Trip Start Jun 10, 2012
Trip End Aug 17, 2013

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Where I stayed
Grand Aston Bali Beach Resort Tanjungbenoa
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Rented a villa
What I did
Kuta Beach Mataram
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Turtle island
Water temple
Rice terraces
Kintamani Volcano
Barong dance
Dreamland beach
GWK statue

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

We are staying in Bali for 2 weeks! It is nice and tropical here, and the temperature is absolutely perfect. We are staying in a rented villa the first week, which is in walking distance of kuta beach. Random Balinese people on the beach have asked to take their picture with me. Probably because I'm a blonde American so therefore I'm 'exotic' in Bali. They seem to be excited to see Americans. I have also been harassed by plenty of Balinese men saying "hey gorgeous, how are you?" or other things like that. Walking along the sidewalk next to the road, we have been brushed by the cars and motorcycles passing by us. It's scary how close they get to us. Bali is a beautiful island. All of the houses have elaborite designs on the roofs and doorways, and Hindu statues. There are gorgeous beaches and lots of lush green forests, rolling hills, rice terraces and volcanoes. I learned that each village has 7 Hindu temples, and each house has a mini one. They set out offerings every morning and night for the Gods. The offerings are little plates made of banana leaves, filled with flowers and sometimes have incense. Each village has a sort of role. There are woodcarving, painting, weaving, and jewelry making villages. In each place, everyone in that village has that job (weaving, painting etc). Then the villages just trade to get what they need. I did a 1-day tour of Bali where I saw traditional dances, villages, rice terraces and went to a monkey forest. We also did a 2-hour spa (my first spa!) where I got a full body massage and scrub. My mom kept telling me (based on her past spa experiences) "you'll have the sheet on so they won't see anything," but what she should've said was "get used to the nudity!" I guess here they aren't so worried about being covered up. We went to the stonecarving, woodcarving, weaving, and gold and silver making villages. At the gold and silver making village, I got a pair of handmade silver dragonfly earrings. It is so surprising how cheap everything is here. Even though we are staying in a more expensive tourist area, my mom got an hour-long massage for $6. And our 2-hour spa and a seafood dinner on the beach was $10 a person! We went into a nice jewelry shop and even the pretty necklaces were all a dollar. We spent a lot of our days on the beach.We were there on a lucky day, when we got the opportunity to release baby sea turtles into the water. There were about 150 people, and we each got one to release. We kind of made a race out of it, for which one could get to the water first. My turtle was (although tiny and adorable!) really slow because he would have a burst of speed, then have to rest after 5 seconds. I had to constantly pick him up and move him farther towards the water. Once they were all in the water, the waves kept washing them back up. They were so cute! We also did another tour, where we went snorkeling, visited turtle island, dreamland beach and the Uluwatu temple. The water was really murky when we went snorkeling so we only saw a few colorful fish. At the temple, we weren't allowed to go inside but we could walk outside of it. We all had to wear sarongs though. There were tons of monkeys, so we were all told to leave sunglasses and other loose objects in the car. There was a lady who got her glasses stolen out of her hand. We got them back by giving the monkey a couple of candy bars as a trade. When we were standing next to the monkeys, one of them pulled Sophie's hair. She kind of hit it away, and it jumped back and bared it's fangs at her. And it had huge fangs! It chased her a little bit, which was scary because they can be aggressive. At the same time, a monkey jumped onto me and tried to take my camera. It latched onto my leg and wouldn't let go, even when I was shaking my leg, screaming "get it off of me!" It was trying to pull my camera case off from around my neck. The second week of Bali we are staying at a hotel in Nusa dua. The first day there, we went to the beach. Me and Soph found 23 starfish in the water! They were all big, with spikes on the top of them. We also found these strange sea creatures, almost like blobs. They are red in color really slimy and feel like jelly. They are about the size of your hand. At first, we thought they might be sea cucumbers, but I don't think so. They sort of have two flaps of skin, and when you lift up the top one, you can see it's gills. When you put it in the water, it has these snail-like eyes that come out. We found a little group of them in the water, and some of them were burying themselves in the sand. As I was walking out in the water, I stepped on something that I think may have been a sea urchin. One of my toes had a few tiny little puncture marks, and it was bleeding. Even after it stopped bleeding and everything, it hurt so bad, I was sobbing! It obviously wasn't glass or anything (what my mom thought at first), because my toe swelled up huge, and was completely red and puffy. It was also numb, and I couldn't bend it at all. I don't think that would happen if it wasn't something poisonous. Within a couple hours, it stopped hurting completely. It was still red and puffy though, so I still couldn't walk normal. Me and Soph learned to surf on Kuta beach. It was so fun! I think we are natural born surfers or something. We both stood up on our first wave. Almost everyone else in our group couldn't even stand up by the end of the 2 1/2 hour lesson. We had board burn on our thighs and knees by the end of the lesson. I got a bloody nose when a wave pushed the surfboard back into my face. But I said "no, no I'm fine" when the instructor wanted to take me back to shore because I wanted to keep going. I loved it! We liked surfing so much, we signed up for lessons for the next 4 days. We ended up surfing pretty much morning to night, and we got really good! We are definitely coming back to Bali soon, and I can't wait!
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Ellie on

I think the red things were sea slugs, but I could be wrong...

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