My Bali highlight

Trip Start Mar 25, 2011
Trip End Dec 01, 2011

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Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Saturday, September 10, 2011

This morning... well I say morning... its an alarm call at 3am, up and dressed and ready for our first coffee of the day. (I think I'll need it!)

Today is the day I and everyone else hike Mount Batur. Which is an active volcano located at the center of two concentric calderas north west of Mount Agung. The south east side of the larger 1013 km caldera contains a caldera lake. The inner 7.5-kilometer-wide caldera, which was formed during emplacement of the Bali igimbrite, has been dated at about 23,670 and 28,500 years ago.

Historical eruptions have been characterized by mild-to-moderate explosive activity sometimes accompanied by lava emission. Basaltic lava flows from both summit and flank vents have reached the caldera floor and the shores of Lake Batur in historical time. The caldera contains an active, 700-metre-tall stratovolcano rising above the surface of Lake Batur. The first historically documented eruption of Batur was in 1804, and it has been frequently active since then.

The lake, is the largest crater lake on the island of Bali and is a good source of fish.

So what have I let myself in for... you know me and hikes... they never really go hand in hand... oh well you cant come all this way to Bali and not hike it... (thanks girls!)

So armed with local guides and a flashlight we take the 15 minute drive to the bottom of the volcano and start our hike... surprisingly there are lots of people about so I'm not the only mad one!

The hike is to say the very least difficult.  The path is made up of lava rocks and sand and is very uneven... it would be bad in daylight but in darkness.. its interesting!!!  The hike takes about 2 hours to climb and it doesn't get any easier... just steeper... I'm panting like a dog. 

Valentina has been suffering with her chest and decides to turn back with our tour guide Dara which I admire as it couldn't of been an easy decision.... although tempting to also turn around I wasn't going to let this beat me and the fact the reward would be a view and a sunrise and so worth it... and so I continue... the climb is hard and I try to think only of the next step and not how long it will take to the top or the journey down!!

The climb is very uneven, rocks become loose but the morning is becoming less dark and before I know it I made it to the top and was greeted not only by coffee and a sandwich which I didn't have but also monkeys... right there is the wild taking whatever they can!  The group did loose sandwiches and water... these monkeys stop at nothing..

Even the hard boiled eggs we are given that have been cooked in the volcanic steam the monkey's stole and enjoyed!

We also were able to continue walking and climbing to firstly the holy water spring and then the bat cave.... no super hero's around... we could also see the steam coming up through various parts of the volcano... it is by far my best Bali moment and thanks to the girls and Dara for their gentle persuasion to do it.... I'll never forget getting to the top and seeing the sunrise... it was so stunning and breathtaking and its moments like this that I feel so lucky to be travelling and doing whatever I want when I want.... 

After trekking back down the volcano which was harder than going up as you feel the pressure on your knees and have to concentrate as the the path is unsteady, I eventually make it down the sun is up and so warm... the thought of a hot shower is so appealing!

Back at the hotel just in time for breakfast and each of us are smiling before a much needed shower, pack and its off again.

We then travel to The Senang Hati Foundation, also known as Yayasan Senang Hati, which is a non profit organization that assists people living with disabilities. The name Senang Hati loosely translates as "Happy Hearts". The foundation creates programmes to develop self confidence, physical and economic independence, and increase awareness in the general community of the rights of people with disabilities.Senang Hati accomplishes this through the assistance of volunteers, who provide skills training and social interaction. The society also provides wheelchairs and housing, and runs Senang Hati Places, a home for disabled children.

So how did it begin..

After contracting polio at a young age, Putu Suriati, the founder of the Senang Hati Foundation, lost the use of her legs. While house-bound, Suriati was taught to paint by her uncle, and she was able to make a living selling her works to tourists–until the mid-1980s, when competition made painting unprofitable for Suriati. Things changed in 1989, when she was given a wheelchair by Judy Slatum. The wheelchair gave her increased mobility, allowing her to leave her parents' house, and giving her the opportunity to join with other female painters in Bali to form the Seniwati Gallery.

In 2000 Suriati held an exhibition of her work at the Bali Beach Hotel. At this exhibition Suriati met a number of other people with disabilities, and this led to the development of an informal network with others suffering from disabilities, which encompassed visits, activities, and excursions. With Vern Cork's arrival, (an Australian who was similarly a wheelchair user), the program was expanded, and grew to the point where they contacted the Bali Hati Foundation for assistance.With the help of the Bali Hati Foundation, the Senang Hati Foundation was established through a notary as a non profit organistion. In 2003, the foundation moved into a vacant school through a five-year lease donated by American businessman Glen Adams.

This organization really touches your heart, they provided us with a fabulous lunch whilst playing instruments in the background.  We were then given a presentation of how this organization assists both young and younger to adapt to life and improve skills... the music set to the presentation only increased the tears that were forming.  Everybody was warm and friendly and all take part in making things to sell in their shop... paintings, bracelets, cards, bags and more... it was a great feeling to buy something, not to have too or want to barter and know that your contribution is helping such a worthwhile cause...

Onwards to our hotel back in Sanur where for some the tour ends but for others including me it continues...

I am now sharing a room and awaiting a new arrival Camile... as I'm about to head out with Carmen to the beach we meet Camile and she tags along before she has to meet back for the tour briefing... we make it back an hour after and we all head out to dinner on the beach.

With the day slowly catching up, some of the girls decided to head out for a night on the town but for me and some others it was time to say goodnight... another memorable day in Bali and one of the best experiences by far!

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