Friday, January 20, 2012

Warning: Rambling Post

This is where I will be soon:

That's my backyard, in Virginia. Well, sort of.

I had a whole photo-essay planned out in my head. I would post "this" photo from Taiwan and say "this", then I would post "that" photo from Virginia and say "that".

But my photos are in complete disarray. On the computer - in disarray. How can that be???? I was looking for a photo from winter of 2009. It seems logical to me that it would be in the 2009 folder, but it's not. But I know it is SOMEWHERE, because my screen saver scrolls through my thousands of photos, and I've seen it. I tried looking in the folder labeled (by the computer) 2002. There are photos there from 2009, and 2007 and probably 1972, but not the photo I am looking for. I tried scrolling through ALL of my photos, but I gave up. I don't have time for this. I'm supposed to be packing. Because, the point is, I am leaving tomorrow. I am heading home to Virginia to begin making preparations for moving home. YES!!!! We will be moving home this summer. We are more than ready.

When I am supposed to pack my mind wanders here, there and everywhere. I can write novels (in my mind) and organize the cupboards. But I have a difficult time filling the empty suitcases. Instead I write all sorts of crazy stuff here, and then I delete it. And believe me, if you knew what I just deleted you would be SO grateful. I also eat. I just finished lunch. It's 10:40 a.m.!

I guess I'll spare you any more of my mindless ramblings and go stare at my empty suitcases. But first, I'll post a random photo. No, I guess I won't. Because every time I push the "add photo" button the "save now" button flickers and I am not brought to the screen where I can choose a photo. Sort of like my brain - I push the "add contents" (to the suitcase) button and the "feed stomach" button flickers instead.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Monkey See...

I came up with a silly little poem while looking at these pictures:
Monkey see,
Monkey do,
Monkey steal your food from you.
Monkey look,
Monkey sneer,
Monkey scare us out of here.
Monkeys are another thing Bali is known for. In Ubud you will find Monkey Forest Road and Monkey Temple. They have a monkey god. (They have lots and lots of gods, although they will tell you there is only one god. Their explanation begins to sound a bit like the Christian Trinity, but then very much different.)
I always thought I liked monkeys. In any zoo they are my favorite thing. I love watching them swing and climb at lightening speed. Unfortunately, once I got up close and personal with them the city girl in me came roaring to the fore and I found out I am quite terrified of monkeys. One monkey seemed to take a particular dislike to Anna and a couple of times it sneered and snarled so badly at her that I thought we were in for some serious trouble.

This line of thinking brought me to this:

I'm (sort of) Eva Gabor. Minus the glamor.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Rice Trekking

One of our pre-planned activities was to go on a trek through rice paddies. I actually planned for us to do it while we were in east Bali, but while we were in central Bali one of the employees where we were staying offered to take us on a trek. I am so glad I accepted, because things in east Bali didn't go as planned. That's a story for a different day.

Anna and I accepted the offer. Too bad for Ethan and Eric; they missed their only chance.

The second segment of our trip was spent at an extraordinary villa in central Bali, just outside of Ubud. I will show you our accommodations in detail another time. For today's purposes, here is one view from one of the 2nd floor balconies:

We were surrounded by rice paddies. Many accommodations in and around Ubud are on the edge of rice paddies, it is very much a part of the Bali experience.

Here is Anna with our guide for the day, Puta.
I have only recently begun to appreciate the fact that kids look at things differently than adults. Anna notices a lot of details that I would completely overlook. For instance, Anna noticed that there were always a lot of ducks around the rice paddies - a fact that had completely escaped me!
Anna asked Puta if there was a reason for all of the ducks and he told her that yes, they are here because they eat many of the insects that would otherwise eat the rice. An interesting bit of information that I would have missed were it not for Anna! No chemicals to keep bugs away, just ducks.

Throughout the rice paddies there are many of these little structures. They are simply rest areas for the rice workers. Very necessary, as Bali is hot and humid and the work is hard.
The rice paddies are beautiful and very peaceful.
There does not seem to be one season for planting rice. It appears to be a continual process. As we walked along we saw pretty much the entire cycle, beginning with the planting. Here is a box of rice about to be planted:
Every bit of it is planted by hand. This has got to be incredibly difficult. My back would be killing me after planting about 10 plants, I think.
They don't use any modern machinery. The hand operated (though gasoline powered) "tractor" that this man was using was the most modern thing we saw.
As the rice is harvested it is all carried out by hand.
Or by head, actually. In Bali you see everything being carried on the head. I have other pictures of this which I will share another day.

Our trek was not only through rice fields. Puta led us through some jungle and down a steep path.
At the bottom of the path was an area where the local people bathe. There is a river, and they have built this little area at the edge of the river.
Just beyond the bathing area some of the water was diverted to this concrete area. This really sparked Anna's imagination. She thought it would be great fun to slide down this. Whether or not kids do that, I don't know. But no doubt that is what Anna would do, if she had the chance.

Next Puta took us into the local village. I have not yet decided if I will post pictures of that. It was interesting, but also involved one thing that made me truly angry. So, we'll see.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Blogging...blah! Seems no one has time for it any more. This is going to be brief.

As usual, I have probably hundreds of photos from our vacation. And as usual, I will put the tiniest fraction of them here for you to see. For today, just 6 photos from the very beginning of our vacation.

We went first to Lovina,a town on the northern edge of the island. The only reason for going there was to see dolphins. We got up before the sun (a major feat for us on any given day, much less on a vacation day!) and met our "guide" (boat driver?) on the beach.

We were not exactly alone out there.

There were a LOT of other boats doing the same thing. Fortunately, there were also a lot of dolphins.
I do realize that I should insert a lot of awesome dolphin pictures here, but the truth is I didn't get great pictures of dolphins. They're kinda fast, you know? And you never knew where they were going to show up. They did put on a spectacular show for us - they jumped (singly and in tandem, mothers and little babies), twirled and I swear one even cartwheeled. But I cannot prove any of it.

Since I couldn't get great pictures I decided to document other things. Sadly, this was an all too common sight:
Yep, there was a lot of trash floating in the ocean.

And there was this boat driver / guide who we all thought was cool looking. (The kids call him Sensai. I don't know how you spell that and I don't really know who it is. Someone from Star Wars or Clone Wars I guess. If you're into those movies/shows you'll probably know who this looks like.)

And, okay, this is completely out of order. It's the sunrise as we were leaving the beach. But I think it's pretty and I'm too lazy to put it in the correct spot.

I have lots of other adventures to share: rice paddy trekking, "tree top adventure", elephant riding, snorkeling, etc. I'll try to get to those pictures one of these days. Really.