Monkeys and an active volcano

Trip Start Oct 09, 2007
Trip End Aug 01, 2008

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Flag of Indonesia  ,
Sunday, October 28, 2007

Our hotel bartender, Kutuk, is also an "under the table" tour guide, so today he is taking me and Mathew on a a private tour around parts of Bali.
We start the day with a traditional Balinese dance. So bizarre, this dance which was about good and evil. Strange, elaborite costumes and twaing music in the background. It was an hour long performance; and if one looked at the crowd you can see a focused expression of confusion.
From there, Kutuk took us throughout the village of Ubud. Ubud is a craftsman town, full of: stone and wood carvers, painters, and silver smiths. The village was split up into seperate art districts, with the children all learning the specific trade. Quite fascinating, really. We got to go into a silversmiths "factory" of sorts and got to witness the entire process of bits of pure silver being turned into beautiful jewlry and items. What hard and laborous work. It seems that they train boys very young in age and this is a good skill to have in this town... Also, there is a good portion of this town that goods are only available in wholesale. Here, we saw many items which we recognized in the USA: furniture, wall hangings, statues - all of which we have seen sold in the USA. I know where all these stores get these goods now: UBUD, and of course, they are getting them for pennies on the dollar in which they sell them to us.
From Ubud, Kutuk took us to Monkey Forest!! OMG. We buy some bananas. BIG MISTAKE. You even been chased by mob of monkeys? These monkeys could smell them and would climb, beg and steal. Even if you didnt have a babana, they come for everything they could: sunglasses, cameras, bracelets... And it almost like they were doing it to be funny. For some reason, they really like Mathew and they would jump on him and start grooming his hair! I liked the little monkeys, but the big monkeys freaked me out. THere is one picture we have of me sitting down "un-aware" and mathew goes, "whoa, thats a big monkey right next to you", and i feak out and mathew takes the picture. Haha.:/ THe monkeys are concidered sacred here and in the middle of this forest is an ancient temple where monks still take care of the monkeys. This is also the site where villagers get buried then cremated. Everyone must get cremated here, but because of lack of funds, some souls have to wait many years before the family can afford to cremate them.
From the monkey forest, Kutuk drove us the Gunung Batukau, (an active volcano). Along the way, police made a roadblock and extorted 10,000 RP from us. We think it would have been more if it was mathew or me driving the car. 9,900 RP = $1.oo - so, they just got a dollar out of us. Jeesh. So, it turns out that in Indonesia, if you want to be a police officer, you have to pay the government $6 millian Rupias (about $600). They extort to get there money back, and everyone is seems to be used to it.
The volcano was beautiful with a huge lake at the base on half the volcano. The other half's base, you can see old lava flow, narrowly missing huts along the way. We got to eat a bufett lunch at a place with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the volcano. It was a very nice place..... one fruit tasted like cheese :/.....
From there, Kutuk drove like a mad man (typical Balinese style) and at 80 mph through narrow congested roads, he got us home in about an hour.
All in all, a very good day! That night, we went out on the town with our new hotel friends to BOUNTY,a 4 level club that is a big ship with 4 dance floors, pool tables and kareoke), skygarden (a five story "outside" club - no 4th wall all the way up), and Espresso - the best live band EVER :D.
On the note of all these buildings: everywhere you go, you see the most imaginitive, creative and bizarre archtiecture (from floating DJ "concrete tubes" to a five story building with only 3 walls, glass floors and no roof). Every single day we just are amazed. No building codes let you do a lot of things!!
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lisaomer on

I have to go to monkey forest some day! I'm so jealous!



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