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  • Katherine Sirvio

Who, Us?

​​​Andy and I were traveling in Bali, Indonesia. It was one of our favorite destinations that we really need to go back to. The beaches were pristine, the people warm and friendly, great scuba diving, beautiful scenery, and interesting history. What more could you want?

We loved to see the Tegalalang rice terraces in Ubud. The colors and textures create a visual delight that is uncompromised by the Balinese selling tourist goods on the sides of the roads leading up to the best viewing spots. It is an art and a discipline to create this hillside of laddered rice paddies. Farmers work to cultivate the land in knee-high wellies, a traditional conical straw hat, and a white shirt to stay cool. When viewing this vast valley of tiers, one actually finds themselves wondering how exactly the farmers have made their way down to the positions you find them – and from where they might have come. Hours must be spent simply traveling up or down the tiers coming and going from daily work.

Ku De Ta is a restaurant, bar and beach lounge in Seminyak, Bali. We enjoyed the music, beach and watching the surfers as the sun set on the golden sugar sandbox that lay in front of us. The sea of bodies moved in one seamless rhythm to the music in scantily clad bathing suits and beach wear. If you enjoy people watching, this was an excellent scene. The restaurant was laden with fresh cuisine that was delicious, but it could have been anywhere - it was not unique. There was a tree filled with red hearts that lit up in the night sky, a sort of art piece that became a signature of the venue. Great place to visit if you have a few extra bucks, a day to laze and take it all in.

We also had fun visiting Ubud Monkey Forest, this is a forest that nestles up to the village of Padangtegal. The natural forest is home to hundreds of monkeys who make their way to the forest edge to get bananas from the tourists and make a spectacle by taking someone's sunglasses or other goods. Andy did not want to buy bananas, but of course, I talked him into getting a small bunch. As we walked the path that skirted the edge of the forest, we watched monkeys move from tree to tree, mating (let me just say - awkward!), and cleaning one another. We spotted a monkey right away who seemed willing to take a banana. So I pulled one off of the bunch and extended my hand. The monkey took his time and kept my attention, meanwhile, another monkey that I did not see was in on the act and grabbed the whole bunch of bananas out of my other hand and ran away. Andy laughed so hard, I stood in disbelief. It was fun to watch them, some had little babies hanging on for dear life as they jumped from place to place. Others interacted with the tourists and yet others kept their distance and I believe we were the entertainment to watch.

But it was at Tanah Lot Temple, where we became popular. The temple sits on a large offshore rock which has been shaped continuously over the years by the ocean tide. When the tide is low you

can walk out to the temple without fear of getting wet. However, high tide is a totally different

story. Of course, we were not at high tide or low tide, but somewhere in the middle. Andy and I carefully timed our venture out to the rock watching the waves roll in and out. When we felt we could safely make our way out without taking on too much water, we made a run for it. Once we were at the temple a priest gave us a blessing and placed flowers in our hair and rice on our foreheads. We made our way back to the land and looked for a place to dry our feet and put our shoes back on.

We found an expansive stairway to sit. It reminds me of the stairs you would see at a significant public building such as an art museum or library. It was a hot day and Andy went to get some refreshments for us while I minded myself at the stairs. We drank our water and coca-cola while our feet dried. Suddenly, someone came and sat down next to Andy and I. It was unusually close, so I got up and moved over. Another person came and sat down and then we saw their friend getting ready to take their picture, so Andy got up and started to move. They quickly said no, no, we want you in the picture. Suddenly about 10 more people came and all wanted to be in a picture with Andy and I. It was a group from Jakarta and they had not had many encounters with foreigners. Of course, Andy and I stand out with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a rather large stature. So we obliged and as everyone handed their cameras to the photographer, we too did the same. The guy had an arm full of cameras hanging from their straps and for each one he would take a picture and then move the camera to the other arm. They were friendly and charming people on holiday the same as us. We had a little conversation and then continued on our way. Here is a shout out to our friends from Jakarta.​

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