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First week in Bali      
legong-dancer

     
Wednesday, August 12      
Before boarding our watches are put  six hours ahead to  Bali time. We are hardly seated and dinner is served. Unfortunately the turbulence was scheduled exactly during the dinner hour. There is a movie playing which must be funny, as the Englishmen on our left roar regularly. I'd rather they look out. Why they all sat down near a window in Manchester? Being a hostess you'r constantly running back and forth:  Exhausting job.      
Thursday  August 13      
Stopover in Hong Kong after a flight over Russia and China. It is a nice airport, but still so new that no one can point us to the path. When transferring it appears that several suitcases are lost. Ours are still there. Thankfully bus takes us to the aircraft as it was unusually hot outside. Climbing the stairs to get in the plane is torturous.      
vliegveld van Hong Kong
Hong Kong airport   
     
After a flight over the South China Sea and Borneo we land  in Denpasar. There two too helpful porters snatch our bags and they want a tip before returning it. A bus of the travel association brings us to the hotel Respatie (Thursday). It's been a long journey, but  worth every penny.  We are now outside in the dark. In the background you hear a flute, the splashing of fountains and the murmur of the waves. We are surrounded by heavy, sweet scent of flowers blooming everywhere.

   
Friday August 14      
Five o'clock in the morning. After a short, deep sleep the new day starts. Still dark outside. There are just the garden lights and a citronellacandle is flickering. At half past six  the lights goes off and the new, unfamiliar country awakes. I sit on the terrace. Noises around. I wonder what I hear. An animal? A device? It sounds ominous and threatening like I've landed in a horror movie. Breakfast is at seven. Better an hour safely on my bed behind the closed door. In the distance I hear a gamalan. It sounds familiar already.
After some negotiations (tawarren) we buy two sarongs in a little shop on the beach. Then we go to a meeting of the association where we receive travel information about Bali and about daytrips. The first is welcome.    
On the beach is a cremation. In a building made of logs from a banana tree lies the corps. The cremation is with a gas cylinder and a burner. Everyone has black clothes and on a table are some offerings. These are scattered over sea together with the ashes at the end.
Then we walk along the beach and swim in the sea and the swimming pool. Many palms, many bougainvillea. We eat an Indonesian rice table (rijsttapel) and order two bikes  to see the rice fields tomorrow. We also make an appointment with a driver who arranges a trip in the tropical  jungle in Central-Bali. jepun

jepun
 
We already learned some flora and fauna. There is the sjeroetsjoek, a striking bird with sometimes melancholic vocals, somewhat similar to the whistle of a blackbird. The jepun, also called frangipani, is a  tree, which, sometimes very old, can be found in  the courtyard of a Buddhist temple. The flowers, a symbol of immortality, have a sweet, heavy scent with an aphrodisiac effect.. In Hawaii these flowers are used in the wreaths that are offered to visitors. Here a flower, if you're lucky, is slid behind your ear. It is an expression of friendship. All over the day  the gardener is sweeping the faded remains in the courtyard. It's very quiet in the place and in the house. Even the toilet fills with soft sounds instead of noise.  
Saturday August 15      
Four o'clock in the morning. In recent days  we wondered  several times what date we live. At six o'clock the sun is suddenly gone, so it is dark at once. You can continue your shopping or go out. Or let you drive to a place where something is organized with the risk that it's very touristy. A day with so many impressions, lots of sun and good eating makes you sleepy around nine o'clock. So early to bed this time and about  four o'clock  you awake and take a cup of coffee or tea at the terrace. It is 27 degrees.(In Jakarta, it always is exactly 32 degrees during the day. Check it on the computer) Strange sounds around. Again some napping. Breakfast at seven o'clock. Today we'll try the bikes. The bags go along filled with sarongs and accessories. Countryside here we come.      
The bicycles arrives in time. Half past eight. The mountain bikes are old, rather rusty and very dusty. It is not easy cycling in this traffic with so many buses and trucks and between them a double number of mopeds.      
Op sommige plaatsen is het erg druk.      
And to keep left. As long as there are no crossings this is easy. Occasionally we ride on the wrong side. We are being alerted quickly enough, because there is more trumpeting than in a brass band. Extra care is needed in a "turn": There are a few main roads in Bali. The lanes are separated by bushes or fences. Those lanes are regularly interrupted by a "turn". There you can turn around and drive the opposite direction. They are extensive used what causes frequently dangerous situations.      
After some time we take a more quiet road. The sun hat of Marianne is blown off several times. We stop at a shop (warung) between the plantations. An old man, who speaks only Malais, knows a simple and effective way to string the hat. He cycles away. Five minutes later a young man named Wayang comes and offers us to go cycling with him. He shows us a house under construction with a temple next to it and talks about it. Than he shows us his maize field that is located above a river and `tells that the rice now, during the "crisis", is very expensive. Two thousand rupiah per kilo. Thats why many people eat corn. Next to the roads corn stacked in neat triangles is sold.      
Then we cycle to his village. There will be a wedding next day. Wayang invites us as guest. Before we went cycling he gave me his hat, woven from coconut palm leaves. It is woven so compact that the sun is blocked and so loose that the wind can play through it. Pretty cool. boerenhoed
Then we go home by bike. It is quite a distance. With my hat I entertained a lot of people. It is a cap that farmers, who are the fourth class, carry on the land. A tourist with a cap like that is very funny. We find it a great hat. As simple and effective as the little string.

 
Sunday  August 16     
Breakfast at seven. We negotiate the taxi rate and go for a trip to family Wayan Cikra. The traditional sarongs, kebaya and other accessories go with us. It is a detour between rice fields and over beautiful rivers. Some women are washing clothes. Also buffaloes are washed and colored scooters as well. We reach  Kegonkuri, a hamlet with about sixty residents. Wayan is happy to see us and invites us inside. Everyone, grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters are still busy with the preparations. There is a Hindu priest who sits behind an offering table. He  prays and sings. Sacrifices are lit. Everywhere is smoke while gamelan music sounds from the rented stereo.    
The bride and bridegroom arrives.    
bruidspaar    
Everyone is generated. The kepela desa, leader of the Banjar (the village council), thanks us for our arrival. They believe a good spirit sent us. Wayan tells us the wish the bride and groom has portrayed during the rituals. We too let accompany a wish with our gift. We wish them two healthy children: a boy (anak laki) and a girl (anak perempuan). To the delight of the bridal couple the wishes are the same. We make a photograph of them and will let develope the photo. Then we eat with the main guests. The other family members are watching. After we eat two tablespoons of the rice we feel a fiery volcano. Bride and groom say goodbye and they go to a separate room for three hours. Then they come back to join the party.

   
Monday  August 17 tokeh ( Gekko gecko )

tokeh
(photo: Vermal)
 
The wedding food was less good for Joops stomac as expected.
He gets better by taking O.R.S. (A kind of astronaut food), kouzou (a binder) and weak tea. Our pet, a gecko, says Tjak seven times. That brings happiness. We like him to stay. He rushes back and forth over the wall and catches a mosquito and one more. Another reason to keep
him.
 
A trip through the wilderness is scheduled for today. We leave at eight in a "van" (small bus). Inside is a burning smell. After a few miles our driver honks an oncoming car. The cars are exchanged. The left rear brake is broken. The new bus is slightly larger and it takes a while before the driver of this car is used to it. Continue through the rice fields. We meet a Balinese farmer. We can't figure out what he carries.  Our address can be found on the homepage.  
Balinese boer
Our first goal is a butterfly farm. There are a lot of species collected from East Asia.The caterpillars metamorphose here. Beautiful, especially large butterflies in all colors, flutter around. In a separate room the pupas hang with a sort of clothespin. The newly hatched butterflies fly at you and stay on your arm. They are also for sale. The rarest, therefore most expensive, but not the most beautiful one of the world flies here: Ornithoptera paradisea from Palau Irian (New Guinea).  Ornithoptera pradisea 

        Ornithoptera paradisea             (photo: Kauffmann)
 
Then we visit the temple of the king in Mengwi. The towers have eleven terraces. They symbolize the mountains where the gods live and are surrounded by water gardens full of lotuses. It is very hot and very beautiful.
Lotusbloemen in de gracht      
We leave for Bali Barat. There is the jungle, the wilderness or the tropical rain forest where we want to make a trip. Our guide is a small man with a big klewang. A kind of machete. He cuts a stick for us. Well-dressed against the mosquitoes we follow him. It is higher and cooler thus than at the temple in Mengwi. There is a dense canopy and it's cloudy. The sun can not reach us. First there is a steep ascending path: slippery. It's damping like a Turkish bath. Glasses and camera are fogged. Everywhere grows something, covered with small ferns, fungi and mosses. Except insects crawling across the bottom you can't see any animals. But sounds are all around.  Behind every leaf something seems to hide itself. Occasional our gide beats a branch or a stalk in two with his klewang. Sometimes he stops to listen quietly. His dog runs with us, disappears several times for at about ten minutes and is suddenly back again. At the highest point stands a small temple, where our guide prays for a while. During the tour he occasionally takes a leaf from a tree, tears off a bit, throws it over his shoulder and then folds his hands.
     
Down is less tiring. No less slippery. Twice there is a small river to cross. After at about one hour we arrive downstairs. There is a temple, tucked under lichens. It is the oldest of Bali, founded in the eleventh century by a group of Indians who emigrated to Bali..       
We go back to Sanur through rice terraces with the well known beautiful views. Sometimes we stop to take a picture. Then women quickly start running towards us from the fields with a tuft rice. You have to take a sprig with a few grains of rice from the tuft and give back the rest with some money. More and more women are approaching. "Come on, get inside" exclaims the driver and we drive on. At about four o'clock we are back at the  hotel. rijstveld  
Schilder in Mengwi.      
In an annexe of the temple in Mengwi.

     
Tuesday  August 18    
Today we are no early risers. Half past seven. It seems hotter today than the passed days. Joop reads something, Marianne is going into the sea to cool of. She wears coral shoes and is walking in the water up to her ears. Later on we phone the children and also Wajan. We arrange the wedding pictures. My doing business is getting better for I've managed to exchange my velvet jersey against two kabaja's. It's like selling an Eskimo a swimsuit.  
 
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SECOND WEEK
Independence Day today in Indonesia. Wayan says that during the evening there were scirmishes in Java. Particularly in Jakarta. In Bali everything is quiet. Only at the university of Denpasar is a demonstration. Most people in Bali peacefully wait for the coming elections with Megawati Sukarnoputri who is very popular. Almost everyone will vote in favor of her.