Monday, November 25, 2013

Beyond Bali

25 November 2013

I've had a touch of some tropical something, so we've had a few quiet days - plus we've been planning travels beyond Bali.

I know, some people want to head over to the island of Komodo to see the Komodo dragons.  (No thank you.)  Others want to go to Java and look toward Krakotoa.  (Eh.)  Others would prefer Jakarta for city life and shopping.  (Another eh.)

We're heading to Lombok and the Gili Islands.  Bali's scuba diving paradise!

So, maps above and left - we arrived in Bali (kind of in the middle area of Indonesia) at the provincial capital of Denpasar.  We spent two days in Sanur, the old fancy resort, still a cute little town. (#1 on the map.)  Then we headed up to Ubud, the cultural capital, and have been having a great time falling into Bali time.  (#2 on the map.)  On Wednesday, we'll head to Padangbai (also known as Padang Bai, #3 on the map) and catch the fast ferry to the island of Lombok, to the east.  This is about a 3 hour trip in total.

We'll stay at Senggigi (no idea how to pronounce that, we'll find out) and spend some time exploring as well as diving.  The primo diving seems to be in the Gili Islands, to the west of the north end of Lombok.  We'll work that out when we get there, though we've identified a few dive companies that we'll check out.

And that's the plan!

Lombok should be interesting, it has a big volcano toward the central north area, and the people of the island are predominantly Muslim.  (Bali is the mostly Hindu island in a country that has the largest number of Muslims in the world.)  As I said, this should be interesting!

So, a few fun things we've done:  we had a nice dinner at the Havana CafĂ©, which features great Cubano food as well as wonderful Latin jazz.  Unexpected, I know, but really good music.  I enjoyed the little Balinese waitstaff dancing the salsa, mamba, merengue between serving the customers.  And Richard and I managed our own little salsa dancing on the sidewalk as we were leaving.

Background music of gong and chime rehearsals - we haven't gone to any of the performances of music or dance, but we're kind of in the middle of it all.  So we hear rehearsals all weekend, and the performances at night.  We've seen part of the dancing, as well.  The music is more percussive than melodic, and something between steel pans and dinner gongs - just sort of Balinese background music at this point.

We'll attend some performances when we return to Ubud after our trip to Lombok.  We'll carry just small backpacks with us, leave the big luggage here, and return to our lovely bungalow for more Ubud time.

We visited a large supermarket that Richard found, because we always like to see what's available.  And of course, there are all kinds of items that we have no clue what they are or how they might be used - but that's what makes it so fascinating, seeing how other people live.  (It's just like breakfast - do you know that most people around the world eat just regular food for breakfast?  They don't have totally separate items that are brekkie only, like cold cereal, or even hot cereal.  No, they might eat rice and sashimi and miso soup, or fried noodles and chicken satay, the way they do here.  It just makes travel interesting, to see this.  And try this.)

Anyway, my favourites at the supermarket: the huge and lovely dragon (human-sized) advertizing Balinese chocolates.  (Which are nice dark chocolate, not overly sweet like some companies.)  

The luwak coffee with pictures of the civet (although not the business end of the civet, but at least it lets you know that this is civet coffee).

And the collection of dragon kites, which made for some fun photos, especially when I tried cropping them in a few different ways.  It looks like a baby dragon farm, doesn't it?

This afternoon is dark and rainy, deep thunder out there, right overhead at the moment, with bright flashes of lightening.  We're snug in our bungalow, reading, researching our travels, and of course catching up on the blog.

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