Rice & Monkeys
Trip Start Jun 22, 2012
39Trip End Jul 17, 2012
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We had a late 9 am meeting for the introductory welcome briefing. A family of 4 had to cancel at the last minute with a member having a broken leg. The meeting covered nothing new to what I had heard 2 weeks earlier in Jakarta except one of the party of 8 had decided to leave that morning after breakfast so we were down to just 7 of us. Phillippa and Kerry from Australia, Sibyle plus mother and daughter Brigette and Sarah all from Switzerland and Ellen from Belgium (and the Java trip).
At 10 am left by mini vans and to my surprise we headed to exactly where I had walked yesterday, but in reverse. So the long road sections that I walked were quickly passed by in the van. Better by foot! We were dropped off at the rice fields at the top of Campuan Ridge. Our local guide Mide further explained the rice growing process. After transplanting the rice, the flooded fields is drained. The water keeps the weeds down. Hand weeding is a mammoth job. A tax is paid on the harvested rice. The various concrete statutes indicate who owns which rice paddy fields.
He then took us into a typical Balinese house complex at the Bangkiangsidem. The compound has a gate and 2 statutes guard away evil spirits. He explained how the family temple is always situated at the north eastern part of the property. The building to the north is used as a pre wedding house, the eastern building used for people ceremony ie the significant passage and important stages of the family members eg at 3 months the baby is allowed to touch the ground for the first time, 18 months a cleansing ceremony where their hair is shaved and they can go to the main temple, puberty ceremony, 17 years a tooth filing ceremony where 6 teeth are filed by the local priest.
Offerings are given every day after cooking … “give and take” for God, not for the birds or chickens seen eating them.
In front of properties is the plaque which shows how many families live there, how many males and females.
It was cloudy today but somehow yesterday seemed to be better with the late morning sun out - the colours were more vibrant and shadows provided some relief and depth to the landscape. It was still nice today. At least today’s walking was all downhill!
I managed to get my Balinese style roast suckling pig lunch at Warung Ibu Oka. The Spesial cost just 42,000 Rp (NZ $6 or US $ 4) which included my first Sprite on this trip.
By now the misty cloudy conditions turned for a brief moment into a very light shower, out came for the first time my rain jacket and this meant time for some “retail therapy” working out which shops sold menswear clothing … Not many to tell you the truth so perhaps there is an opening here for some clothing entrepreneur! Now to think which summer cotton / silk shirt(s) to buy on my return to Ubud in a week’s time.
Managed to buy a wind up ie automatic watch for 200,000 Rp. As I only wear watches when travelling and replacing batteries or buying a new cheap battery watch for just a few weeks travel is becoming expensive. At least the watchmaker spoke good English which gave me some confidence.
Beneath the cool and dense jungle forest canopy is the Mandala Wisata Wenara Wana or Monkey Forest Sanctuary, entry just 20,000 Rp (NZ $3 or US $2). It does have a real Indiana Jones feeling. It is the monkeys and not the three temples that people come to see here. Approximately 650 grey-haired and very greedy long tailed Balinese macaques live here and eagerly await us tourists who many come armed with the bananas sold at the gate.
Evening was the hour long Kecak fire dance performance which I will post in the next as a separate entry.
Dinner was at Ibu Rai Restaurant & Bar. Crispy Duck - deep fried crispy duck in Balinese sauce served with yellow rice and Balinese vegetable urap 75,000 Rp. Lemon Juice 24,000 Rp. I saw the avocado & chocolate juice on the menu but didn’t order it. I should have as Nova had one. When I did ask for one, they had used the last avocado! Not in season so we have noticed more often than not it is not available when asked.
Then the Balinese Black Rice Pudding - sticky rice pudding with sweet coconut milk and ice cream 26,000 Rp. Total 143,750 Rp (NZ$ 20 or US$ 16).
Dinner was a bit different to yesterday’s 10,000 Rp night market dinner of noodles! It was a “chalk and cheese” experience in that the night market was mainly catering for the locals wanting to eat cheaply, willing to sit on tiny plastic stools with the smoke from the satay vendors bbque getting into ones clothing and tonight there were no locals, just foreigners or tourists dining here in a style that they are used to.
Philippa had a birthday and to her utter surprise the restaurant staff dimmed the lights and brought out a chocolate cake walking right past her then around the restaurant and back to her with the rest of the patrons singing Happy Birthday.