Thursday, May 26, 2022

Study Abroad Bali


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. 

Here are the students is the rough water of well named Manta Bay.

Thanks to our dive company hosts for these amazing photos of mantas and us snorkeling. 

Will up close and personal. 

Our second dive was a drift dive (snorkel) along the Wall.

Harvested sea weed.

Mangrove forests can help lessen the impact of tsunamis. 

Kayaking jam.

Shrimp pens.

Bracelet shopping. Merchants were so excited (and desperate) to see tourists once again. 

On Wednesday we took a three day break to fly to the island of Sumbawa to hike Mt. Tambora. The only other living things we encountered out our tree day jeep and feet trek were lots of cows looking for foot in the foothills. See my previous post for more on Tambora. 

At the summit

We spent a night in Bima before flying back to Bali. 

I had hoped my right side window seat would provide a good view of Tambora. It may be behind these clouds.

Or these,

Loved seeing the rice paddies and domed mosque villages of beautiful Lombok.

Kuta Lombok Bay where we did tsunami research in 2017.

West end of Lombok.

Kuta Beach

We did some boogie boarding.


McKay did some surfing. 

Tanah Lot Hindu Temple

Sudi, our guide for a few days. 

The whole group

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. 

Back in 2017 Barack Obama tread this path and shook hands with this friendly rice farmer.

We bought some cute red rice crackers from him--taste and texture of a fortune cookie. 

The local water temple where offerings help to insure a good harvest. 

Not your normal indoor Christmas Poinsettia.

Lunch at Taco Casa was a big hit with everyone. Surprisingly good. 

Our final stop of the day was to the Bali Bombing Memorial. 

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. 

After church we visited the TES (Tsunami Evacuation Shelter) on the flat island of Serangan.

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.

Happy to see this tsunami evacuation sign at the entrance to the parking lot. 

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.

The evil Ravana and imperiled Sita.

The grand arrival of Hanuman to help save the day by saving Sita.

Pigs are a rare site in other parts of Indonesia.

We keep running into big, non-venomous, docile spiders. 

Besakih Temple. The mother temple of Balinese Hinduism. With holy Mt Agung in the background. 

Most Balinese come here at least once a year and also after cremations of family members. 

Lunch with a view.

The view.

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. 

The spring and pool

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. 

Gathering holy water to take back to a village

Everyone loved feeding the Koi

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)

Galagal, aromatic ginger, and ginger. 

Lemon grass, a favorite

Young papaya leaves eaten as a bitter green. 

Mung bean cooked in coconut mild and palm sugar is a tasty treat.

We learned to cook in a traditional Balinese home complete with an elevated  house temple in the corner closet to the mountains. 

Family gathering place and site of non-religious ceremonies like weddings. 

Room for the eldest couple in the family.

Happy we didn't have to do all of the food prep.

It was all delicious. 

That afternoon was free. Most of us walked down the street to the monkey forest. 

When not eating, grooming, playing or looking cute, two in a group had scratch and bite mishaps.

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. 

Breakfast with a view at the beginning of our day of biking.

The View

Mt Agung in the distance.

Mt. Batur

At the beginning of our bike ride.

We walked off road to learn about rice harvesting. 

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. 

My favorite Hindu deity--Ganesha

Bali was good to us. On to Java. 

No comments:

Post a Comment