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Feb 9, 2006 - Bali, Beautiful Bali, Indonesia

Reported by JoMar All rights reserved.

Hello from Bali, Indonesia, one of the most beautiful places on this earth, especially the simple life of the local gentle people.

Well here we are in Bali, Indonesia, again.  We were here about six years ago. We decided to re-visit this place partly for nostalgic reasons and mostly because we had some extra time and didn't want to spend it in Singapore, which is a beautiful place but expensive. We both knew from experience that Bali is CHEAP!

Our new friends that we met in Austria, Mee Lian and Dawn, were so kind as too pick us up from our hostel and drive us to the airport and also are holding one of our knapsacks and one of our carry-on bags at their house while we are in Bali. Which we really appreciate. Dawn and family, thank you so much for your hospitality and we hope to one day return it if you ever come to Vancouver!

We haven't done to much here in Bali, except eat and lay on the beach and do some cool and very fun body surfing in the Indian Ocean, namely Colego Beach. The water here is like this huge natural wave pool, very neat and really fun :-) The weather has been sporadic with some sunshine coupled with rain. However, today was amazing with blue skies and hot all day long :-)  and 34C.

We did visit our old haunts like Q-bar and some of the newer clubs that have opened on the island.

The first day we arrived we met these two fine gentlemen (Peter and Gary) who told us they were Canadian, from outside of Toronto. Of course we told them we were Canucks also and we four hit it off immediately and have been almost inseparable ever since!! The four of us have had a blast hanging out at the beach and the pool in the day time and then trotting off too one of the restaurants at night.

We also did a really cool day trip with our new friends to one of the hill tribe villages here in Bali. It was very fascinating too see how the rural Balinese live and work. In this particular village we were told that they only marry within their community and that they have existed this way since their ancestors first settled in the village over 900 years ago!!! Cool huh?

Also bought some "ikat" blankets/wall hangings. This village makes these blankets and wall hangings by hand using plants and flowers and trees for the amazing colors in the material. There are only three places in the world were you can still buy these "ekats."  In a village in Japan and another area in India and the village we bought ours in, here in Bali. And no...I cannot remember the names of the other villages where these are made :-) These wall hangings that we purchased can take up too 3 years to make by hand!

Bali is rich in culture and heritage with ceremonies and temple worship and blessings going on all the time. Fascinating to see women with their heads laden with baskets of fruit and other provisions on their way to the temple to have these and other items blessed. We saw many temples and things that we didn't see the first time we were here thanks too our new Canadian friends who have been here many times before. So thank you Peter and Gary for taking us under your wing and showing us around. It was really nice to meet and spend time with you guys. Hopefully we will see each other again either in Vancouver or Toronto...or who knows, some other exotic locale :-) Russia ??

In Bali there are only four names one can use for their children and they are interchangeable and not dependent on the sex of your child. 1. Putu 2. Made (pronounced Madah) 3. Nyoman and 4. Ketut. So your first child regardless of sex must be named Putu and your second child must be named Made and so on and so forth. Once you have had four children then the process begins again with your fifth child. So in large families it is not unusual to have several children with the same name or even a girl and a boy with the same name!!! So in Bali my name would be Made and Marc's name would be Ketut!  We found this very interesting to say the least.

Also went to see the memorial for the people who perished in the Bali bombings in October of 2004. Australians (88) and Indonesians (38) made up the majority of those lost. There were also two Canadians, One Italian, 3 Swiss, 3 Danish, among the fatalities. Bali's economy is suffering badly since the bombings. The Australian Government is advising their citizens not to travel to Indonesia as it is very dangerous! Of course the bulk of the citizens lost in the bombings were Australian and they visit the island more than any other nationality.
We met this really nice fella, Micheal from San Francisco, and he mentioned that he was going to get a couple of tattoos at this place on the island that had a very good reputation. Since I always wanted to get another one Marc and I decided to tag along. All three of us had so much fun getting drunk on Bintang, Indonesian beer, and getting our tattoos!  I decided that I wanted to get something that relates to endurance somehow, since my favorite pastime is running, and my favorite running event is the marathon (hello to all my running friends in Vancouver, frontrunners and running room gang and Louise. If you guys are out there I miss running with you) Hello also to my future running partners; Matt and Teresa :-)

Sorry, okay where was I?  Oh Yeah...So we were trying to figure out what to get for yours truly and Marc came up with the idea of drawing these 3 really cool abstract stick figures, because I didn't want to get something off the wall and wanted it to be original. So Marc had the idea of having these three figures running around my ankle. Because they are running in a circle and a circle of course has no beginning or end, this suggests endless continuity and of course endless endurance, we both thought that was the perfect idea ! Then again the very nature of a tattoo speaks of endurance in that it is with you for life :-) Wanted to explain my reasons so I don't have to field a bunch of "why" and "explain" questions from you guys when we get home:-) Our friend Micheal got a really cool tiger on the inside of one bicep and a dragon on the other. He didn't flinch once!

Marc who has the least amount of pain tolerance then Micheal or I, was a brave little toaster throughout the entire traumatic ordeal!!

Speaking of traumatic, one day on the beach, at Colego Beach, the one we went to almost everyday with Gary and Peter, where it was off the beaten track and a bit more geared to "our way of life"... I went for a walk and discovered a few people around this bush, and when I approached it was a suicide find. I was just the 4th person on the site and it was most disturbing. He was just a 23 year old man, who was so distraught because he was not able to marry the girl of his dreams and had poisoned himself. I know this is not something of a good nature to be putting in our website, but it is a major occurrence for me (Marc) and this trip is about all the good and the not so good.

They don't treat the body as we would in Canada, especially when it is a suicide. They really frown on this, and this poor guy would never meet their gods and never be re-incarnated. Before long the police arrived, they did not insist on some privacy from us, the public as they investigated... they did not cover up the victim, in fact they let by-standards take video's and pictures with their cell phones. Man, I was not there long.

Then about 1/2 hour later, they had just put his body on a beach lounger and just carted him up the shoreline of the beach in front of everyone, uncovered.

Next stop; Australia via Singapore


and of course markie too :-)

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