We returned to Asia, this time visiting Bali, Indonesia's island paradise for a short period of rest and relaxation. Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation, but Bali being predominantly of people of the Hindu faith makes it an interesting combination. Bali is one out of the 17,000 islands in Indonesia.

The Hindu faith is worshipped in many temples around the island but two were the most famous: Uluwatu and Tanah Lot. The Tanah Lot temple was set on a piece of rock against the ocean surf while Uluwatu was perched high up a cliff face. Being the more commercialised of the two, the entrance leading to Tanah Lot was lined with food stalls, sourvenir stores,money changers, restaurants and even a small resort complete with little kids selling small souvenirs. On the beach leading to the rock Tanah Lot was set on, locals offered their services as photographers - complete with their digital cameras and a portable printer for instant service.

The Uluwatu temple was more traditional, appearing to be frequented more by the locals - whether of the human or primate variety. Clothing below the knee was necessary and hence a sarong is provided for those wearning shots or an "above the knee" skirt and a sash tied to the waist for respect. We found the monkeys less agressive than the ones found in Malaysia.

 

 

 


Images from
our Bali trip

 

 


 



Balinese rice field terraces

To emerse ourselves in the Balinese culture, we attended an hour long Barong dance performance. The dance told us of an ancient tale of good against evil which came from India more than 13 centuries ago.

Balinese traditional handicraft - batik printing, silver and gold jewellery making, artwork and woodwork were more familiar to us, since these were also found in our birth country, Malaysia. However, our visit to a hillside coffee plantation was the most interesting. This was where the world's most expensive coffee, Civet Coffee (in Vietnam, thisis called Weasel Coffee) is made.

Called Kopi Luwak, Peaberry coffee beans are first processed by the enzymes of the Asian Palm Civet, collected, cleaned and shells removed before the beans are roasted. We are told that the civet selects only the good Peaberry beans for "processing", a fact which results in perfect coffee grounds every time. Fetching up to USD 1,200 per kilogram, we even had to pay for the sample cup of coffee.

Food was what we enjoyed the most in Bali, from our previous experience of Indonesian food in Melbourne and more recently, from the Netherlands. Balinese specialties are not always available elsewhere in Indonesia, hence it was a treat to be able to sample them during our trip.

What we enjoyed the most was the traditional roasted pork, the Babi Guling which was served with rice, vegetables and some sambal was simply delicious. Although the serving size was much smaller than the traditional pork knuckles (schweinehaxe) back in Germany, the plateful served was absolutely delicious.

Beyond this, we also enjoyed their marianated chicken called Ayam Bertutu and Satay Lilit, grilled marinated meat on wooden sticks but missed out on the Bebek Begil (a.k.a. Dirty Duck), a duck marinated in spices and cooked over hot coals.

The aim of servicing our badly needed R&R meant that lttle time was spent sightseeing. We are happy to say that our R&R aim was well satisfied at the VIllas in the village of Seminyak. Ours was private with a bedroom, lounge, pool, cooking facilities and an ourside massage gazebo. The friendly staff cooked our breakfast each morning and even prepared a barbeque party for us one evening. This, the spa and food was the best parts of our trip.

We hope you enjoy the pictures.

 


One of the manu statues
around sites in Bali

 


Balinese
Legung dancer

 

 


Jeanette and Raymond
October 2010