
We arrived at our Villa and goodness is it amazing. The view is spectacular and no picture can do it justice. Our porch overlooks Jungle. Lots of jungle. Natural palm trees and greenery everywhere is our view from our villa nestled into the hillside.
Still adjusting to the time change, we woke up early and got ready for our first day. Our hotel provides breakfast and it is delivered to our room each morning. M had a plain omelet and I had a Faffle, basically a grilled cheese with tomato. Served alongside fresh fruit and coffee. We ate and then got picked up by our driver. When we booked our activities for the first day we just expected to do the monkey forest, Tirta Empul Water Temple and the Batubulan village. However, our driver had other plans.
We started off with a drive to the Textile factory. The Balinese have a special way of dying their fabrics. To create designs. They melt wax and very carefully create patterns on the fabrics. They also had a huge store at the factory where we purchased a postcard and Christmas ornament.
The second stop on our trip was to the Barong and Kris dance in Batubulan. There Balinese dancers performed and acted out a play of the Hindu gods in the story of good versus evil. It was a …cute… Production.
Following the play we went to a silver jewelry factory. First, we observed the conditions of the silver designers. Which mainly consisted of a bare room, with a fan and blaring music. Then, we went to where they sell the jewelry. Large marble statues of women dancing and different Hindu gods. Tons of jewelry on display with many different designs. All very expensive.
Our next stop was at a local place that showed the production of wood carvings. All the detail and work that goes into making one piece of art showers how talented these people are. We ended up buying a tiny wooden elephant, which we later named Roxy after an elephant we met.
We made another quick stop before lunch at the Holy Tirta Empul Water Temple. Before entering we were dressed in the proper attire. A sarong on both. men and women with women wrapping their hair up in a bun. The temple was very crowded due to the belief that the holy water pouring from the statues has healing powers. Lots of school children, people in wheel chairs, and families going into the water to bathe. We did not, we observed.
After lunch we probably did one of my favorite things so far, coffee tasting,. We first learned how they make the coffee from farm to table. Then we got to taste some samples. There were 3 incredible flavored coffees (vanilla, mocha, and coconut), a hot chocolate, a traditional Balinese coffee, and many different teas. All complimentary, except for the special coffee… The Catpoocino. The most expensive coffee in the world, supposidly. It is so expensive because it starts with a Civet, a cat that eats the beans and then poops them out. Yes, poops them out. The beans are washed then pealed. Cooked. Pealed. And washed again. Roasted then crushed and made into instant coffee. There you have your Cat.poo.cino. And yes, we tried it. It was very bitter and not something I would drink every day, but I would put in in the same category as Cavier. Gross but rich people supposidly like it.
After some very adventurous coffee and tea tasting we went to the Rice Paddy Fields. The classic fields you see online where rice farms are built into the hill sides of mountains. They were gorgeous and clearly not created for tourists as the walkways were extremely narrow.
Lastly, we went to the monkey forest. Having heard many stories about how aggressive these monkeys are we came prepared with a disposable camera and nothing they could steal. Ultimately, they were not aggressive, they kind of just minded their own business unless you had food. In which case, they harassed you. We took pictures here but with a disposable camera. Apparently there are lots of stories of the monkeys stealing cameras so we came prepared. We really enjoyed ourselves.
We were driven back to the hotel by our private driver,showered and went to a restaurant a few doors down . Which brings me to one of our favorite parts of Bali, how cheap everything is. We got a whole dinner with drinks for $30. The best!
Day 1 down.