Monday, April 3, 2017

Asia Mega Tour II - Getting Into The Country

The driver of choice for our little rental villa is named Bob. Actually he is Putu Ngurah Ardana but like lots of Asians dealing with Westerners, he takes on a Western name for easier marketing and communications. Bob picked us up at the airport and he is arranging our tours while we are here. Bob is quite the entrepreneur. He seems deeply engaged in his community and while he will take you wherever you want to go, he particularly likes taking people to see what he calls 'the real Bali'. So when Wife and I from the beginning told him we like to get away from the typical tourist attractions and engage/experience as much as possible the local environment, he took it to heart.

Our Guy
Best Driver in Bali and Promoter of Getting Tourists to See Real Bali
(Source: Putu Ardana)
Where we are going
Up that hill on the right with the clouds all over it
Got to get out of town
Traffic and driving just like the rest of Southeast Asia
First Stop: Bali's Largest Buddhist Temple
Actually a Hindu Buddhist combination. Bali is predominately Hindu even though Indonesia is predominately Muslim.
AND I will thank all you people to STOP EMAILING me complaining that I went ONE WHOLE WEEK without a temple picture post. Back off and enjoy your temple fix.

You will note this looks way different than any Buddhist temple we saw in either Japan or Taiwan. There was a major volcanic irruption on Bali in 1963 and much of this temple was damaged so a lot of the decoration is of newer design.

You will note that even here they venerate the cult of the Buddha of Construction including sub-cults of bags of building materials and scaffolding

While we were there, a cremation ceremony was starting just in front
I was able to get part of the procession on video 
Sorry, it is only the first part of the video, they were getting out of range after a short while

Bob took us to a coffee plantation. They evidently don't do monoculture here and there are lots of other production taking place.
Going into the plantation
Coffee fruit

Bamboo later for harvesting
Banana and chiles also growing here

And snake fruit (there is a a set of large, garlic shaped fruit with large hard seeds inside. The fruit is crispy with a sweet, tangyness too it. Called snake fruit because of the scale like covering

The coffee experience
Bob is in a venture with a guy who is developing a coffee roasting business.
(BTW see the map below. The major tourist part of Bali is on the bottom on that peninsula. We re way at the top)
Our coffee guy
Wood fired coffee roaster and water kettle

Making coffee here is very different than in the US. It is like they do it in Turkey and the Arabian countries (coffee culture came to Indonesia with the Muslims)
The coffee is ground extremely fine and sifted

Then it is put directly in the cup with sugar (if wanted)
If you like strong, thick coffee, it is pretty awesome
Bob then took us to a village to see some dancing and a traditional house.
Unfortunately no one was there but we did get to see the outside.
When the bamboo is extended it means no on is home
House seen from two sides - you can actually rent this place if you want to - I don't.

This is for rice storage. Local custom says you keep your rice separate from where you live
Then it was on to a village
We passed a woman working in her rice fields. Those bamboo things are like scarecrows. When she saw us taking pictures she flashed us a lovely, embarrassed little smile

Bob then took us into this village

He dropped us off and told us to walk through, take pictures if we liked and he would meet us at the other end.
Again not the greatest video but it gives you some idea of the experience.

People for the most part were really friendly and warm
We had all kinds of neat little interactions
I love this picture. This guy would not give us a smile...until we were all done and got back in the car when he broke out the smile and said bye!
Others were pretty happy to have their pictures taken

All in all a pretty cool day


alexis said...

I like the buddah carving with his entourage of ladies. The coffee has me drooling. Mmmm.

Renee Michelle Goertzen said...

Oh my gosh, I've been desperate for another temple picture. Thank you!

Also, Bob sounds like a great guide and I'm glad he's showing you the non-tourist stuff.