International Interests

Travel Abroad- Bali

I recently returned from a trip to Southeast Asia (Indonesia and Singapore).  It was amazing, tiring and exciting.  Take a look at this beach view:

View of the bay near Blue Lagoon

View of the bay near Blue Lagoon

I’d love to be able to share the rich variety of bird and animal life I saw on my trip…but I could not get a good photo of a bird to save my life!

The people of Bali are very nice and deeply spiritual.  While most of Indonesia is Muslim, Bali is Hindu.  We discovered that the Hindu new year is celebrated as Nyepi Day in Bali.  It is a day of quiet reflection where everyone stays indoors so that the demons roaming the island will believe it is uninhabited and leave the residents alone for another year.  Everything is shut – including the airports!  There are guards who roam the streets to keep people inside.  We were confined to our hotel for that first day.

Here is the sunset on the beach that evening:

Sunset from hotel.

Sunset from hotel.

This dog is one of many we saw roaming the streets.  Although they seem to be strays, some are in fact owned, loved and cared for by people. Many dogs had collars or were going in and out of houses.

One of the many street dogs in Bali

One of the many street dogs in Bali

The parts of Bali we visited were fairly touristy – walking down any street involved ignoring the near constant calls of “taxi?” or “transport?” Much of what was visible was clearly designed for the tourists.  But the towns were designed and built for the locals – take a look at some of the beautiful statues, figures and mosaics found everywhere.

Painted statue in Sanur

Painted statue in Sanur

Bird mosaic at the entrance to a home.

Bird mosaic at the entrance to a home.

Guardian statue

Guardian statue

Ubud

One of the best bits of our trip involved the Bali Bird Walk.  It was a 3.5 hour or so walk through the rice fields around Ubud (a more centrally located town).  But it was so much more than a bird walk – Su showed us the variety of plants and animals we came across and was willing to discuss her family’s history as well as the changes that have been occurring in Bali.  The only topic she wanted to avoid was politics!  The random strangers you meet on these trips are often more interesting than the trip itself – but not in this instance.  While I never got a good shot of a bird, here are some of the things we saw on the walk:

Squash (?) flower outside Ubud

Squash (?) flower outside Ubud

Rice fields outside Ubud

Rice fields outside Ubud

Stink Beetle outside Ubud

Stink Beetle outside Ubud

Java

After all the nature in Bali we switched gears to find culture on the island of Java.

Entrance to the temple

Entrance to the temple

Borobudur is one of the greatest Buddist temples in the world.  Built in the 8th and 9th centuries, it was designed to create a spiritual journey for pilgrams.  Nowadays it is overrun with tourists and students.  But early risers can beat both the crowds and the heat!  We arrived at 6 am (way too early).  At times, it felt like we were the only people present.

Sunlight reflects off of the mist behind this statue of the buddha

Sunlight reflects off of the mist behind this statue of the buddha

Stupas

…but then the hordes descended!

A long line of people approach Borobudur

A long line of people approach Borobudur

Singapore, at last.

The last stop on our trip was Singapore – quite a change from Java and Bali.  How can anyone get away without a visit to the Zoo and the Bird Park?

Momma holds a 10 day old baby orangutang.

Momma holds a 10 day old baby orangutang.

Just chillin'

Just chillin’

Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros) at the Singapore Zoo

Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros) at the Singapore Zoo

Ornate Loikeet enjoying some nectar.

Ornate Lorikeet enjoying some nectar.

I got to be part of the show!

I got to be part of the show!

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