i'm finally fully recovered from that nasty nasty bout of dengue (that i was unaware i even had). hurrah for me! all the warnings about the deadliness of that disease had me paranoid for a couple of days after leaving the hospital. every itch and twitch had me pondering over the cause. cranky panties girl is gone .. now i'm just waiting for the bruises from the I.V. to go away.
back to indonesia. i adore bali! indonesia, as it turns out, is a dominantly muslim country. bali is home to the majority of the hindu population. their version of hindu, referred to as balinese hindu, is a combination of indian hindu, buddhism and local beliefs. it makes for a quaint, peace loving ambiance. it is the cornerstone of what makes bali so refreshing. artful carvings in wood and stone rise up above the shop lined streets or appear in the alleys between the stores giving the impression of old world meeting new in a mecca of fashion and retail. the people are relaxed and so sweet. their inner peace and happiness makes me consider taking up their religion.
turn instant millionaire in this country! one million rupiah is about $85 and if you could leave the princess behind (there is a princess in everyone boys.. even you), you could live in this country for under $500 / month. we rented a room for $8 a day! it had a shower (though no hot water -- i can see sylvia scowling), 2 beds and space to keep our stuff. i know we could have totally gotten two rooms but seriously.. the bargainers in us were up full force. we were budget travelling for sure. every penny we saved on accomodations we spent on drinks! we had our priorities.
cheap everything + happy accomodating people = lotsa toursists. this was the backpacking mecca of europe and australia it seemed. walking thru bali was like walking through a busy international airport. it was a great place to meet a whole lot of different people.
so here's the weirdest part... in the philippines people held me at arms length as i grew up because i didn't look like the locals. to my people i looked "american" -- everyone who had fair skin and light brown hair was considered american and blonde. in indonesia the locals would speak to me in balinese or indonesian. they either knew i was filipino off the bat or thought i was a local. kinda funny.
indonesia is below the philippines but only a few hours away. although the countries on this corner (philippines, malaysia, singapore and indonesia) are considered part of asia, the features are far from the "typical asian". we have rounder eyes and darker complections in the pacific islands. and our proximity to each other points to migration patterns that allowed for a similarity in features, languages and cultures.
the artistry of bali is apparent in all the temples (large and small) found everywhere in bali. offerings are placed everywhere, at temples, store fronts, even taxi cabs. in their religion they pray for everything and everyone. this generosity is typical of the balinese people. a word of caution though, this generosity does NOT extend to pricing of anything. everything, from taxi fares to small wares in the shops MUST be haggled over. sometimes the agreed price is a third of the original quote! sharpen your skillz before you get here or hone them here at your own risk lol... but don't forget to have fun!
leave the princess at home and do $8/a day at a place like this. be big pimipin like curtis for just that much! (fyi.. for the squeamish out there, that picture was staged). move up to airconditioning and hot water for $25/day. eat where the locals eat and experience savory curries ($6 fed 3 of us and got curtis a bottle of beer). you can walk to everything but if you need a longer trip, rent a motorbike for $4/day. you really could live like a king on this island even with a small pension.
there was art everywhere! the weaving process and batik process were explained to us at length at this factory. they had amazing batik art canvases on sale. we also visited a silver shop were we were shown the jewelry making process. wood carvings and stone carvings are found everywhere! the fashion in this area is a fusion of local artistry as well as international influence from around the world. shopper whores beware... you'll never want to leave this place!
on the next chapter... GILI INDONESIA and the friends we met along the way.