Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bali

Today is our last day in Bali.....we leave in a few hours to get on The Orion for seven days, where we'll make our way across the Java Sea, visit Camp Leakey and the Orangutan sanctuary, do some snorkeling and finally end up in Singapore on Oct. 15th.  After a few days there, we'll head back home.

Bali is beautiful but has the humidity of about 37 hells, so that's nice.  In a way that sweating through your clothes three times a day is nice.  I'm thinking Borneo won't be much better in that regard.  Thank God for laundry service!

We arrived last Friday smack in the middle of the APEC summit so security has been tight.  We were lucky enough to not get here at the same time as any delegates so we breezed through customs and immigration but we have been stopped a few times on the road to sit and wait for dignitaries to pass through.  Luckily Obama stayed home.




This was a little intense....

Practically every Balinese household has at least two motorbikes which seems about right because there are about nine hundred kazillion of the fuckers on the road every day.  


Marked lanes are just a formality.



And who needs a monster truck to haul all of your shit when you have a scooter?? 





And that one seat is enough for the WHOLE DAMN FAMILY!!  We saw a family of five on a scooter.  Yup....mom, dad and the three kids.....under the age of 6.  Of course mom and dad had the required helmets.  Helmets for your precious offspring?  Not so much.  And most of the time the babies are sitting in front of the driver, I assume to catch the bugs.




See....









On Saturday we hired a car and driver to take us to Ubud, which I guess is where all the artsy-fartsy types hang out.....tourist trap.  We went to see the other Four Seasons because we heard it was fabulous and to have lunch and drink champagne.  Because that's the kind of "tourist" we are!!


It certainly lived up to the hype.  See that top level which you assume is the roof?  That's actually the level on which you enter.  It's a giant "pond".  Freaking amazing.







Lunch was great but what Joni and I really fell in love with was this freaking awesome champagne glass nestled in its own mini ice bucket

           

I know, right?  Considering how damn HOT and HUMID it is here, this is nothing short of genius.







  

They even grow their own rice right on the property!


A friend that works at Saks in Birmingham recommended that if we had a chance to stop by the John Hardy jewelry factory just outside of Ubud.  John Hardy is a Canadian artist that came to Bali in the 1970's and liked the techniques of the local artisans and stuck around to learn from them.



He built this facility in the mid-90's and while the headquarters has been moved to Hong Kong, they are still making jewelry here.  Since it was Saturday, the only thing open was this amazing showroom.








They also have a restaurant on site so there was a large vegetable garden.  These guys supply the compost......

   


On Monday Ed, Marty and I took a Balinese cooking class which mean we got to go the the local fish and vegetable market before class.





















Once you got past the initial smell it was pretty fabulous.  I've never seen that much fish in my life.  The locals shop every day and fish is their main source of protein.  It's a good thing, because there's plenty of it!!







Chicken anyone?  The chef tried to convince us that they were fine at room temperature for six hours.  Ummmm....not when room temperature is 90 fucking degrees they're not.  Needless to say,  I haven't ordered much chicken here!!




He also too us down to the beach where all the fishing boats dock in the morning.









The boats were all so colorful.


A lonely blowfish washed ashore......


Then it was back to the Four Seasons cooking school where they served us breakfast and then put us to work!





Our instructor....

Our menu:

Satay Lilit Ayam – Balinese chicken satay
Acar Sayur – Pickled vegetables
Pepes Ikan Kakap – Grilled red snapper wrapped in banana leaf
Sambal Matah – Spicy lemongrass-shallot relish
Kue Labu – Balinese pumpkin treat



































A little wok action...





















And then we all got to eat what we made!











Even Chef Edwin passed!!



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