. We laughed at my tiny warm marg as you will see in the pics. After nusa dua, we went back to uluwatu temple for the fire dance, which was unreal. marred only by the rude tourists who insisted on talking the whole time at full volume, getting up and leaving half way through, and using flashes large enough to reach the moon. I guess vacation for a lot of people is all about recording every single second on a state-of-the-art piece of technology. But, after a moment, i was able to ignore these facts and absorb this mix of Indian (hindu) dance, elaborate costumes and mezmorizing Island chanting. If you have ever seen Baraka, the Kacak really does exist and seems quite an effective method for warding off evil spirits. its almost like when you say a word so many times the back becomes the front and it just all sounds alien...Well, i hope the video i took comes out, but i'm sure it cannot encompass the full sound and power of intention. The day after this we headed up the east coast and around the corner to the north in Amed. As we drove up, it just got more lush and amazing, and now the western influance has died out a bit leaving behind a much more beautiful view of balinese culture. As if people were nice in the south...oh man, it is just gorgeous in every way up there on the north coast. If they had waves...we would never leave. (of course then there would be a bunch of pushy surfers around, thus killing the ambiance) We had a nice room for 100,000 ($11) Which would have been perfect if it werent for the pig farm resulting in some pretty unnerving squeeling at all hours. (roger, your pig noise is pretty accurate) At first i welcomed the change from the constant confused roosters crowing unceasingly (more on cock fights later) but, low and behold, turns out the farm has some pretty vocal roosters as well! glad I brought ear plugs to drown out the 4am symphony. (they start early here...who needs the sun) We met up with missy, megan, and heather in the next town, tulamben where we went for out first instructional dive
. Counter to the "PADI" rules our lax guide let us bring a camera and i got some decent shots. Diving is really amazing, but i will go into that more when i get to the gilis which i'm a little scared to tell people about cause its still just barely unspoiled paradise. After that we did a waterfall hike in a town with zero tourists and aside from a group of bathing local boys, we had it to ourselves...after they left we marveled that we were the only ones at this amazing waterfall. it is the tallest in bali at 40m high. at the bottom we met a group of young men (under 22 because unmarried and still having fun...hehe..) and thery were the parallel universe version of ryan and his friends. They greeted us by saying "happy morning, how are you tomorrow" which was actually a joke which was quite funny when we realized it. they were total clowns and they climbed the coconut trees like it was nothing (they are half monkey according to one whose nickname is actually monkey) and they gave us clove leaved to smell and showed us various fruits. we ahd a really good time with them but it was time to depart.
After that we made good on an invitation to a local's home where his wife dressed us in traditional balanise gear in preparation for the festival of the full moon. this is apparently a specific ceremony that only happens once every 30 years. we tried to get an idea of what we were praying for, but we just got the answer, "to Gods!" duh. We would have never had the guts to enter this temple if we had not had a steadfast woman guiding us along with her children often touching my hand to inform me of a step, and checking to make sure we were there whenever crowds got thick
. They welcomed us to pray in their temple and it was amazing how strong the spiritual connection was in a totally foreign worship situation. we were giving offerings and received holy water and when we spoke to our host, he said, "we are all praying to the same God! you are welcome to pray in our temple!" As you'll see from the photos, ryan blended quite nicely, and only got second looks from the savvy, but i was literally, a head taller than every woman there and the only white person, but everyone was either confused or smiling. not a single glare. Well, thats all for now...cant wait to show you the Gilis...one love,
p.s. trying to get more local shots but i feel rude taking pictures of people going about there business and sometimes my camera cant handle stealthy shots...working on it though.
Picking up right where i left off, we headed to Green Bowls after the surf, which is the southern most tip of Bali. Amazing to sit there after trekking down 300 some stairs, with only a couple spear fishermen and one crazy solo surfer looking out at the vast sea knowing the next piece of land is Australia. As you will see from the photos this is a really stunning beach. The green and blue warm tropical water we can only dream about in cali. we soaked it in for a bit and then after i briefly drove the motorbike (you just NEVER see a boy riding behind a girl, so we had to keep it to the deserted roads) we went to Nusa Dua, which is a very ritzy resort area. eh...not so great. We had a massively overpriced meal (its amazing how they trick you into paying a lot for ramen noodles) at a "beer garden" that only served two types of beer. (ryan was very happy to find a luke-warm guiness) I finally got my margurita and after the heat was so excited about a large bowl of ice and sweet lime....well, i'm learning to keep my expectations at zero, in order to always be pleased