The first two weeks of our Study Abroad focused on lovely Bali. We started out in Kuta and ended in Ubud--with its beautiful beaches just across the street from our poor wifi, great location hotel.
We arrived on a Sunday afternoon and given the uncertainly of always changing arrival COVID protocols we scheduled nothing other than an arrival reistafel dinner Sunday night and nothing on Monday--which gave Will time to find some soccer jerseys.
The view from the 4th floor pool.
Encouraged to see that our hotel has a tsunami gathering point on the safe fourth floor.
Tuesday we set out for a great day of snorkeling and kayaking in and around Lembogan and Nusa Penida islands.
Our second dive was a drift dive (snorkel) along the Wall.
We spent a night in Bima before flying back to Bali.
Our visit to the rice terraces of Jatiluwi was a great last minute addition to the itinerary. It helped illustrate an article we read about the engineered rice terrace landscape of Bali and the subak (irrigation cooperatives) and water temple system they have used fort centuries. We hiked the red trail.
The terraces were all growing almost ripe red rice that takes six months to mature. Regular white rice takes about three months.
Bought a bag of red rice to try.
This rice is not Green Revolution rice so its stalks are taller and thus more vulnerable to being flattened by wind and rain. I was told the rice was still harvestable.
We bought some cute red rice crackers from him--taste and texture of a fortune cookie.
Members of a Middle East backed Islamic group (Jemaah Islamiyah) in Indonesia carried out the bombing in October 2002 that killed 202 people. First a bomb exploded in the night club full of partying Westerners--mostly Australians and then as people ran out into the street another bomb exploded there. This and a few other bombings (including the Marriott Hotel in Bali) put Indonesia on the do not travel list--something that impacted my research for years to come.
This still vacant lot across the street is where the night club was located.
Sunday morning we attended church at the small Bali Branch. 2/3rds of the congregation were visiting tourists. They meeting in a retail complex in Kuta
Happy to run into Kinatani Subiantoro (also visiting from Jakarta) who was my former TA (Indonesian Language 330)
Also met Sister Ani Limbong, whose father John was my Indonesian teacher in the LTM.
After the two hour meeting block, I gave a fireside to the students and interested branch members about the history of the LDS Church in Indonesia.
In the event of a tsunami, here's no time for the inhabitants to get to safety off the island.
Some students barely made it up the wide ramps that lead up to the tsunami safe upper 4th and 5th floors. On top we talked about an article I helped write about tourism and tsunami mitigation efforts in Bali. The main gist is that tourists along with residents need to know that when the earthquakes for more than 20 seconds they have 20 minutes to get to an elevation of 20 meters because a tsunami may be on its way.
Delicious seafood lunch of fish, crab, clams and shrimp on the beach at Jimbaran.
Final stop of the day Uluwatu Temple (where the fearsome monkeys stole Dan Olsen's glasses, tried a bite of the plastic ear piece, didn't like and threw it away break off an ear piece (which we got replaced the next day in Ubud) and then a very well done performance of the Kecak dance with tales from teh Ramayana.
The rhythmic, animated, male chorus chucked/chanted/sang the whole thing with masks on! They were impressive.
Once place I have always wanted to visit in my several visits to Bali is the Tirta Empul Holy Water Temple.
Nandi (covered in light blue cloth on the left) the vehicle of Shiva (the favorite god on Bali) and a central lingam--a phallic symbol used to represent Vishnu the god of creation and fertility.
Most worship sites in Balinese temples are off limits to non-Hindus. This temple was different. Anyone could don provided robes and immerse themselves in the forgiving, healing waters that gush from a spring up into a pool and then out through cleansing fountains.
Sudi did a great job of walking us through the ritual and contextualizing it so that people of all religions can relate. W started with a little meditation which allowed us to focus on diety (of our choice) and on things we have done wrong that we want to be cleansed from. In many ways the whole ritual reminded me of a combination of baptism and sacrament taking.
At each spot were were to take three rinks of whole water and immerse our head.
Entering the next pool.
Next day we learned to cook with Paon Bali Cooking. First stop was the Ubud market to see where ingredients are bought. Kangkung (water lilly)
We learned to cook in a traditional Balinese home complete with an elevated house temple in the corner closet to the mountains.
Every morning the monkeys would crawl out from scavenging in Ubud and return along power lines and roofs to the forest. The Ubud Cottage Inn was closed for two years and the monkeys wreaked havoc on its TV and wifi wiring.
After the nice ride, we cooled off in a water fall, had lunch and learned how to properly decorate offering baskets.
Our last day in Bali was open for a variety of possible adventures/activities. We chose to go with most of the students to the Mason Elephant Park. I was skeptical at first, but when I learned that all of the elephants in the park were rescued Sumatran elephants and then saw how they were cared for and how active they were, I decided this was a good thing. We all had fun and learned a few things too.
Bali was good to us. On to Java.