I spent the day wandering the streets of Pengosekan and Ubud looking for souvenirs. It really was a bit intimidating knowing that I had 11 siblings and two parents to find souvenirs for. After five hours of looking in every shop that looked interesting, I came back with almost nothing. But don't worry, I eventually found something for everybody.
Sunday, July 11, 2010:
"Sunday was an unbelievably phenomenal day. I might even say that it was the best day I have spent in Bali so far. Seriously, it blew my mind!"
The day began at 8:30am as we headed out east to go snorkeling along the coast. I didn't really know what to expect and I was a little uncomfortable when we showed up. We were taken through a back alley to a little shack where they began pulling out random pairs of flippers, snorkels, and masks to have us try on. It all just seemed very sketchy to me and I had no idea if I should trust these guys. After we got our scuba gear, they loaded us onto two small, skinny boats with runners (like a catamaran) and took us over huge swells (okay, they were probably tiny, but I'm new to this whole ocean thing) and out into the ocean to a small, rocky island where they simply told us to "jump!".
|The middle island in the distance is where we went to snorkel|
Snorkeling itself was incredible! The fih were so brightly colored and many of them were larger than I would have expected. The coral wasn't too spectacular, but it was still really amazing to see all of this marine life. I saw many of the fish that are so popular in photographs because of their bright colors and interesting shapes. I saw Nemo and Dory and Gill and eve Crush (the sea turtle)! It was such a breathtaking experience to be out by that island swimming along its rocky cliffs and seeing all the beauty that nature had to offer.
We climbed back onto the boat after a short duration in the water and began a 20 minute boat ride to a beautiful white sand beach. The boat ride there may have been the best part, though. We passed by beautiful islands rising right out of the ocean and covered with rich, luscious green foliage, separated from everything else by the waves crashing upon their rocky faces.
As we passed by the shore, misty silhouettes of rounded mountains appeared and passed, their surface thick with trees.
Many ended with a steep cliff, topped by carefully carved rice terraces complete with cows. It really was a sight to be seen.
The volcanic mountains were obviously very old as they were worn smooth into a beautiful curved landscape and the lush vegetation and thin layer of mist really made them something very special.
The white sand beach to which we traveled was tucked between two such mountains and set out in seclusion from all other beaches.
|White sand beach - not so white|
|I know it looks like I photoshopped my feet into this picture, but I was really there|
|A boat kite! I love it|
|My boat, Suci, in front of the cave I explored|
Once we had all soaked in as much sun as possible, we headed back to where we started, past all the unbelievable scenery again, to meet Danu for the next leg of our adventure.
After eating a meal in an empty restaurant with a nice view of the jungle while being serenaded by the vocal talents of Celine Dion circa early 1990s, we got in the car and drove to Tanganan, the oldest village in Bali.
|A dark picture, but look at that view!|
A few houses were selling ekat, which are pieces of weaving done in a traditional style for which this village is famous. I didn't find any such pieces that I liked, but I picked up a silk scarf for each of my sisters after seeing them over and over again in the houses.
Out in the street were several oxen (are they oxen? ETA: Mel tells me that they're water buffalo. I actually remembered this while in the car after writing the post, and knew full well that he would correct me as soon as he saw it.) resting or headbutting, while roosters of every color looked on from their crates - obviously waiting until the next cockfight.
Many villagers were standing around the firepit in the middle of the village where a pig was being roasted. It was almost time to leave, but there was one more thing I had seen that I wanted to buy. Before paper and pen, the Balinese wrote their stories down on palm leaves by etching the words and pictures into the surface with a small knife and then rubbing it with charred hazelnut to fill in the small scratches. In the morning as I was thinking about the day to come I had thought to myself, "I would love to find a map of Bali to hang on my apartment wall back in Pittsburgh." Never did I think that I would find such a map created in this traditional style and elaborately decorated with designs and flowers, framed by carved palm wood (bamboo?).
It was, perhaps, the most serendipitous thing to have happened to me in Bali and now I have the map I didn't even know I wanted when I woke up to hang on my wall. The artist even carved my name in English and in Balinese. Could it have gotten any better?!