Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas in Bali

We decided to fly South for the Winter. First, we had an 8-hour layover in Taipei, Taiwan so the National Palace Museum was our one and only stop. We learned that the Chinese invented porcelain and saw many artifacts that were literally thousands of years old. The museum was interesting, but the cab ride back to the airport was awesome. Best cab driver ever!

We arrived in Bali, Indonesia a little after 2 AM and took a cab to our hotel. We had to wake up the staff to get into our room. When I woke up the next morning this was the view from our back window.

It was so warm...with the sound and view of the ocean in the distance!

On Monday we took a private tour with Nyoman Grago of Bali Traditional Tours. Amazing tour! One of our first stops was an elementary school. We spoke English with the students and gave some high-fives.

We then went to a small coffee farm and got to see the whole process. The ginseng coffee and lemon tea were our favorites, but the most interesting was the kopi luwak. The Asian Palm Civet, like a cat mixed with a raccoon, supposedly eats only the best coffee beans. It then poops out the beans, which are cleaned and lightly roasted. Very expensive coffee!

Tanah Lot is a temple built off the coast. There is also a great market on the grounds.

We stopped for lunch at a local place where the three of us ate for around $7. This is my plate which includes chicken sate covered in peanut sauce, fried rice and cucumber.

Our last stop was Ulu Watu. We put on sarongs and removed our sunglasses (to avoid attacks from monkeys). There was also a fire dance based on a story from Hinduism. The dance included no dialogue or music, but rather the chants of 75 half-naked men.

Our last day we took a private tour of the Northern part of Bali. In the background you can see the cascading rice fields which are very popular on the island. We also visited a variety of markets featuring food, silver and wood-carvings.

The last thing we saw in Bali, besides terrible traffic, was this waterfall at Gitgit.

Finally, this is outside our hotel which is one of the tallest buildings in Bali. Apparently, there is a law stating that buildings must not be taller than a coconut tree.

It was nice to get away but it is truly great to be back in Japan. Traveling to other Asian countries has made us appreciate this one so much more. ありがとうございました!