Saturday, July 1, 2017

Back to Bali

Last December I got a call from my friend Subandriyo wondering if I would help recruit some teachers for an English Language Camp for the youth of the Surakarta (Solo) Stake of Central Java. It sounded like a good addition to our planned tsunami study abroad so I said yes. Ever since I took Sarah on a research trip to the Netherlands, Joel has been waiting his turn for a study trip with dad. This seemed like a great opportunity for him to experience Indonesia in a unique and helpful way. His friend Isaac came too. We start teaching next week. Before hand, we decide to explore parts of Bali and Java. Bali was first.

Our early morning Sunday flight from SLC to Seattle went without a hitch. We then boarded our flight from Seattle to Seoul. We were told that our plane was 11th in line for take off due to one of two runways being closed for repairs. As we waited in the unusual heat (while I watched the first half of the new Ben Hur), our plane heated up to the point that a generator over heated (the above note about efficient cooling obviously didn't work) and rendered the plane unflyable. The generator could be replaced but it would not be until that evening. That meant we would miss our connecting flight in Seoul meaning we would have a day long layover there.

Thanks Delta. The food voucher was also nice. Now to get reimbursed for our missed first night hotel room in Bali.

Several flyers (including a couple from SLC--she the daughter of Loganite weatherman Bob Welti--who were also not fans of President Trump whom we talked about while drinking caffeine in Taipei) bound for Denpasar worked with Delta to arrange new flights that would get us to Bali a little sooner that sticking with our delayed regular flight plans.

"How much longer will we be trapped in this airport?"

We arrived in Seattle at 9:30 am and finally flew out at 11:00 pm bound for Vancouver Canada, Taipei and then Bali.

 Seattle by night. Bound for Vancouver.

Vancouver airport at 1:00 AM.

We got to Bali 16 hours later than planned which meant we missed our planned morning at the beach and then a visit to Tanah Lot. Instead we headed straight for Ubud.

We missed the Obama family by just a day.

Next morning we headed to Tulamben on the east coast for some snorkeling. We passed majestic and holy Mt. Agung along the way.

The Coral Gardens.

We chose this dive spot so we could snorkel above the sunken remains of the USAT Liberty--a cargo ship carrying rubber and railway parts that was sunk by a Japanese torpedo in WWII. It was very cool.

Waving flags to keep the birds away from the ripening rice.

A subak--Balinese water temple--at the head of where irrigation water is divided out to downstream farmers.

Next stop (with a nicely decorated rest room) was the Bat Cave Hindu Temple.

Marie and I visited this cave on part two of our honeymoon (1997). At the time the whole place was covered with bat guano. There also were lots of bats. Marie was not impressed.

This visit, the temple was much improved. Local farmers had removed all of the guano for field fertilizer.

Next day we joined Green Bike tours for a great day exploring Bali. 

Coffee plantation

Baby pineapple.

Luwak (Asian palm civet) animals love to eat coffee beans, but can't digest the seeds. The seeds are excreted whole in its scat. The coffee seeds are then extracted from the scat and roasted to make what is a very expensive and unique tasting coffee.

Luwak scat.

Roasted scat beans.

Coffee and tea samples.

Favorite herbal teas included lemon grass, ginger, and mangosteen.

Active Mt. Batur which sits in the center of a huge ancient caldera.

The highest portion of the ancient crater rim. The base of Mt Agung can be seen on the right beyond the rim and below the clouds.

The large lava flow from the last eruption in 2000.

Our bike ride began in Banyung Gede--where the fertile slopes of Mt. Batur were covered in gardens and orchards.

The ride was all down hill through templed villages.

We stopped for a visit in a traditional Balinese family compound.

Here is the ceremonial center of the family compound where birth, teeth filing, marriage and death ceremonies are held.

Cock fights are part of some of the religious ceremonies.

 Family offering altars--a very simple family temple.

The parent's house.

sleeping area

kitchen area

Children's home

New bath and outhouse.

We were taught how to make ceremonial offerings using young palm leaves, bamboo sticks and banana leaves

My handiwork.

My offering.

Third child flying a kite.

Temple tops.

Huge kite. Bali has a kite festival every July.

Off road single track through rice fields. We all loved it.

Iron buffalo.

Our guide Yoga.

Second oldest temple in Bali.

Our biking group: a couple (who are also not fans of President Trump) from Florida who are in Bali for a son's wedding and Peter from Poland who just finished a math degree at the University of Liverpool.

This is how I roll in these post-prostetectomy days.

Back to the Garden Palace Hotel. I swam while the boys hammocked.

That night we watched the always impressive kecak dance. The seated men are the singers, percussionists and story tellers of the Ramayana

For our final day in Bali, the boys decided that white-water river rafting sounded funner that visiting more temples. Plus the Obamas did it. To get to the boat launch site required navigating steep steps down the steep slope of the Ayung River canyon.

 Our friendly boat mate was from France (and was also not a Trump fan).

Thanks Payung Tours for a fun, well managed, adventure.

End of the seven kilometer float.

Later that afternoon we visited the Monkey Forest and Temple in Ubud.

I took great precautions to make sure there was nothing on my body for the monkeys to easily steal. Unfortunately this monkey saw the tiny corner of a plastic bag through a tiny opening in a zippered pouch of my back pack. While we were photo taking he quickly grabbed the bag (with about 8 pink vitamin B-12 pills in it).

He then proceeded to eat the vitamins (they may help any neuropathy he might have). Good thing he missed my Excedrin and Motrin bag. One man watching it all joked that it was better than if he had found Viagra!

Tails were often used to keep children under control.

Next morning we had an early morning flight to Jogjakarta. I thought I had booked a 7:30 am flight, but at the airport we learned is was for that evening at 7:30. Luckily the agent found three seats on a 7:10 am flight. This time the airport gods favored us.

After our two week stay and the English Summer Camp, we caught this nicely decorated train to Jogja for our flight to Bali.

Next morning with joined the tsunami research team for a visit to two schools to teach about tsunami awareness. At an elementary school in Tanjng Benoa we watched the children play a large tsunami related game of ladders and snakes (chutes and ladders). the boys and I then scouted out the two nearby hotels that were the evacuation places for the school kids.

Sate is always a favorite for lunch.

Spent the afternoon at Kuta beach where the boys boogie boarded for four hours.

We took a short break to join 1,000 other tourists to each release a newly hatched sea turtle into the ocean. It was pretty cool.

Recently laid eggs are scooped up and placed in this nest (inside the big turtle above) until they hatch. When they hatch the turtles are collected and then released into the sea.

Off they go

Almost there

A back wave collides with an incoming wave and sends a rapid fire line of water into the air

Not all of the coral has turned to fine sand.

The end of a great day and a great adventure.


  1. I wish I could be there, we used to go there every year for a vacation while we still lived in Indonesia. Your pictures bring all those old memories. Irma

  2. They don't make bikes like we used to ride, Chad!