Vacation Part 2: Bali March 2005

After Singapore, we took a short flight to the island paradise of Bali.  I don't throw around
phrases like "island paradise too lightly", but it certainly described this place well.

Also: added links to photos I took with my real camera, where applicable.

We got into Bali at night, and with the help of our friend jetlag we woke up in time to see the

See?  There it is, I totally wasn't lying.

This is what the beach area of our resort looks like in the early morning.  No touts, no sunbathers,
just sand and water and tropicalness.  Note, in the right photo, the volcano in the background behind
the pagoda.  Volcano!  Volcanos are pretty exciting, so long as they aren't 'rupting on your head.

Oh, and the beach also contained two groggy fools.  And the beach sweepers, who aren't pictured.  
Those beaches don't sweep themselves, people.

Which way to the free breakfast?

This was our hotel, or rather, "resort".  It was pretty damn palacial, definitely the nicest place I've ever
stayed and probably ever will.  The entire staff was incredibly nice, and yeah it was probably just because
we're "rich americans" in their eyes but it was still a dandy way to be treated.

There were goldfish everywhere you went, and our residence had tons of them.  I love goldfish, so
that means you get to see photos of them.

We took this day-long tour that was provided by our package we had bought, and while I'm
apprehensive of these sorts of things, it was mostly entertaining.  LOTS of driving while covering
little ground...narrow roads full of other cars, dogs, people,  ceremonies, chickens,etc...this meant
you were averaging 30 mph at best.

Our first stop was at this multi-part traditional dance.  It was the story of Hinduism, I think...I know
for a fact it was too long and lost my attention half-way through, but the costumes were pretty good
and I really dug the music.  

Probably my favorite part of the entire tour was when we got to tour an actual Balinese residence.  Instead of
one house, it was many one room shacks, sleep in this one, kitchen in that one, a temple in every home...there
was a lot to take in.  

And most importantly, there was tons of animals - pigs, chickens, dogs, cats, strange birds I couldn't identify,
even a porcupine that was going to be dinner at some point.  

 - More photos of the house here --> ONE   TWO   THREE   FOUR   FIVE   SIX   SEVEN   EIGHT

There were also a lot of stops at different craft shops - the wood carvers were my favorites.  The entire family
was playing a part in the creation of the works that went for sale - older folks did the carving, and the kids
sanded everything after school.  Take a look at the ornate door behind the picture of Chelse and I, the work
these folks did was amazing.

On our drive to the volcano, we passed a random Hindu ceremonial march on the road, lots of complicated
costumes and all that.  I stuck the camera out the window and snapped a couple of shots.  

The volcano!  What you see there, in the background, is not the actual volcano, but rather the secondary
cone that rose up after the initial eruption.  below it is the scorched earth from it's last eruption, in the 1960's
or so if I recall correctly.  The actual volcano - this photo is taken from it's rim.  

You can see somewhat better behind my fat belly the rim on the other side - we're talking a huge
mother fucking volcano here.  People live inside it now, knowing that at any time that second cone could
wipe them out.

 - More photos of the volcano here --> ONE  

After coming down off of the volcano, we made it over to one of the gazillion hindu temples on the
island.  This one was specifically a "water temple", which had a special meaning and also served
as the public bath houses to the villages.  

Since it was a temple, you had to wear a sarong into the place.  Somehow I'm thinking it
isn't the right look for me.  

Some more shots of the was a pretty amazing place, and what was equally amazing
is how many temples there are just like it.

 - More photos of the temple here --> ONE   TWO   THREE   FOUR   FIVE   SIX   SEVEN

Terraced rice patties were also on the menu for the tour, it was like being on the set of my very own
Vietnam war biopic.

What I said above, only more of that.

Like most places, there were plenty of touts.  Before I knew it this guy had put this hat on my head and
baskets on my shoulder and well shit, sometimes you just gotta go with the flow and enjoy the photo-op.

 - More photos of the paddies here --> ONE   TWO   THREE  

My nomination for best trash can ever.  This was back at our resort.

This was the town just outside the guarded gates of the resort area we were staying in, Nusa Dua.  
Things got considerably cheaper out here, and it's not like things in our resort were even that expensive.

We ate at this restaurant a few times, I forget the name of it but it had this great outdoor seating area.
The food was decent, and as cheap as I've ever seen - I think we had multiple beverages, large meals,
and even desert, and the total bill with tip included was about 15 bucks at the most.

A few days later we took a boat ride over some reefs and out to Turtle Island, which wasn't too
far away from Nusa Dua.  
 - More photos of the boat ride here --> ONE   TWO   THREE

On Turtle Island, there were lots of turtles.  and other creatures.  I kinda felt bad for them, but at
the same time was stoked to get such a personal look at them.  It's a conflicted feeling for sure.
But when else am I going to get a chance to experience some of these things?

Baby turtles!!!  So incredibly cute...they would flap their little flipper arms like they were trying to
fly away.

There was a big tub of them being raised there...I'd like to pretend it was for conservation reasons,
but that's highly doubtful.

There was also some medium-sized guys - the colors on their shells were just unbelievably beautiful.

A giant lizard!  I forget what exactly it was, a Komodo Dragon maybe?  Or something similar?  One
thing was certain, it was scaly and surly.

This was what it was all about - I got to hold a monkey!  You can't fake the joy on my face right here...
I thought I might explode from happiness. One day, I will have a pet monkey....

Other than those trips shown above, this was how I spent most of my time in Bali.  You could swim
right up to the bar and order a milkshake.  If there is a heaven, I can't imagine it would be any
different than this.

...And this is how Chelsea spent most of her time there.  She may or may not be awake behind
those sunglasses.

I have nothing witty or interesting to say about this photo.

MONKEY!!!  This was at the temple of Uluwatu, perched on the side of white cliffs on the opposite
side of the peninsula where our resort was located.  It was probably my favorite part of the whole trip,

Here's where the temple was located, just hanging there a good 200 feet above the ocean.

Another view of the cliffs.

These two jackasses are totally blocking the view of the cliffs in this photo.

This temple was crawling with monkeys.  I was quite seriously as excited as a pig in shit.

Even more exciting - BABY MONKEYS!!!

 - More photos of the monkeys here --> ONE   TWO   THREE   FOUR  

After that we headed to the touristy part of Bali, where all the vacationing Australians and backpackers
go - Kuta.  It had it's appeals, like women walking down the beach making pineapple treats for you to eat
and tons of cheap stands selling knockoffs of everything you could possibly think of.  But it was also noisy
and dirty compared to the paradise we were staying, and it made us glad we chose the location we did.

These tired, long faces can only mean one thing - leaving paradise and embarking on a retardedly long
plane ride back to our normal, hum-drum experience.