Bali 1: Cockeyed Romantic

Bali

Cockeyed Romantic

It’s true, we fell in love. Call us romantic, call us naïve or foolish, but we had thoughts, dangerous ones, ––trade in the business and mortgage, for a more gentle and simpler way of life–– in Bali. Coming to my senses and my real life obligations, practicality seized me. I realized we were in Bali for business.  My dear wife Jessica and awesome partner, continued day dreaming, at least for a while.

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Jess and I consider this one of our best trips ever. The quest to find “the hidden gems” was exciting, with our bounty far exceeding our expectations.

In fact our newly purchased inventory was walking out of the door before it even arrived at our Palm Harbor warehouse.

Bali accommodations were very comfortable and priced extremely fair. A nice, clean place with private pool is $15 to $20 per day.

Jess and I are working at being the seasoned travelers, which we love, but our palette is more provincial when it comes to food. Truth be said, we ate at the same place every day. The innkeepers got to know our peculiar preference for minimally seasoned food and kindly provided it.  We’re working at waking up our taste buds!

The Bali people really care and respect the buyer. They want our business and in many ways are advanced in commerce, making it a pleasure to do business with them.

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Scooter Phobia

The mode of transport is definitely the scooter. Traffic is ridiculous. Hundreds, no thousands of them pack the roads. There may be traffic police, but we never saw them. If there were rules of the road, they weren’t evident, except, make a move and do it fast. Scooter drivers come out of nowhere, everywhere. Terrifying.

Jess was the far better driver.  I knew people would look at us and it was disturbing to my male psyche, but staying alive won out. I slapped the keys into Jess’s hand and jumped on the back. I was intimidated, but not Jess.

As the scooter passenger, I realized, if you moved too fast, as in driving a car, and did not feel the wind, you’d loose the story and lush beauty that is Bali, and that’s the wonder of the scooter and rational for being a scooter passenger—amen.

Soaring Cliffs and Sacred Temples

 After a good first night rest and being way too excited to sleep more, we jumped on our scooter. With Jess at the stern, off we went to absorb Bali. The winding road with verdant rice field panoramas were taking us to the famous Uluwatu Temple.

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 The Uluwatu Temple is spectacular! Overlooking the Indian Ocean, built centuries ago, 250 feet above sea level and on the edge of a cliff—a heart thumper. A stone stairway leads to the top. The tourist challenge besides the enormous amount of steps is the width of the stair. Built hundreds of years ago, people had smaller feet, especially the Balinese. Vitamin built Americans have large feet, which don’t fit comfortably on their stairs, giving one the insecure feeling of toppling over at any moment, It’s intensified on the way down. Brave tourists that we are, we forged ahead.

Evidently, a movie with Julia Roberts, “Eat, Pray, Love” was filmed here some years back. Spotting American tourists, must be the trigger for locals to start chanting, Julia Roberts, Julia Roberts. Who knows, maybe it’s a code we have yet to decipher!

BTW, the magnificence of detailed carving is evident in the temple architecture and its embellishment. The same style continues to be produced in their crafts today.

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Monkey Business

Hundreds of monkeys roam along the path outside the temple. The monkeys lie in wait to get glasses, earrings, anything sparkly from tourists, including snacks. Out of the blue, one jumped on my back wanting a free ride. Pretending to be brave, and suppressing a loud scream, I dislodged him and came off looking like Bruce Lee. I was cool, my wife proud.

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Boats that no Longer Float

I love the water and fishing, so it’s not unusual for me to hang around the beach watching the fishermen come and go and ask questions. That’s how I found out the ultimate in Bali recycling. Once their long tailed boats, made from teak, mango and other hardwoods are retired, they are recycled into furniture——tables chairs, chests, benches, bars—The festive tropical colors weathered by time and conditions, form a patchwork-like design, very pleasing to the eye, contemporary and with an island charm.  Unique and only found in Bali.

We met the families who are responsible for making the items. We got to know them and they found out more about us, including showing photos of the kids and dog.  Generations live together; they are very family oriented and spiritual, which they incorporate into their daily life. So, it’s no longer impersonal, but very real and personal. It’s a dimension that adds richness and pleasure to our lives, it’s real.

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Josh Saves a Turtle

Looking at the clear aquamarine water compelled me to go fishing. My wife knows my love for this and the sweet lady that she is, encouraged me to book a ½ day fishing excursion, even thought she gets sea sick and in tranquil water. Being on Indian Ocean was breathtaking, the fishing not so much.  On board was a large turtle, destined to be dinner. I could see my wife’s face and read her mind. Call me the ugly American if you have to, but I hoisted the turtle back into the water to live another day. It was worth it seeing her eyes sparkle. The turtle winked, then swam away.

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