gratitute, health and fitness, travel

My Bali Adventures. Day 4

Sunday has been a pretty full on day! I’ve visited loads of places and finally arrived to the Yoga Retreat Villas later on in the day.

The day started at 6am with a walk to the beach to see the sunrise. Although the sun was rising from a completely opposite direction to where I was – it was still a beautiful early morning spent on the beach!

I hired a driver for a day and he picked me up from the hotel at 8am.

First stop was Tegenungan Waterfall

As almost everywhere else in Bali – the scenery was stunning! It is about 100 big steps to get down to the bottom of the waterfall. Although it was quite early walking back up wasn’t so much fun! A nice cold post mini hike ice cream definitely helped!

If I had more time I would’ve definitely swam there!

When we were walking down to the waterfall I noticed a few sets of stacking stones and asked the driver what the story behind it was. He said that building these mini stone towers helped to quieten the mind, learn to focus and find a balance.

The overall experience was excellent apart from the fact that it gets very crowded there closer to the afternoon time. I’ll definitely go back there next time I’m in Bali !

The next stop was a coffee plantation.

The plantation is mostly famous for producing Luwak Coffee- the most expensive coffees in the world also known as Cat Poo Chino – coffee beans collected from civet cat’s poo. Cover cats eat coffee cherries, digest the cherries and the pulp, but not the beans, which come out as civet cat’s poo. Farmers then collect these beans, clean, process them and then roast and grind the beans manually. All that special fermentation process is the reason the coffee has a certain taste.

The Luwak Coffee is very expensive and unless you go to the plantation itself there’s a chance you might get served a fake cup of Cat Poo Chino or Luwak Coffee made with the poo beans from farmed cages civet cats (as opposed to wild ones), who don’t eat ripe coffee cherries but whatever coffee cherries they are fed on the day!

I had a cup of the ‘poo’ coffee just for the experience of it. It wasn’t particularly tasty, but I think if you do like coffee and trying weird interesting foods and drinks – this could be right up your street!

Fancy a cuppa of Cat Poo Chino anyone?

After the plantation we visited the Tirta Empul Temple.

That was my first big temple to visit in Bali. It is fascinating how different Balinese culture is from ours. They make offerings to gods daily – mini ‘baskets’ filled with Balinese flowers, food and other stuff with incense sticks.

These are everywhere from the altars and front doors and shops to cars, temples and all the rest of the buildings. Every house has its own mini temple.Balinese people are very religious and pray a few times a day.

Everyone has to wear a sarong and respect the temple.

The purification process takes place in a big water container with water coming out from the ground and refreshes all the time – the holy springs.

I didn’t do the purification ritual, because we would be back there for that event on Saturday morning!

Rice Fields and Silver Making Workshop

The silver workshop was cool and very authentic- loads of beautiful things there and you could see how the jewellery was getting made. I obviously ended up buying a pretty Balinese style silver ball pendant.

Then we had a very short visit to the rice fields, mainly to take a couple of pictures (and partially get embarrassed). They had that big swing there for exciting views and cool pictures of people swinging over the rice fields.

After contemplating whether to do it or not,I am not a big fan of heights, I thought I’d give it a go.

So there was me standing there in my almost floor length dress feeling nervous, but ready to concur the heights (Having a pretty much ‘Bridgit Jones’ moment.. )

And then the ‘swing’ guy picked up a harness and asked me to put on. By that moment he had already taken the money and obviously saw what I was wearing! I had no idea I would need a harness otherwise the decision would’ve been made earlier.

Just to clarify that by putting it on he meant pulling it up and securing it around my legs and strapping it at my waist (remember, I was wearing a dress!) When I realised that with that harness my dress would also go up flashing my tartan knickers (had to take something that would remind me of Scotland just in case I felt nostalgic 🙂 to the Balinese ‘swing’ crew, my guide and all the tourists even before I get on the swing I obviously said no to it.

Believe it or not the ‘swing’ crew said it would be just fine! Amazing what stuff some people can do and say to earn that little extra cash!! I can just picture myself swinging in the air, flashing my knickers and making memories :)) Needless to say I don’t have a picture of me flying over the rice fields.

Saying that, if I went for it maybe then they wouldn’t be asking me where I was travelling from – the knickers would have told the story :))

A bit of the insight into the Balinese history here for you.

Balinese people are very religious. Main religion is Hinduism here (hence they don’t eat beef). They make offerings to Gods to thank them for everything. And it’s believed that if they don’t thank the Gods they would get angry and could initiate Volcano Eruptions, famine etc.!

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The Balinese have a temple in every single house and pray at least in the morning and very often during the day and there are a lot of ceremonies happening here all the time as well as Balinese Dances. They are very grateful and happy people and respect all the tourists and can’t do enough for you as tourism is their main source of making a living. None of the Balinese people practice yoga, but it is very popular in Bali nevertheless amongst tourists or expats. Not many of balinese natives are vegans and vegetarians, but the amount of vegan cafes and restaurants in here is overwhelming simply because many people coming to the country are spiritual, mindful and don’t consume meat! 

Bali natives eat A LOT of rice. They have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the national dish is a selection of meats with fried rice or a vegetarian version of it (both are quite spicy). You can either buy it in cafes or as street food. It tastes ok, but was too fatty for my liking – worth a try though to sample the national dish, but I only had it once while I was in Bali.

rice food

They have a silent day in March – Nyepi Day, which is kind of a New Year celebration. Everything comes to a complete halt: no traffic, nobody’s talking or working or coming outside the house. Airport and all the shops are also closed on that day.

Marriages happen only in August and February after 2 biggest national Balinese ceremonies

Most people live in houses behind shops and restaurants. They are nowhere near the posh villas and big buildings that are right by the main roads. They live on as much as $100-300 per month, but to rent an apartment costs about $60-80 per month. And like my driver told me that an employee from abroad can afford coming to Bali, but Balinese people almost can never afford travelling abroad. All the big bosses here are from outside the country and the majority of local people do manual jobs or work in family businesses selling stuff that they make themselves.

Most people don’t have any high education and after finishing school either work in a family business or in tourism or hospitality sector.

Wood carving and silver manufacturing is popular here and they make beautiful pieces of jewellery and wooden stuff.

I’ve learn all this and other stuff from my Balinese driver, who works 2 jobs 7 days a week, because as he said he had a duty to his family to provide for them. It was £27 to hire him for a day and he was both the driver and my guide for 8 hours driving me to places, telling me about lifestyle, sightseeing’s and taking my pictures for me.

It’s a fascinated country and the more I learn about it the more I would like to come back and have more time exploring everything else here.

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