Monday, November 30, 2009

A Very Bali Thanksgiving!

My Thanksgiving vacation to Bali was unbelievable! You would not believe how many hours it took me to upload all of these photos, but I just had to share them with you! So, please join me on an abbreviated photo journey of my vacation.
After arriving, getting into my bathing suit to lay by the pool, and greeting everyone when they arrived with many, many, many hugs; it was time for our first adventure: Mexican food! There is this crazy little hole-in-the-wall restaurant named Mojo's Flying Burritos that serves excellent authentic Mexican food. Here Alexa and I are ecstatic over our burritos and mojitos. I was the most excited about real cheese!
The next morning it was off to soak up some sun on Kuta Beach. The sun was hot, the water warm, the beverages cold, and the company perfect!
That night was Thanksgiving and all 12 of us (plus one German) went out for a nice dinner together. Kelly's mum had sent her these Thanksgiving bears to decorate our table and a jar of olives! The restaurant staff thought we were crazy, but they obliged us by providing a bowl for our olives. They were delicious and reminded me of home. Kelly's mum also sent us paper leaves for us to write down what we were thankful for. She sent string for us to string the leaves on to hang in our hotel as a garland of thanks. What a cute idea. In the picture below Sarah and Kalada are writing on their leaves. After everyone had finished, we swapped leaves and read them aloud for the table to hear what everyone was thankful for! Here are some of our completed leaves! We concluded that we are a group who have a lot to be thankful for!
This is my Thanksgiving dinner! It doesn't get much better than this...mashed potatoes and salmon. Not as good as my mum's cooking, but a close second considering the part of the world in which I am currently living.
No holiday dinner is complete without dessert. It just happened to be Emma's birthday (Happy Birthday to Nana Vickery too!) so the waiters sang to her and presented her with this delicious warm chocolate cake!
We rounded out our holiday by going dancing. Here is Jimmie, me, Ricky, and Marvin (the German). Do you like my new Bali beach dress? We met Marvin at the pool at our hotel and invited him along to dinner because he was traveling alone. I enjoyed talking to him mostly because he reminded me of Patrick (German, sweet, and adorable), although Patrick has the good sense to keep his shirt on in public.
The next day the girls headed to Ubud, the cultural hub of Bali. Aren't these flowers at our hotel beautiful? I hope that some of you have read Eat, Pray, Love because that will make this part of the story much more interesting for you. Our first stop in Ubud was to visit Wayan (on my left in the photo above), the healer from the book. She gave us full body readings, which essentially means she touched different parts of our bodies and told us what was wrong or out of balance with us physically and then read our palms to predict our futures. She then began the healing process by giving us various drinks, foods, herbal pills, and rubbing us with different lotions, leaves, herbs in water, etc. The whole process took several hours (and we didn't even have time for the final massage!). It was a truly fascinating and enlightening experience. If you ever make it to Ubud, make sure to stop by her little shop. It is well worth the money! On our first night in Ubud we went to a traditional puppet show. Bali is the predominately Hindu area in Indonesia and so the culture there reminded me distinctly of India. The shadow puppet performance was of part of the Ramayana. It was performed by flat wooden puppets held up in between an open fire and a mesh screen.
On our second night in Ubud, we went to a Legong dance performance at the Ubud palace. This was incredible! There were 9 different pieces to the performance and all of them were captivating. I was sitting next to a 5 year old German girl named Josefina who enjoyed explaining the dances to me (in German), which had her mother and grandmother laughing hysterically and nodding profusely and pretending to understand what on earth she was talking about.
This dancer is performing the butterfly (kupu-kupu) dance.
All of the dances were performed by women, but it was amazing how well they could make themselves look like big men. The masks worn in some of the dances were ornate and scary.
This was part of the opening dance (the dancer is holding a puja platter). In Balinese dance eye movements are a key part of the dance.
This dancer is representing a flower. During the course of the dance she makes a bumblebee fall in love with her.Next stop, Mandala Wisata Wenara Wana or the Sacred Monkey Forest. Basically, a ton of monkeys and some awesome Indiana Jones-esque temples. The monkeys were cute, but we knew enough to stay well away from them and to leave the fruit at home. They may be cute, but they can also be very dangerous...just ask the wife of the ex-mayor of Delhi.
Sarah, Anna, Alexa, and I in front of the Pura Dalem Agung Temple or Temple of Death. We rented sarongs so that we could be properly dressed and allowed to enter the temple. It was a great temple and I'm kinda a temple snob.
Me at the temple.
I mentioned that it was the temple of death. The entrance to the inner temple was flanked by two monsters eating children. Got to love the Hindu symbolism. Fascinating!
Monkeys climbing all over the temple. Clearly they know who is sacred here and who isn't.

Here are some women at the gate of the sacred forest selling bananas to tourists who are much braver (read: stupider) than us.

All in all it was a fantastic vacation! Now I'm home again, have a terrible cold, and can't wait to go on another adventure!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Sas,
    What a wonderful experience! I'm so glad you took the time to download the photos, they are great! You made the most of your short break! We missed you on Thanksgiving, but were happy that you enjoyed time away with friends. Take care... Get well before you're off on your Christmas adventure.
    Love You,
    Mum xoxo