Bali is definitely a destination for the sun-seeking tourist. Luxury spa hotels with cushioned deckchairs line the white sandy coastline and pink faces can been seen bobbing around in the turquoise waters. Tourists from far and wide are greeted with a big warm welcome and there’s plenty here to see and do.
Most of the locals are familiar with tourists arriving by plane and staying in a hotel. Our taxi driver the other day could not understand why on Earth we wanted to go to a supermarket to buy 5 cases of beer and then be dropped off on a beach, at night. Alex and I explained our whole voyage and life to him. Three times! After which his response was “No. I think you stay in hotel”. Oh well, you win some you lose some.
In other news, we met a wonderful couple (Brad and Claudia) who are sailing their bright pink 32 foot monohull around the world on a huge culinary mission. They are both trained chefs and Brad is currently in the process of setting up the next big online presence in the world of cheffing. He will soon be filming for an exciting new YouTube series uncovering stories behind strange and exotic foods in remote destinations all across the globe. He’s currently focusing on Indonesia. Indonesia is renowned for its delicious cuisine and although we were able to dine at some of the luxury resorts once or twice, we frequented the local street food stalls much more often. Brad was extremely keen to drag us down the dingy narrow streets, away from the resorts, to the local street food stalls and restaurants so that we could get a taste of ‘true’ Indonesia. It’s one thing to experience the smells and tastes of a local dish, but to be able to fully understand the history of the dish and the delicate cooking processes was even more amazing! This is what Brad is offering on his upcoming series – A Nomadic Chef. I know that some of our followers are keen ‘foodies’ and I would highly recommend subscribing to his website. It might be a little while before he publishes his first video but it will be worth the wait. Trust me! I’ve seen some short snippet previews 🙂
We also tried Kopi Luwak coffee, where the coffee beans are first eaten by an Asian palm civet and undergo fermentation in the animals intestines. Their faecal matter is then collected, processed and turned into coffee. Yes, it’s basically coffee that’s made of poo! But it actually tastes very very good. Plus the Asian palm civet is so incredibly cute and was waiting to meet us on the table at the cafe – how could I possibly resist!
The civet wasn’t the only creature to draw our attention, we also visited the Ubud Monkey Forest which is a sanctuary for the Asian long tailed monkey. Surrounded by forest and ancient temples the monkeys are fed and looked after by the locals. This site is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the whole of Bali. The local Hindu religion has a principal known as the Tri Hatta Karana which encourages three paths to reach spiritual and physical well-being. These three ways are to create a harmonious relationship with 1) other humans; 2) the environment and 3) with the Supreme God. Monkey Forest aims to achieve this by welcoming visitors from all over the world, promoting access to nature and encouraging prayer in their temples.
We’ve done a LOT of work on the boat since arriving in Bali which Alex will probably talk about in a later blog. The labour and material costs are just sooooo cheap here that it made sense to give Bob a few upgrades. Unfortunately it meant that we haven’t been able to do as much Bali sight-seeing as we might have liked. I couldn’t leave Bali, however, without spending an afternoon at a spa. So Alex treated me to an early birthday present and bought me an afternoon ‘ritual’ at the second-best spa in all of Bali (according to trip advisor). It was honestly the best spa experience I have EVER had! The ritual included a 60 min massage, foot spa, body exfoliation, body wrap, full facial and a rose petal bath! By the end I felt so beautiful in my skin that I think I honestly could have walked out into the street stark naked….. perhaps with some rose petals covering vital areas. The whole experience was amazing! Also, I’ve never had a facial before. They really work! The skin on my face has not felt so firm and soft since I was in my early 20s!
Our stay in Bali was short but sweet. Now we have upped anchor and are currently sailing to our next destination – across the Indian Ocean to Madagascar! This will be our longest passage yet and we expect to be at sea for about a month. We’ll keep you updated of our progress using the satellite phone to post the odd blog from time to time. See you on the other side!