|WORLDCOOK'S TRAVELS - BALI (Indonesia)|
|Recipes from Indonesia||Travel to Indonesia||Travel to other countries|
is a beautiful island. It is also known as the Island of Paradise or the
Island of the Gods. The latter probably in literal sense as well, as gods
are everywhere. Their presence can be felt in statues, temples and
first known history starts in 3,000 BC, when probably Chinese settlers
inhabited the island. Thousands of years later, Indian traders passed by
and left their Hindu influence, mainly in Java. Around 900, the contact
between Bali and Java was intensified, and similarities between the two
islands can be found.
We made a trekking through the rice fields. Nobody had warned me beforehand, that I would have to walk on little grass paths of 15 centimeters' width with a muddy rice bath on one side and an abyss on the other! As I am usually even unable to cross a small bridge over a ditch, if it has no handrails, without swaying from left to right, this was an absolute nightmare. But my children told me that I should not be heard on this issue, as I was the one who insisted on this trekking, it was definitely not their idea! Sure, 15 minutes, but a whole morning in the rice fields was too much of a good thing. For once, I agreed with them. Still, it was worth the pain, as we enjoyed many beautiful views. Bali is a volcanic island and thus a combination of mountains and fertility, a guarantee for green lush beauty all around. Being used to the completely flat rice fields as far as the eye can see in Bangladesh, the rice terraces here were completely different. We saw the long rice, the variety which grew on Bali before the dwarf strain was introduced, which grows much faster, but has probably not such a good taste. Also we say pepper fields, and lots of banana and coconut trees between the rice, which gave us an idea what the food in Indonesia should look like.
The atmosphere in Bali is extremely relaxing. The air is filled with the sound of the gamelan and the faint smell of incense and beautiful flowers. Flowers in the most beautiful colors and shapes are everywhere; underneath you may find a small selection but HERE is the full beauty of the flowers we found. When we visited Bali, even the coffee plants were flowering, the white one is a coffee flower. Bali coffee is delicious, nice and strong, exactly what a working mother of four brats needs to start the morning with!
restaurants at dinnertime, Balinese dances are performed and even our own
Elodie practiced some dancing in a beautiful dress and lots of
make-up. Chicken fights are also very popular, especially around
festivals, when the blood is apparently offered to the gods. The fights
are very serious; all spectators are heavily betting their money and one
of chickens is definitely dead after fighting.
Anna was not as soft-hearted as we and attracted by the
lifeless chicken bodies:
|Funerals are also major festivals. There was one in the village where we stayed, and the road was completely blocked. A large crowd of people was standing around the large tower of bamboo, paper and flowers, in which the body must have been hidden, and packages from there were going from hand to hand. They looked like wrapped breads but we had no clue what was inside. There were a lot of food stalls quickly set up around the event. We did not make any pictures, as we feared that would be inappropriate, but later I found out that funerals are actually celebrations; after all death is not the end. We left in the middle of the ceremony, and thus missed the tower being carried around and shaken to ward off the evil spirits.|
|We visited three parts of Bali, Sanur in the south, which is supposed to be the "upmarket" place. It was very quiet and there was almost no night life, which was fine with us as small kids tend to decrease your disco dancing ability. We did not do much more there than swim in the sea and swimming pool, and enjoy the delicious food.|
recipes of Indonesian food, please click
or on the pictures below.
After that we moved to the more dry North of the island in the
neighborhood of Singaraya, where Teb and the bigger kids did some diving.
Close to the beach in
was a reef restoration project, where the reef was growing with the help
of electric currant on wire constructions. The beach was full of dead
we had to discourage the children to take it home.|
The last days we spent in Pacung, in the middle of the island. The hotel was on top of a mountain, our balcony looking straight down the valley and the rice terraces. Every day around sunset, an enormous amount of birds were performing their evening concert, sounding most like somebody using a chain saw.
We visited the Batukau temple, which is high on the second highest mountain of Bali, the Gunung Batukau, over 2,000 meters high, with the temple sitting at 1,300 meters. The temple is surrounded by dense woods and it is in a quiet cool spot. On the afternoon we visited, there was a ceremony going on to ask the gods for rain, as it had not rained for over 5 months, and the ritual singing sound carried far through the mountains. The temple has a small lake of its own, where the goddess Shiva is immersed.
The hotel brochure promised us "to be only ten minutes away" from this famous temple. Upon request, they shared with us that it was at least 40 kilometers away and would take us an hour to get there. Even this prediction was too rosy, as it took us one and a half hour, as did the butterfly park, which was said to be at the same 10 minutes distance. In the butterfly park they were breeding native butterflies of Bali, and one of them is enormous, twice as big as your hand. The one on the picture was just born and so tame, that it would sit on your hand.