I see rice and smell bacon
Trip Start Jan 12, 2013
42Trip End Feb 27, 2013
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Once out of the city, the drive was beautiful. Little Balinese towns with what appeared to be mostly praying going on. I am not sure what was going on today, but everyone was in their Sunday--well Monday's--best for church going. I've driven around before and this wasn't happening so I don't know if today or just Monday's are important for some reason. I love the genuine friendliness you see in people as you pass...they always give you a real smile if you smile at them. The children away from the tourist areas were quite a bit more precocious as well, but still nothing compared to the Cambodian children.
The town of Jatu Liweh is at the base of Mount Batukaru and is home to some arrestingly beautiful rice terraces. The verdant, lush terraces are framed by the life-giving moutains which provide the water for these crops. The mountains are topped with sometimes ominous and othertimes purely fluffy clouds and provide a breathtaking contrast to the vibrant green of the growing rice. The terraces were like a work of art, undulating with the sides of the mountains and shimmering from the water resting among the stalks of rice. The wind was quite fierce and it blew the rice similiar to the wheat on the Palouse area of Washington State. I think that if you grew up in such a place, it would be very difficult to ever leave or find a place to compete with it. It was just so singularly unique (I know that's kind of redundant, but too bad). I tried to find a local place to eat away from the tourist overlook, but ended up on some broken down road headed into the mountains somewhere. Figured I ought to turn around, but then I saw an old man squatting by the side of a home entrance so I stopped to ask him about restaurants
On my way back down from Jatiluweh, I may have ended up in a pig barn. Again, I'll just let that soak in. Totally not my fault. I was driving and happend to pass a pick up truck on the side of the road with pigs in the back in the weirdest crates I've ever seen. Of course I had to turn around and go investigate. Turns out that the family was sending a load of hogs off to slaughter today and they were loading them up...by hand...in these large tomato-plant corrals looking crates. I knew I been smelling pigs periodically on my drive, but I never saw them. That's because the barns were down in the valleys beside the road. These guys had to go down very steep, narrow concrete steps to the barns, load the pig up by running a pole through the crate and putting a man at either end of the pole. Shouldering their load, they would carry the pig out of the barn and up these steps...one pig at a time. I looked at the data sheet; these pigs were running between 255 and 308 lbs. I am so used to never seeing humans doing hard physical labor anymore that these things astound me. Watching the rice paddy workers bent over at a 90 degree angle doing whatever the heck it is they're doing or the guy going row by row with a hoe. I know people harvest our crops by hand still; I just never see it. I don't see the ditches being dug by hand; I see a machine doing it. These people are digging gravel in flip flops with a wheelbarrow (I'm not saying I can't relate---mom...). Hauling pigs up the side of a damn hill...I'm telling you, I think I'd be figuring a better way after my day of work...some sort of platform with pulley system to put the crated pigs on
All in all a great day. Really glad I made the trip. Of course it didn't rain on me this time.
Another peculiarity to note is the grade of plastic. The plastic cups in all of the countries I've been in so far is so flimsy that you cannot hold the cup without deforming the sides. And, as we all know, if you squish the sides, guess what pops off? Yep, the top. It makes me feel like I've He-Maning this beverage with my mighty grip, but really, I'm just overcoming the forces of gravity so that I can bring the drink up to my mouth to have a drink. Did no one product test this plastic?? I guess they figure you'll make do, but let me tell you, it's a hassle
Speaking of squirming, this next little tidbit might make some people squirm, but it's interesting so I'm gonna tell it. From all the walking around in flip-flops (the subpar replacements for my poor stolen ones), I have developed blisters and callouses between my toes. Well, one foot is still a blister...and it has sand in it. Yes, sand. I have no idea how a blister can form with sand inside, but the thing is chock-full of it. I ripped a small hole in it today to try and wash the sand out and was about 70% successful. So odd.
I've rambled long enough.