Trip Start Mar 31, 2010
Trip End Mar 31, 2011

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Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Friday, June 25, 2010

We've had 5 days in Bali, but we've stayed inland in the cultural centre of Ubud rather than going to the beaches - we're going to spend a week on the beach on an island next.
The rest of Asia should be in the middle of the monsoon and Bali should be in its dry season, but we've had perfectly good weather everywhere we've been, except for here where it rained non-stop for the first couple of days.  There have been plenty of things to do indoors luckily, and one morning we did a cookery course, although it was meant to begin with a tour of the market which had to be cancelled because it was flooded!
Ubud is extremely chaotic during the day with coach tours from the beach resorts, but early mornings and evenings are lovely.  The last 3 days we've escaped during the day on a little scooter and have been exploring the island.  Its much bigger and busier than I had expected, and there are signs of life wherever you go.  There are lots of very attractive rice paddies surrounding volcanic mountains and a scarcely credible number of shops selling handicrafts and so on.
We rode up to a large volcano in the North of the island, then down a very steep twisty road to the crater where we rode around a lake.  And at the furthest point, we got a puncture.  The scooter wasn't really rideable with both of us on it, so Mrs Murrell stayed with a friendly lady shopkeeper in a village who gave Mr Murrell directions to a mechanic, who had to ride off himself to another mechanic to procure a new inner tube the right size.  
In the evenings we've been to see a couple of Balinese traditional dances, one of which consisted of 50 men in loincoths chanting and waving flaming torches, then hurling fireballs at eachother in a frenzy.  Another consisted of a bongo drums and a couple of xylophone-like instruments making an apparently random sequence of notes while women danced with their fingers bending backwards, or the attached video of a man in huge shoulder pads and thick make-up doing a dance which is designed to show his fierce masculinity. 

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Jess on

All looks wonderful. Missing the shopping!!

Eleanor on

I've been here! I was made to watch several of those traditional dances. I think it was very much wasted on a teen-aged me as I think I slept through some of them!

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