Thailand- Protesting in Bangkok near MBK mall 10Feb14

Another hot and humid day in Asia. But at least it’s not rainy season here in Thailand like it is in Indonesia. I’m looking forward to being able to shower and actually dry off, rather than begin sweating again immediately. Even after two months here, humidity still kicks our asses.
We spent the first half of the day on a mission to find Nick some catheters to get him through the remainder of his stay here in Thailand. I leave on the 12th of Feb, he goes home the 27th. It was too expensive to change his flight to be on mine, so he’s just going to stay a little longer.
It wasn’t easy finding the hospital, and it was even more challenging trying to convey what we needed once we got there. After about an hour or so, we walked away with half the amount he needed and decided it was a success and went about our day.
We had the greatest tuk tuk driver ever. His name was Alok, and he loved to laugh!

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Next stop: MBK mall.
Whoa. This mall is crazy. I’d say it’s about fifteen malls crammed into the space of five malls. Seven floors of wall to wall stalls selling anything and everything.

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It’s so big and confusing that they offer a comprehensive map that turns out being of no assistance once you’re actually lost. We spent a lot of time on the electronics floor browsing gadgets, phone accessories, and bootleg movies and software.

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At some point we went outside because we heard a loud speaker and found ourselves right in the middle of a protest rally. Ahhhh, so this is what all the hubbub is about in the media; people demonstrating, rallying together for change, camping out, and showing Thailand’s true spirit of independence. The Thais are very proud that they’ve never been occupied or colonized by any other nation, and are now calling for political change.
Truly, I know very little about what’s going on, but I know some people have been hurt and killed. What Isaw though was anything but violent. People singing, waving flags, making red, white, and blue handicrafts to sell, people camping and sleeping and being fed by a food line. I witnessed togetherness.

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The sweet girls handing out noodles insisted I get a bowl, and they loved to smile for my photos.

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I was offered free coffee as well but was never approached to buy anything. I wandered around the area for 15-20 minutes while Nick stayed in his wheelchair by the mall entrance. I’m very grateful to have had this experience.

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Thailand- Bangkok, KhoaSan 9Feb14

I experienced immediate relief upon landing in Bangkok. I just feel more comfortable in Thailand. We made our way back to Chada Guesthouse on KhoaSan Road. Even though it’s not the absolute most perfect location for us, we knew it would be comfortable and reliable in our final days together in BK.
We settled in and had some street pad thai for only 50 baht while enjoying the priceless people watching in Southeast Asia backpacker central.

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KhoaSan Road is like Venice Beach California on hallucinogenics. People come here for shopping and partying. It’s like a free pass to Idiotsville for some travelers who just get wasted and do stupid shit.
The place really comes alive after dark. New vendors begin setting up their merch, food stalls wheel into the street, bars set up tables further and further into the street. Cars become fewer and foot traffic steadily increases as the space to walk decreases. Touts try to stop you every few feet: suit makers, tribal ladies, T-shirt salesmen, ping pong shows, massage, you name it.
We were in bed by 10, ear plugs in, music thumping hard through the walls until well after 2. But just because the music stops it doesn’t mean the party’s over.

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I was up early the next day and back out on the street looking for food by 8am. Party central was now a creepy ghost town. No food vendors, no vendors of any kind. A few restaurants were open. So were the 7-11’s. Traffic flowed beautifully down the street that was a complete chaotic zoo only 6 hours before.

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For this very reason Bangkok and I just aren’t a good fit. I enjoy a brief stay here to prepare for transit, but could never fall in love with the place. Nick and I are just operating at a different level, a slower speed than what Bangkok offers.

Bali- one day in Ubud before flying out Feb8, 14

We decided to spend our last day in Bali in Ubud in order to do a little souvenir shopping and make up for getting stuck in bed the last time around.
We visited two restaurants that had been recommended: Crispy Duck and Ibu Oka. Crispy duck is a specialty of the area and very popular with tourists. The restaurant was gorgeous. The food was nothing special. We got the recommended dish. It was a piece of deep fried duck with cold French fries. Like KFC but KFD. There wasn’t much meat either. Oh well, at least we tried it.
We also sought out Ibu Oka upon recommendation by Putu our cab driving friend. He said it was suckling pig (babi guling) soup with fresh pig blood. I was intrigued and really wanted to try it. The place he told us to go turned out to be a killer location over looking the jungle but they didn’t have the lawar, the blood soup. I was bummed, but ordered the babi guling sampler plate and was very happy. Lots of crispy pig skin and even a “sausage” filled with organ meat (that was black and gross).

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In preparation for the Tibetan singing bowl meditation we were planning to attend at the Yoga Barn that evening, we stopped into the Tibetan shop to buy one. I’ve wanted one for years, and now that I’m a yoga instructor I realllllly want one for my classes.

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Nick and I had the best time playing the bowls together. He had never seen one but instantly fell in love. We spent about an hour trying them all and finding the perfect one for us. I was shocked when he wanted one too. Even more shocked when he got one for me as a gift. Best gift ever! Thank you honey!
We also did some shopping at local wood crafting stores. Ubud is filled with insanely skilled craftsmen.

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I did not buy the giant penis. But Nick did buy some stuff while sitting on his bike. That lady was relentless.

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The Tibetan singing bowl meditation was alright. It’s such a let down whenever I have high expectations here in Asia. Gotta let that go. I mean, we enjoyed ourselves. We laid down in the dark in a room with thirty other people and listened to a dude ding and sing the bowls, but it wasn’t anything I’d do again. Maybe if we didn’t have to arrive over an hour early and sit there and wait in order to get a spot, I wouldn’t have thought much of it. We went back to the guesthouse and had our own duet concert with our new bowls afterward and enjoyed it much more.

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Bali- Manta Rays on Nusa Lembongan -Feb 6&7

We heard the diving would be amazing in Lembongan but we had nooooo idea why. There’s tons of manta rays there, that’s why!

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They are not threatening to humans, as they don’t have a stinger or vicious teeth or an appetite for flesh. They filter feed on plankton, sweeping it into their mouths and grinding with their more than 2000 “teeth”. These teeth are the reason they are so hunted by humans. The Chinese believe some bullshit that eating ground manta teeth will filter their blood. These animals are threatened with extinction if it’s not stopped.
We went to a manta ray talk by a scientist living on Lembongan. She works for Aquatic Alliance and only studies manta rays. Her and her associates have been slaving for years to get the government of Indonesia to recognize the damage their manta fisheries are doing, a huge one located just one island over from Bali on Lombok. Just a week before we arrived on the island, they were successful in getting federal protection for the manta rays! Not sure if that will mean the hunting will actually stop, but it’s a great start. The woman cried as she was telling us about it. Talk about passion in action! Very inspiring work.

We scuba dived at a spot called secret manta. Theres nothing secret about this spot. Dozens of boats were already there when we arrived at 9am.
The mantas swam back and forth above us in a very heavy current. at points we had to hold onto rocks to keep from floating away. And after only five minutes our guide decided we should swim away and go look at other shit. I was so so soooo upset. I nearly cried on the boat when we were leaving the dive site to go to a different place to dive. I asked if instead of leaving we could do another dive with them and actually STAY with them, but I was out-voted. It baffled me that we weren’t automatically doing two dives with the mantas. That’s the main attraction on Lembongan. There were a half dozen mantas just swimming around. I just knew we had to come back the next day. I needed more manta time.

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But at our next site we saw another rare, amazing fish, the mola mola. Holy mola mola, that sucker was big… and weird! The picture below of the mola (also called a Sun Fish, or Moon fish if you’re European) is not of us. I just grabbed one online to show what a massive fish it is. The one we saw looked just like that. He was stoic! The current was insane there as well. We held onto rocks for dear life at 30 meters to sit and observe the mola. Even though I enjoy scuba diving to look at corral and small things, there’s nothing like swimming with the big creatures of the ocean world. Nothing! These dives made me want to seek diving destinations based upon seeing more large fish and sharks rather than just beauty. We want to see whale sharks,

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The next day we went out to Secret Manta dive site and I made it perfectly clear that we were to spend the entire dive watching and filming the mantas. We hung out with them for 45 minutes! Being underneath them is sooooo cool!!! Like a snowflake, no two mantas have exactly the same markings. So they are easy to name, spot, and track. We swam with one with a giant W on his belly. The current was much less strong and so it was easier to stay put and just allow them to swim by. They are very curious, sometimes swimming right at you and then corkscrewing in front of you.
They are technically a fish and they never stop swimming, even to sleep, eat, or give birth. We watched a video of a manta in captivity giving birth. The baby comes out and begins swimming right away, abandoned forever by it’s mother. After an uncomfortable twelve month pregnancy, I can see why! Nobody has ever witnessed a manta give birth in the wild.

After our dives (only one with the mantas) I insisted we hire a boat to go back out and snorkel with them one last time. I noticed the snorkelers were having a much different experience with them. They got a lot closer because the mantas swim along the surface.

By the time we got back to secret manta, all the mantas (and boats) were gone. We drove the boat slowly all along the island until we spotted one and jumped in. We did this three separate times and spent about an hour swimming privately with the mantas. What a treat since the scuba dives included about 25 other divers!

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There was so much trash in the water we could not believe it. At times it was hard to even see the mantas through all the trash. The trash comes into the bay areas the same way the plankton does, by the current. They both collect there, and that’s why the mantas go there to feed. It was so sad to see plastic floating around and getting into their mouths. During our snorkeling the trash was so thick at the surface it kept getting stuck in my hair, and sometimes we couldn’t see the mantas coming at us. I even found a tiny crab in my hair when I got back to the hotel and started shampooing the trash out of my hair! I photoshopped the trash out of my photos as much as I could, but there was so much. And despite the nastiness of all the plastic, swimming with the mantas was an amazing high to wind our trip down with.

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Bali- Nusa Lembongan island Feb2 – Feb7 part 1

All the days have successfully blended together for us on Nusa Lembongan. We spent the entire week relaxing hard!
The view of our hotel from out in the water

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There was a bit of snorkeling. We went out into the water in front of our hotel. The surf break out about 400 meters from shore is named Shipwreck. Everything this side of the break is super calm and would be amazing for snorkeling if there was anything interesting to see down there.

On day two when we donned our masks and took a swim out, for the first two minutes I was completely captivated by all the underwater seaweed farms. And then I realized there are hundreds of them covering every bit of shallow water surrounding Lembongan and the two neighboring islands just east of here but still part of Bali (Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Penida).

Seaweed cultivation and exportation is Nusa Lembongans big industry. Many families grow, harvest, dry, and sell their seaweed to Japan. All along the coasts and in between buildings there are tarps laid out with drying seaweed. The entire place fucking reeks of seaweed. Heat from the sun plus seaweed equals yucky smells.

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The current price for seaweed is 10,000 rupiah per kilo. That’s 38 cents per pound! The locals are stoked, because just a few months ago they were only getting 2,000 rupiah per kilo.

It’s hard work being a seaweed farmer. They are always working. The crops have a three week cycle. Daily they go out in their boats, or on foot at low tide, bring a few baskets of seaweed in, remove the pieces from their securely tied strings, pick out the good ones, break them in half and string them back together with the “bad” ones and put them back underwater to grow bigger. Then they sort and dry and wait for the “big boat from Bali” to come at the end of the month and pick up the finished product. That one boat buys all the seaweed on the three islands.

Lembongan is the first place on this trip where I feel like I’m submerged in local “daily life”. Everywhere we go, people are working, mainly farming and construction, not just doing tourist stuff. They are up very, very early working, and I see dozens of seaweed farmers beginning work at low tide at sunset and working late into the night with flashlights.

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Lembongan folk are also extremely friendly. On our last night we pulled up to a market for water and Nick was greeted with a shot glass and a smile. A few locals were gathered around drinking, and listening to music bumpin loud on their motorbikes sound system.

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We had scooters the entire time and traveled all over the island, and even crossed a little bridge over to the smaller island Nusa Ceningan.

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On Ceningan there is a cliff jumping spot where you can pay 50,000 rupiah to jump from 13 meters and then climb a ladder back up. The swells were much too big to jump. We imagine the waves would smash a person into the rocks before they could swim to the ladder. The spot was so beautiful though, we had to stop and enjoy the big waves.

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We met a few new people who wanted to jump too. One was ready to go, safe or not! Crazy Canadian, ay.

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Never mind Nicks hat, he only had it for one day before someone stole it off his bike. He was relieved.

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The Balinese kids are awesome! We stopped in a tiny little village on the other side of the island and bought a bracelet from these kids.

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I mentioned that kids start driving young. On our ride around the long side of the island, we were greeted by these three little dudes who were so excited to have their picture taken.

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Some other random pics from our awesome time on Lembongan.

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We took a boat tour through the mangrove forest. Can’t lie: it was a little boring, but still beautiful. Felt nice to support a hard working man who is trying to support his family. He told us he wishes he could visit America and places he sees on TV but has to work everyday to support his family. Another local we met who has never been off this island.

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Bali – Exploring Nusa Lembongan on motorbike 1Feb14

We slept well in our new posh place. Finally Nick had a few extra pillows to cuddle with.
For the first time on our trip, I got up and out of the room before Nick and went for a walk down the beach. This is the kind of beach that isn’t very comfortable to go long distances while barefoot. The sand is course, with corral pieces mixed in. It’s also, unfortunately, not a beach very friendly to runners. There’s a lot of trash and sea weed and corral at the tide line, and a boat tied down every ten to twenty feet. The ropes stretch far up the sand and bob up and down with the waves. It would be like running hurdles through trash. I chose to just trudge through the soft sand.

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We had our free omelets and tea right on the beach and just sat to enjoy the view for a while before renting motorbikes. We got two of the staff members personal bikes, one with a pimped out loud pipe.

We took off to explore the island. The main road along the main surf break goes up into the hills and winds around to little villages where all the locals live. We loosely followed the map, but mainly just explored by feel. Nick led us down a tiny dirt road that opened up to huge green fields over looking the ocean. We found our favorite place of the entire trip so far.

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After sitting and marveling over mother earths great beauty, we set out to find a better view of the giant crashing waves, and found this sensational rocky point.

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We met a curious local names Frey, who insisted on taking tons of pictures with Nick.

A little concerned we would get dumped on at sunset, we headed back to our place at Turci Bungalows. On the way we found a cemetery. You don’t see many cemeteries in Asia because they do a lot of cremation. This was my favorite, random grave site, among many other randomly placed ones.

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Bali- Kopi Lewak on the way to Lembongan 31Jan14

We knew we were done in Pemuteran because of Nicks ear problems, but the real problem arose when we couldn’t decide where to go next. Most of our desired Balinese destinations revolve around diving, and one of the top picks is an area with no motorized transport. It took us about two days to decide where to head next, and we settled on Nusa Lembongan. We got a good recommend from a German couple, and decided to go for it!

Nusa Lembongan is a little island off the south east tip of Bali, and technically is still part of Bali. We read that Lembongan has the small island feel, beautiful beaches, Bali charm, and world class diving. Sold!

Our friend GeDe, the one who cooked the fish for us, drove us the four hours south from Pemuteran to Sanur to catch the fast boat to Nusa Lembongan. Putu came with us too, just for a good time.

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For our “coffee break” during the drive, GeDe suggested trying Kopi Lewak. I immediately recognized what he was saying: cat poo coffee. Someone back home told me to find it here in Bali. I had forgotten all about it until GeDe brought it up. Hell yea we wanted to try cat poo coffee. Where do we sign up?

Little did we know we were going to get a complete tour and educational experience, along with a full blown tasting of various coffees and teas.

To make a short story out of a long process, basically this “cat” eats coffee beans whole, they ferment in it’s gut, and then he takes a shit. They harvest the poo, separate and clean the beans, and then roast them by hand for 45 minutes. Then, voila, you have Kopi Lewak! They don’t brew the coffee either, it’s ground and then mixed with water. All the coffee here is “instant.” This company keeps four “cats” for bean making and also harvests the poo of ferrel cats who feed off of the coffee plants in the area. It’s a lot of work.

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Surprisingly, cat poo coffee tastes pretty good.

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In my opinion it doesn’t taste good enough to warrant the price tag. A small cup is 50,000 rupiah, which is a little over $4US. A regular size bag of beans is over $50US. The process is long, and it’s so… exotic. That’s the reason why it’s so expensive, not because it’s overly delicious. Kopi Lewak tastes better than traditional Balinese coffee. Balinese coffee is disgusting. I tried it three different days when we first arrived in Bali, and finally began purchasing my own packs of instant coffee at the markets and asking for hot water with breakfast. They gave us some regular Bali coffee during our tasting and it was just as gross as ever. The coconut coffee and mangosteen tea were our favorites though.

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GeDe and Putu were so cool to us. GeDe made sure his uncle was at the dock to greet us and carry our bags. They stayed with us over two hours to make sure we got on the boat safely. Putu even paid for me to use the public toilet when I accidentally walked away without paying. GeDe also hooked us up with another uncle on Lembongan who owns a beautiful beachfront hotel. He arranged for us to get a 500,000 rupiah a night room for only 300,000.

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Ahhhhhh Nusa Lembongan. Finally, the true Balinese paradise we have been waiting for!

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This place is incredible! Our hotel is beautiful. It’s right on the beach. It’s quiet. Not crowded. Small streets. Super chill. Friendly people. There are hotels for tourists to stay in, and several dive shops, but it doesn’t feel touristy at all. There are no Circle K’s or rows of shops selling the same cheap touristy merchandise.

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The only crazy thing is that our hotel has no main access to the road. We had to walk pretty far through the neighboring hotels property out onto the beach and then across into the Turci Bungalow property. It was way too far for Nick. Thank god two guys were waiting on the street for us and carried his bags. We were prepared to begin looking for a new hotel the next day, until we met Gede’s uncle Agus and told him our dilemma: the hotel is not accessible enough for us. He told us of an area on the beach just two properties north where we can park. We still have to walk across the sand a bit, but it’s about ten times more convenient than the “normal” way of getting here. We’re very grateful for that easy fix, because we love it here and will likely stay here for the remaining nine days until our flight back to Bangkok.

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Bali- 3 days in Pemuteran Jan 28-30

We spent three full days in the north of Bali in a sleepy little town called Pemuteran. It’s the only dive destination in the north, so there’s a ton of dive shops, a few hotels and restaurants, and a whole lot of nothing else.

For the last 16 years they’ve been running a project called Bio Rock and rebuilding the local reef with electricity. There’s a solar panel raft floating about 25 meters off shore that sends electricity down to the metal frames underwater that helps stimulate corral life on them. One looked like a UFO, one looked like a star, one was in the shape of a dudes name. It was the best snorkeling I’ve ever done! The three of us actually snorkeled there yesterday on Nicks birthday as soon as we got into town at sunset. It began pouring rain and made for such a beautiful experience together.

The next morning we went scuba diving at nearby uninhabited Menjangen Island. From the boat we could see deer on the island, fitting since menjangen means deer in Indonesian.

Ketut was our dive guide and he took us along two very beautiful walls. The variety of color, size, and texture of the corral life was stunning. Throughout both 50 minute dives I kept repeating to myself, “Oh my god Lindsay, you’re diving in Indonesia!” We’ve been in Asia for so long now that everything just feels normal, and so I really needed to remind myself that we are on the other side of the planet, somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit, doing something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve been dreaming of this for years and it’s finally happening. After everything Fener and I have been through in the last two and a half years, we have somehow found ourselves scuba diving in Bali. Right now. Wow.

Unfortunately, Nick had sinus congestion and his ears didn’t appreciate the two dives. He needs to let them chill out for a bit before diving again. Terrible timing, again, for an issue to arise on this trip.

The next day Brandon went diving without us and we set out to find Nick some antibiotics to get the ear situation handled as soon as possible. We don’t normally jump into antibiotics as a “cure-all” but time is of the essence here and it’s clear he will need them at some point anyway.

The north side of Bali is fairly remote. We had to drive over an hour on the scooters to get to the closest pharmacy. On our drive we saw dozens of mechanics. Dozens of people selling durians on the side of the road (more on that later). But no pharmacies. There’s a pharmacy on every corner in Thailand, and in Kuta. Westerners love their prescription drugs. Basically, in Thailand and Indonesia, if you know the name of it, you can buy it.

We were on the road so long that day, we both got totally sun burned. First sunburn of the trip, and it wasn’t from lazing on the beach, it was from driving around looking for drugs. Classic.

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We stopped at a fruit vendor and bought a kilo of mangosteen (my favorite!) and a kilo of lychee (my second favorite!) and a durian. Durians are notorious around the world for their rank smell. Some hotels in Asia have signs posted telling tourists that durians are not allowed on their property. The smell is so strong you can smell them from inside a car when you’re driving by a freshly cut fruit. We’ve been told the taste is good but the smell is bad. Well, we’re here to confirm that they do indeed smell bad, but not as terrible as we anticipated when you’re up close. The taste and texture though, is quite awful. It’s like a creamy, slimy, mucus-y, puke-colored green, blob of shit with a pit in it (those are Nicks words).

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The taste is gross. We had to “chase” it with a lychee to get the putrid taste out of our mouths. How on earth are these “fruits” so popular? They grow everywhere, and are currently in season here on Bali, but that doesn’t automatically mean people should EAT them. It’s totally crazy to us.

That evening we were invited to the dive shop for dinner with the guys. Ketut’s twin brother Ketut caught three Groupers and then barbecued them for us. We sat around the picnic table for hours just laughing and talking.

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They all spoke a little English, some better than others. As the night went on, the English got worse and the talking became more like yelling. They were all taking shots from a water bottle filled with a home made, clear alcohol called arak. They loooove their arak! It’s illegal, like moonshine is in the states. They made me take a shot (I normally don’t do shots, but…) and it was strong and nasty and I will never do that again.

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Ketut mentioned to Fener that there was a local dude in the village missing both his legs. Nick said he wanted to meet him so Ketut took off down the road. Ten minutes later the kid walks up on two prosthetic legs. He was missing his right hand and had a claw-looking hand for the left. He was obviously defected at birth, which must be a very hard life for him here in Bali. His friends treated him well though, and he seemed to fit in just fine. At 17, it was a little shocking to see him smoking and drinking too, but that’s just how it goes. Kids drive motorbikes on the streets at ages 6 and 7 so I guess they grow up fast here. This kid walked extremely well for the set-up he had. He literally had nothing holding his legs on. His stumps just slid inside the sockets and that’s it. Nick would never get away with that; his legs would go flying off! It was such a pleasure to meet this kid and show him that he’s not actually so different after all. It also gave us a little more to be grateful for as well.

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At some point we lit off some fireworks and exchanged Facebook info.

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These dudes were cool, and we all really enjoyed each others company. What a relief to befriend locals and not feel like they wanted to swindle us for cash. In fact, Ketut and Putu offered to show us around their town the next day.

We met with Putu and Ketut in the morning and went riding down the main road toward a beach side temple. As an aside, I want to say a little bit about the names here. Basically, Balinese babies receive their names based upon the birth order. So, you will meet tons of Wayans, because that’s the name given to the first born. Ketut is second born I believe, and Putu is fourth born. So, our taxi drivers name is Putu, and so is our diving friend. Easy enough to remember I suppose.

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We went to a beautiful temple on the ocean where monkeys were the main inhabitants.

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And then they took us down a tiny, rocky dirt road to a different stretch of the beach we would never have found otherwise. We passed fields of corn and cows, and of course rice and fruit trees. Ketut lives nearby, and we were hanging out on the beach outside of his friends house. We didn’t realize it at first but they brought us to this place to have lunch. As soon as we got off the bikes Putu began gathering wood for a fire. A few moments later Ketut surfaced with five ears of corn, a few bananas, and some lychee fruit, before disappearing again. This particular type of corn is eaten raw. It tasted good, but not great. Raw corn is not something I’d make a habit of eating.

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Putu got a good fire going and Ketut came back with an arm full of corn and coconuts. They sat and roasted the corn cobs for us, and cut the coconuts for us to drink, complete with straws!
The corn was awesome. The charred bits tasted like popcorn. I know I’ve never eaten fresh picked corn like that. They even split the coconuts for us to eat when the water was gone. We ate on the shady sand and watched Ketut’s little brothers play in the water, riding the mini waves on giant chunks of styrofoam. They said they do this often, and I believe it. Living off the land, eating free food, and just enjoying all the gifts of the earth in a beautiful place like Bali. I get it.

We set off for the hotel so the boys could play on Brandon’s slack line. By this point it was so hot, and the air was so still and humid, I couldn’t stand it and got in the pool instead. But not before capturing this awesomeness.

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Nick went for two rounds on the slack line. He surprised me when he said it didn’t bother his stumps. He flirted with letting go, but always kept a hand close to the guys. I know how hard slack line is after trying it in Tonsai. I couldn’t let go at all either, and I have ankles and calf muscles to help me balance.

This was Brandon’s last day with us before flying back to Guam. We said bye to him and lounged in the pool until sunset.

Bali – Nick’s Bday in Permuteran -27Jan14

We took off early on a four hour drive north with Putu and made a few stops along the way. Turned out to be such an epic trip. The Bali countryside is gorgeous. So lush! Watermelons are in season, so is rice i guess. Wondering if rice is ever not in season.

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We got the surprised of a lifetime when we pulled over to take photos of the Twin Lakes below and happened upon a dude with bats, snakes, and lizards. He was charging tourists a few bucks to take pictures with them.
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Holy shit I’ve never been so close to a bat before, let alone touch it and hold it. Their leathery wings felt delicate to me, even though I’m sure they’re super tough. The one I held was called Leyla. When she shifted on my waist, her little claws were scratching my ski and I could tell she just wanted to be back on her perch, sleeping upside down. I felt a little bit bad about messing with them during their sleep time, but I couldn’t miss this amazing opportunity.
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These fruit bats were huge! And surprisingly cute! Their little faces reminded us of our MIA dog at home.
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And then he brought out the baby Burmese python. I was a little intimidated, that’s for sure.
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The lizards were cool too. We’ve become quite the animal tourists over here in south east Asia.
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Next stop was a waterfall. By the way, I had no idea we were even stopping at all, so this was such an amazing surprise as well. Nick had to stay back at the car because it was about a quarter mile hike down into the jungle. He made a friend though, as he always does. Apparently they had a great conversation about the swastika and how it has been a symbol of peace and harmony for hundreds and hundreds of years before Hitler got a hold of it. Sadly, we had no idea until we began seeing it everywhere here in Asia.
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Back to the waterfall. Oh my GOD, I am in love with waterfalls now. This particular one was very shallow all the way until the base. I felt so tiny next to it’s massive power. I could have stayed there all day. Brandon and I lucked out to have about 20 minutes without any other tourists crowding our shots!
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Once in the tiny town of Permuteran on the north west side of Bali, we settled into the first place we saw: Suka Sari. What a find! Thanks Putu for carrying Nick’s bags.
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The bathroom! Outdoor shower, shaded by banana trees. Wow. We can’t wait to shit under the stars (if it’ll ever clear up).
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Other than all THAT amazingness, Nick’s 36th Birthday was fairly uneventful. Brandon got a bottle of Absolute vodka and we had the fresh catch of the day (Mahi Mahi) at our hotel restaurant while it rained outside. And by fresh, I mean fresh. This is the dude who caught it.
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Bali – Nick’s Bday traveling to Permuteran 27Jan14

We took off early on a four hour drive north with Putu and made a few stops along the way. Turned out to be such an epic trip. The Bali countryside is gorgeous. So lush! Watermelons are in season, so is rice i guess. Wondering if rice is ever not in season.
IMG_9010
IMG_9012
IMG_9014
IMG_9013
IMG_9016
IMG_9015
We got the surprised of a lifetime when we pulled over to take photos of the Twin Lakes below and happened upon a dude with bats, snakes, and lizards. He was charging tourists a few bucks to take pictures with them.
IMG_9017
IMG_8929
Holy shit I’ve never been so close to a bat before, let alone touch it and hold it. Their leathery wings felt delicate to me, even though I’m sure they’re super tough. The one I held was called Leyla. When she shifted on my waist, her little claws were scratching my ski and I could tell she just wanted to be back on her perch, sleeping upside down. I felt a little bit bad about messing with them during their sleep time, but I couldn’t miss this amazing opportunity.
IMG_9018
IMG_9020
These fruit bats were huge! And surprisingly cute! Their little faces reminded us of our MIA dog at home.
IMG_9029
IMG_9031
And then he brought out the baby Burmese python. I was a little intimidated, that’s for sure.
IMG_9028
IMG_9025
IMG_9027
The lizards were cool too. We’ve become quite the animal tourists over here in south east Asia.
IMG_9021
IMG_9022
Next stop was a waterfall. By the way, I had no idea we were even stopping at all, so this was such an amazing surprise as well. Nick had to stay back at the car because it was about a quarter mile hike down into the jungle. He made a friend though, as he always does. Apparently they had a great conversation about the swastika and how it has been a symbol of peace and harmony for hundreds and hundreds of years before Hitler got a hold of it. Sadly, we had no idea until we began seeing it everywhere here in Asia.
IMG_9036
Back to the waterfall. Oh my GOD, I am in love with waterfalls now. This particular one was very shallow all the way until the base. I felt so tiny next to it’s massive power. I could have stayed there all day. Brandon and I lucked out to have about 20 minutes without any other tourists crowding our shots!
IMG_9035
IMG_9032
IMG_9033
IMG_9034
Once in the tiny town of Permuteran on the north west side of Bali, we settled into the first place we saw: Suka Sari. What a find! Thanks Putu for carrying Nick’s bags.
IMG_9037
IMG_9050
IMG_9040
IMG_9041
The bathroom! Outdoor shower, shaded by banana trees. Wow. We can’t wait to shit under the stars (if it’ll ever clear up).
IMG_9038
IMG_9039
Other than all THAT amazingness, Nick’s 36th Birthday was fairly uneventful. Brandon got a bottle of Absolute vodka and we had the fresh catch of the day (Mahi Mahi) at our hotel restaurant while it rained outside. And by fresh, I mean fresh. This is the dude who caught it.
IMG_9043