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  • Day17

    "Mother erth will cry.."

    September 30, 2019 in Indonesia ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Another, very busy, waterfall! Which had the best sign we've seen so far lol.
    Dreetje became the ultimate tourist. And we witnessed a fire & trance dance.
    This is a dance which is being performed by a circle of 150 or more performers who keep chanting "cak". They are called "the choir of men", and our choir consisted of al lot less than 150, but still impressive. The men sit in circles; singing, throwing up their arms, standing and sometimes lying prone. Their voices and dances tell the tale about the monkey like Vanara who helped Prince Rama fight the evil King Ravana.
    To give a little impression, I've attached a short video.
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  • Day16

    "Bathing in water"

    September 29, 2019 in Indonesia ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Near Ubud there's lots of things to see and do.
    Waterfalls, rice fields, temples and some more temples.

    Indonesia is predominantly Muslim, around 87% of the populations identifies themselves as Muslim. Indonesia even has the largest Muslim population in the world, with approximately 225 million Muslims. In Bali however, this is different, 83% of the people are Hindu.

    Balinese hinduism is quite complex though. I don't know the details, but google tells me the following :
    Balinese Hinduism can be simply defined as a combination of 2 beliefs, the Shiva sect of Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism, that is why it is also often to be called as the Shiva-Buddhist, Hindu-Dharma, Tirtha religions and also the Holy Water Religion.

    I don't think the average tourist knows anything about Balinese Hinduism, or Hinduism in general..
    We arrived at the water temple. People (BALINESE HINDUS) journey from all over Bali to bathe in this sacred water. It's part of a purification ritual, and with bathing they seek blessing and protection.
    So we were really flabbergasted at the sight of a long queue of Western tourist, waiting to bathe in the "holy" water..
    They probably don't know what it stands for, aren't Hindu and just want a "cool" instragram picture. Needless to see that we felt really strange to see this unfold and we left after a quick picture.

    Whats up with all these temples??! ( Every house has a shrine, there's a bigger temple for the neighbourhood, an even bigger one for the town, and a couple of really big and famous ones)
    Balinese people offer every day to these shrines. They make offerings which consist of betel leaf, lime gambier prestige tobacco and nuts. A lot of times they add rice and cigarettes. All these materials symbolises the Trimurti, the three major Hindu Gods.
    And they do this every day, and once a week they offer even more. They spike a lot of fish on wooden skewers (which smells really bad) and make more and bigger offerings.
    To us it seems like such a waste of food / other materials. But hey, at least all the stray dogs have enough to eat. (the rice is even cooked)
    I'm amazed by yet another religion. I probably just don't understand it.

    After the temple we went to a waterfall, where another queue of tourist was lining up. This time to take, you never guess it, of course : an INSTAGRAM picture!! WTFFF
    There's even a Balinese man taking the pictures and telling everyone how to pose. I salute him for taking advantage of all the instagram horny tourists.
    It was really freakin hard to take a picture of just the waterfall. Luckily we could take another trail, which lead us to the other side of the waterfall. Here we could take pictures in peace, and again trash talk about the other tourists.

    Overall it was an interesting day.
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  • Day15

    "Ubud"

    September 28, 2019 in Indonesia ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    After quite some time in Keramas, it was time for us to relocate. Next up, Ubud! A while ago a genuine "hippie" destination for travelers interested in yoga, healthy food and mindfulness. In a couple of years this has grown into one of the most popular and busiest destinations in all of Bali.
    I hadn't read beforehand that the place was so busy, and therefore expected some more peace and quiet. Unfortunately this was not the case. Nevertheless, we really loved Ubud.
    Lots of places to have a cup of coffee, a beer or some quality food.
    Still, if you wanna get away from all the people, you hop on your scooter, drive for 10 minutes, and be surrounded with rice fields. The best of both worlds.

    Seen our first wild snake woehoeeee!

    And some pictures of the monkey forest.
    A giant forest, with a fence to keep the monkeys in. But they basically do whatever the f*ck they want. They come inside to be fed, and afterwards leave to continue roaming the town.
    We love the "CAREFUL: monkey crossing" sign.
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  • Day13

    "Unspoiled places"

    September 26, 2019 in Indonesia ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Tourism in Bali has increased due to it’s reputation as both a surfer and yoga paradise. Because of this growth in popularity, a lot of towns and villages have been spoiled by mass tourism. It’s hard to find places which are still genuine, but from what we’ve read, Sidemen is supposed to be such a place.

    We’ve explored a bit of the town and walked around. It’s amazing to see the peacefulness of local life. Men chopping / gathering wood, women working in the rice fields and kids in uniforms walking to school. I hope the pictures have captured this atmosphere ( all Dre’s work ). We had lunch while overlooking rice terraces. The one’s that havent been turned into a tourist attraction. We were glad we took the effort to visit this place. Pictures of Sidemen are at the bottom of this post.

    Next up the most important, largest and holiest Hindu temple in Bali : Pura Besakih. The temple is located on the southern slopes of the volcano “Mount Agung”. The temple consists of a complex with 23 separate but related temples. These temples are built on six levels, terraced up the slope of the volcano. It’s mandatory to wear a “sarong” to temples ( to cover your knees ), from research we also knew a sarong was included in the ticket. Yet there are dozens of women, trying to persuade you into buying a sarong. Misleading tourists for their own benefit is fairly common, and we were very proud we weren’t falling for it.

    A guide was appointed ( included in the ticket as well) to take you around the complex. He told us a lot about the different temples and took us to some interesting temples that most of the tourists skip. He was very friendly and we enjoyed the information about Balinese Hinduism. It’s possible he only told so much about Hinduism, just to get a higher tip. Cause after we gave him, what we thought of as, a reasonable tip. He told us : Can’t you give more, sometimes I get 20$ tip.. Very contradicting to the core Hindu values of which he told us everything about. It took us by surprise for a moment, but then again, which religion isn’t contradicting at times?

    Back on the scooter, toet toet further up the mountain, we went for a drink with a beautiful view over “Lake Batur”. We ended the day back at our beach, in a way to expensive beach club. Feeling very rich and privileged, while seeing a local family bathing in a shallow pool of ocean water. When we looked around at all the people at the beach club, it seemed like that family was way happier than most of the people sitting around us.. Something to think about.
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    Looks great I'm jalous irma

    11/26/19Reply
     
  • Day11

    "Beauty and water"

    September 24, 2019 in Indonesia ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    Today we’ve seen lots of beauty surrounded by water.
    We rose early in the morning to get our asses East to the Blue Lagoon. As the name kinda reveals, this is a lagoon with blue water .. You’d expect blue water, but this water had at least 3 different tints on blue. Perfect place to go snorkelling. And it is; IF you think about taking applying sunscreen every hour, since we’re still almost British white. The result, poor Dreetje turned into a lobster. The following week would be a very painful one.

    After chilling for a while we continued to the Water Palace. The journey to the palace is a road that goes through the mountains, a road which becomes greener by the minute. In the distance you can see the volcano “ Mount Agung”. The volcano is active by the way, and almost completely destroyed the Palace after it erupted in 1963.. Very reassuring.

    On our way towards the palace we were reminded of the fact that you always need to be veryyy careful on the road (in general) in Asia. Especially in the mountains on a scooter. We passed some people who had just been in an accident. A local guy was laying in a very uncomfortable position under a car. Clearly he wasn’t having a good day. We didn’t stop since there were already 10 people helping and an ambulance was on the way. We’d have a strange feeling the rest of the day while on the road.

    The palace was built in 1909 during the Dutch East Indies era. The architect was aDutchman and during this time the palace had the very creative name of : “ Waterpaleis”. Nowadays the palace is called : “Taman Soekasada Ujung”, which sounds better in my opinion. Pictures of the palace can be found in the post above.

    On our way back home I was amazed by the fact how FKING crazy some people are. We’re going downhill, during rush hour, and this cement truck is driving very aggressively. He’s overtaking cars / scooters just before a turn, maintaining as much speed before braking promptly. I didn’t want to end up like the guy we saw earlier. So put my pride away and let him pass.
    Eventually we returned to our guesthouse safe and sound.
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  • Day7

    "Uluwatu temple"

    September 20, 2019 in Indonesia ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    Hello friends and family!

    It has been quite some time since you've heard from us. Good news, we've survived the earthquakes, Metro Manila and dangerous marine life in the Philippines.

    It's weird, writing about our experience in Bali, while waiting on our plane to fly from Philippines to Thailand. What a time to be alive!

    Our venture went South. It was a ride of 1,5 hour which would've turned anyones arse into stone. We've missed exits, got lost and the first irritations of our travel were a fact. (woehoeee another 1st )

    The far South-West of Bali is known for it's beautiful views from atop the cliffs. We've visited beaches down these cliffs with crazy colours of blue water.
    Pura Luhur Uluwatu is one of Bali's directional temples. The temple is supposed to guard the Balinese from evil spirits coming from the South-West. The temple wasn't all that impressive to be honest (photos of more impressive temples will follow..) , the location however was.
    The temple is inhabited by monkeys who have mastered the stealing of tourists belongings. Women with little bags of fruit are lurking in the shadows. As soon as a monkey steals something, they throw some fruit towards them. The monkey drops the shiny sunglasses and is way more interested in the fruit. The tourists can then get their belongings back in return for a small fee.
    The monkeys know they get fed when they steal something. As a result the little buggers get very good at it and will take every opportunity they get.
    We're descendants of the monkeys, so it's not strange at all that the monkeys found a way to commercialise their theft. We would've done the same, maybe got some black monkeys to do the stealing for us.. Even looking at monkeys makes me realise how much I hate humans sometimes.

    At sundown there's some kind of fire dance which we wanted to see. After seeing the hordes of other monkeys waiting to get a ticket, we decided we probably wouldn't enjoy it because of the vast crowds.

    We went to see the sunset at a quiet place nearby. There's a woman, in the middle of nowhere, waiting for a couple of tourist to come see the sunset. She sells ice cold beer.
    Apparently it's worth her time, selling only a couple of beers for a very reasonable price. With a view like this I can't blame her.

    It was a good way to end a rewarding but exhausting day.
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  • Day6

    "We don't like people"

    September 19, 2019 in Indonesia ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    As you might have noticed, I'm writing everything in English. My phone/laptop is in Englsih, I read (mostly) in English and here we speak a lot of English. Hey, so why not write in English as well? ( sorry for those who prefer Dutch :p )

    Yesterday we went to Seminyak, and it was my first day on the scooter. Boy, what kind of day on the scooter we had haha. Dreetje was navigating, and she navigated me to a small ( but pretty busy ) road with loads of giant holes ( not holes in concrete, no just big ass stones missing) / small ledges to fall of (+- 1m) / and narrow streets.
    After a ride of 30 minutes, but which felt like hours, we arrived safely. I am not going to lie, I did a lot of panic sweating. We went to the beach and afterwards we just strolled around to take in all the new culture. Of course on the beach of Seminyak we found the famous beach swings you see in every Instragram picture. I repressed the child in myself and did not swing. Out of protest and cause I would feel like kind of an idiot on a swing. Chilled for a while, had some dinner and drove back to our villa during rush hour. It was a pretty intense first scooter day.

    Since Canggu and Seminyak are really busy with constant traffic jams at some chokeholds, we decided to visit the more quieter places in the West.
    We're not always too fond of lots of people in one place. Heck, we're not always fond of people in general. So the sight of empty beaches (except for some local fishermen) was very welcoming. On this beautiful black beach was a swing as well, one did like. Not a swing to take beautiful instragram pictures with, no just a crappy swing for the sake of swinging. On another beach we did some rock climbing and took some photos. Had some dinner at the same place as a couple of days ago since this was the closest known (Western like) toilet available in the area.
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  • Day4

    "Exploring West of Canggu"

    September 17, 2019 in Indonesia ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Since there isn't much more to do in Canggu except for surfing, eating and partying, we went to Pura Tanah Lot. This is a Hindu temple located on giant rock a little bit off shore of the Indian Ocean. The temple is only accessible during high tide, otherwise you get wet feet.

    Here was the second time we were being
    photographed. This time we we're asked nicely though. At this point it was feeling really weird. I'm writing this a couple weeks later, so now I know it would get
    slightly less weird.

    Had a solid laugh at seeing the first TSNAMI ADVISORY sign in my life. Advisory is as follows : Leave beach immediately to high ground or inland.
    Wow, no shit.. thanks for the advise, hadn't thought of that myself. I just can't comprehend there are people who don't think of this themselves.
    I think monkeys would act the same, as a survival instinct. Yet we need signs..

    Anyhow, the temple is a beautiful sight to behold. To enter the temple we had to be blessed and cleansed like a Hindu. Therefore we needed to drink from the water and wash our hands. The Hindu priest ( Pemangku ) or temple priest is responsible for the dispersing of holy water, and so he did on our heads. We also got a flower behind our ear, and some rice between our eyes. We were al excited that we could see our first Hindu temple, so we went up the stairs. It were a staggering 10 steps, till we reached the sign which said NO ENTRY.
    We paid the priest some 15.000 rupiah so we could enter, little did we know this was only a donation. We should've known better, this was our first "rip off".
    It was worth the 15.000 rupiah (€1,00) for having a good laugh :)

    Next rip off was around the corner, although we didn't know that at the time.
    We were walking up the cliff to get a drink somewhere, here we saw some animals laying around and some bats chilling upside down. We decided it was a nice place to take some pictures of what seemed exotic animals ( but were obviously domesticated). The owner told us the animals were called "Luwaks" and they feed them coffee beans. The Luwak processes the beans and afterwards shit them out. During this process the Luwak enriches the taste of the coffee bean. We had never heard of it so we were all like wowwww thats cool (classic ignorant tourists).
    The coffee tasted pretty decent, and to us it looked like the animals had a pretty comfortable life.

    Afterwards we found a cool place called Joshua District, an art gallery / restaurant / co working space. The place had a cool vide and a beautiful view over the ricefields.
    We had some dinner, learnt a couple of Balinese words and made our way back in the dark to our villa.

    At night I was laying awake because of the jetlag, so I thought lets Google Luwak/Luwak coffee. It turns out most of the Luwaks used to produce the coffee beans suffer a pretty horrible life. They life in small cages and are forced to follow a diet of mainly coffee beans. The diet of course to boost the quantity of beans the Luwaks produce. I also read that around 80% of all the coffee thats being sold of as "Luwak coffee" is fake. A genuine organic cup of Luwak coffee can cost up to $100. We paid around €4.00, it's safe to assume we drank some sort of other coffee bean. I could go back to sleep with a clear conscience.
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