I’m behind on this blog but certainly not for lack of material. I have 1000s of photos that I am slowly going through. However, for about six weeks Ferda and I had rather limited electricity and internet access. But that’s getting ahead of myself. First we went to Bali!
Back in 1994 Bali was the first place that I ever visited in Asia, and I was rather disappointed. I flew halfway around the world to an Australian spring break style party scene? Yikes. I wasn’t excited to go back. For Ferda, however, Bali was a dream. It seems to be the only place in Indonesia that Turks have heard of. Sulawhat? they asked when Ferda talked about our trip to Sulawesi.
Bali, it turns out, can be heaven, and it’s also a fairly easy place to extend the 30-day visa on arrival (Indonesia seems to make staying in their country harder and harder — no more 60 days on arrival (my first trip) and no more 60-day visas in Ankara (like we did last time)).
We spent the first night in Kuta only because it was between the airport and the office where we needed to drop our passports in the morning. We did find this temple before leaving Kuta:
In Ubud, where we spent a week, our routine was to get up early, walk through the rice fields, and rest a bit in the afternoon in the air conditioning.
Days went by quickly. Ferda always loved to stop for a coconut.
Bali is certainly beautiful, and one thing that adds to that beauty is that there seems to be art around every corner — sculpture, paintings, flowers,
even carved coconuts.
On one walk we descended some stairs to cross a small creek and came across a couple walls full of carvings.
So close to (very touristy) Ubud, I was surprised I hadn’t come across these during my research. They weren’t on the map either. Well, later we learned that these carvings are new. During covid when the tourist work dried up, locals came down here with food and music … and carved day after day!
Our friend Oliver recommended Nick’s Pension in Ubud, and we were so happy to spend our week at Nick’s. The room was very comfortable, and the garden feels like a mini version of Bali full of flowers and statues.
and the view:
Nick’s hosts Balinese dances three times/week. We enjoyed them.
One thing I remember fondly from my first trip to Bali were the beautiful daily morning offerings.
Our biggest excursion was to rent a scooter one day, and the highlight of that day was visiting the rice terraces at Tegallalang.
We found our best durian of the trip (1 of 2; we’re still in Indonesia, but I don’t think we’ll see another durian) at a roadside fruit stand that day.
At Tirtha Empul Temple we learned a very little bit about Balinese Hinduism.
Ferda enjoyed driving the scooter on some quiet back roads.
Balinese were always smiling, gentle, and welcoming. Just like we said after Sulawesi, it’s the Indonesian people that make us want come back.
Don’t go yet, however. There’s a bit more of Indonesia to come. Also, just in case you think Bali really is heaven, note that the traffic (at least in the airport-Denpasar-Ubud part of the island) is horrible. The 43km taxi ride from Ubud to the airport took 2.5 hours.