Monday, December 6, 2010

Home at last

Hello beloved blog readers!  I have at last returned from Indonesia, where I was reunited with my husband for two weeks.  It was sooooo good to see him, and to spend time with him while exploring a place that was new to us both.  I wish I could have brought him home with me, but alas - his contract isn't finished yet overseas.  I was able to bring home about 250 photos to share with you of our travels.  (don't worry, I will edit them!)  I will be writing about Indonesia this week, so stay tuned if you are wanting a glimpse into that part of the world.
One of the first Bali photos I took, in the van near Denpasar.

The journey:
LAX to Taipei.  (15 hours behind a tired baby.)  I had about three hours in Taipei, where I also drank the most amazing $3 cup of coffee I think I have ever had.  Then on to Denpasar, Bali (5 hours).  I was reunited with my husband at the airport, and we proceeded to our accommodations for the next five days.  We stayed in a really nice dive resort near Amed, which is a tiny town on the eastern coast of the island of Bali.  We wanted to be off the beaten path, which meant a 3 hour, winding van ride from the airport to the resort.  Even though there were amazing sights to see, I had to focus on the road in front of me to avoid feeling carsick.  We even passed monkeys in a tree that I was too queasy to photograph.  (sorry to miss that photo opp!)  When at last we arrived, we were greeted with this welcome, welcome sight.
The pool, sparkling in the sun's last rays.  You can see ocean beyond it.

This is a typical fishing boat.
Young boys often stayed near the hotel, trying to sell tiny handmade versions of the fishing boats to tourists.

Sights and observations:
After being in the desert for the past four years, I was first struck by the color green.  Everything was SO GREEN.  The color almost didn't seem real.  There are a lot of chickens in Indonesia, both of the "running across the street" variety, and of the "fighting cock in a basket" variety.  (more on that later.)   The women carry heavy loads on their heads, unless they are getting a ride on one of the many motorbikes zipping down the narrow streets.  When riding on the back of a motorbike, the women will often ride sidesaddle.  (having ridden on the back of one of these tiny motorbikes on said narrow, bumpy roads, I find that both astonishing and incredibly brave.)

The towns are tiny, and the smells of Indonesia for me will always be a mixture of rotting garbage, dust, smoke from burning trash, incense, and clove cigarettes.  The food involves a lot of rice and just about every meal involves an egg or two.  (Not to mention chicken.  Of course, chicken.)
I took a photo of my first breakfast, in honor of my friend Lily, who takes beautiful photos of food.
Breakfast day one: eggs, fruit, tea, and a banana pancake that was more like a crepe.  It was delicious.

If you are a coffee snob at all, I would recommend avoiding the coffee, which tends to have about a half inch of "sludge" at the bottom. 

Twice a day, a Balinese carrying a tray would place these offerings (they called them "blessings") in doorways, entrances, and in the shrines.  They consisted of a palm leaf "plate", flowers, incense, and sometimes even food, like rice or a cookie.  
Some of the more savvy birds would eat the rice.
The first day we didn't do much of anything, besides become really familiar with the pool.  I think we may have gone snorkeling.  Once the sun went down, these tiny frogs would appear in the grass.  I finally had to see if I could get a good photo with my camera.  Most might think I'm nuts, taking a photo of a frog in the dark, but I just needed to do it.
Cute, huh?  I have been unable to identify this frog so far.
I found it a challenge to stay up past 8 or 8:30 pm., especially when I first got there.  M has been living in Indonesia, part of the time, so I think he was lonely at night, when I passed out on the mosquito net- ensconced bed.  I would also wake up at around 4 am, and lay in the bed for as long as I could before finally getting up around 5.  The mornings were divine.

More coming, stay tuned!  It's nice to be back.


pRiyA said...

Hi there Karine, I wondered what happened to you and now here you are with this marvelous post. I've always wondered what Indonesia is like and I am glad to go through this. Somewhat like India in some ways I guess. Same same but different. (The traffic looks definitely the same!). I had to smile when you mention how ' green' Indonesia seems to you.

Red Fish Circle said...

What an adventure! I have a good friend who spent alot of time in Bali and talks about it alot - I always fantasized going - my son has spent a lot of time in SE Asia, and is heading there for a month this Christmas. I am hoping we get to go sometime. Can't wait to see more photos.

Cynthia Schelzig said...

Welcome back to the real world:)
oh these fotos look so interesting. This is one of the few areas of the world that I have never had an the frog by the way:) I guess Pono is glad you are back too:)