Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Bali Florescence and Fauna

Frangipani, I love you!
After a hectic 4 week renovation of our rental, my husband and I flew off to recharge our sorely depleted batteries via solar-charge.  New Zealand had been thrown a mixed bag of weather crumbs, mostly cold, wet and windy.  It's a bit like that box of chocolates where the only you have left are turkish delights and soft centres - yuk!  We were worn out by the extra work (sometimes burning the midnight candle to get things done after regular work hours) and severely suffering Seasonal Depression.  A year before, Mike had organised for us to go to Bali, using 2 week's timeshare vouchers. So basically, for a measly amount ($99 each, you get to stay in 3-star resorts for a week - part of their advertising budget).  It's all that kept me going those cold dark nights!  So the night before we flew off, we were still painting till 9.30pm!  Man, we needed that break!

Hello Bali!  I love these captivating floral meditations!
In order to swan off to a tropical location, we bought timeshare vouchers - yep, that's right!  You try before you buy!  So a voucher costs $99 normally,for up to one weeks accommodation, but we managed to secure ours for $30.  Which means our two weeks cost us $60 for us both, in total, with a $25 booking fee for each week.  It is part of their advertising budget, and they freely "give" them away, if you fit their criteria.  So we had one week in Sanur, in Parigata Resort and Spa (beaut!) and one week in Candidasa (pronounced Chandidasa) on the East coast of Bali, at Bali Palms Resort (ummm, not our favourite!).  We basked in all the freely available Vitamin D, with balmy temperatures and eye candy everywhere.  This entry is a sampling of that eye candy.....

Stunning imagery on all the shrines and entrance ways.  Eye Candy!
In our first week, we managed to fit in an Eco Cycle tour.  Hahaha, I hear those of you who know my aversity to any form of physical endeavors, laughing!  Welll, I thought this would be fine and dandy, as it is a 3 hour downhill ride!  More of that, in a later blog.  We also managed to go to see the Jody O'Shea orphanage to donate money, art materials and clothes (also, more later...)  We did a little shopping, sight-seeing and ate yummy vegetarian food and lots and LOTS of gelato!

Water lily

Water lilies at Ujung Palace

Water lily picking

Lotus pod

For Merridy - smallest hibiscus ever, about 5cm diameter!

Floral meditations change every day

Stunning fan palm to lie under whilst sunning oneself at the pool!

Daily floral offerings at gateways, temples and shrines
Beautiful mournful nose-strung cow

Bovine Beauty; tethered Balinese cow or Banteng
We saw several Banteng, these Balinese cows are smaller than our New Zealand cows and resemble a cross between a domestic cow and a buck or deer.  The ones we saw were domesticated but apparently these Banteng occur in the wilds, where they are endangered !.
Cocoa pod
A ripe cocoa pod
We travelled to an agro-tourism farm growing cocoa, coffee and other fruits and veggies. We learned about poo-poo coffee (Luwak coffee), which the Balinese all proudly offer tourists.  A luwak is a little animal which eats coffee beans and poops them out.  The poop is collected, the beans washed and it is roasted and purported to be the best coffee experience you will ever have.  However, Mike and I adamantly declined each enthusiastic offer, on the grounds that we do not buy into cruelty and Luwak slavery!  These little luwak's diet consists of approximately 10% coffee beans in the wild, but they are captured and caged, and fed a diet way more than 10% coffee beans - just so their poop can be harvested.  These little caged animals are stressed and obviously this coffee overdosing is not very healthy for them!  But then, us humans will eat anything!!  Our taxi driver laughed when he saw our horror, as he told us that the Balinese eat cats and dogs too!

Poor little caged Luwak

Coffee beans

Luwak poop

Clean luwak coffee beans

Roasting coffee beans - takes one hour!

Roasted luwak beans
So, from caged luwaks to Ujung Palace, we found free-roaming guinea fowl!  Our little endearing African country-men, wondering around in the shade of the trees in the empirical Ujung Water Palace.  I was fascinated and delighted!  This little helmeted fellow is such a comical and beloved symbol of my African homeland!
Royal Guinea Fowl
Then we took a taxi to Charlie's Chocolate factory in Jasri Beach.  It is a quizzical creation by Charlie, an expat USA surfer who has built himself a series of Hobbit houses out of bamboo.  He makes chocolate, soap and candles to fund his lifestyle.  We met with his lone goose, who honked mournfully and followed us around as we drank some of the best hot chocolate EVER!  Of Charlie, well, he had magically disappeared the minute we drove up!
Charly's Goose

A white heron fishes on the Candidasa temple lake
This crusty demon below, was one of a pair of turtles swimming in the pond and basking on the rock just in front of our Sanur resort's dining area.  And we saw small crocodilian creatures swimming in the highly polluted waters next to our second Candidasa resort.   Hardy little creatures!

Parigata's fresh water turtle
Is is a lizard, is it a croc swimming in a polluted river next to Bali Palms Resort?
Who can resist a huge-limbed Great Dane?  And on closer inspection, the World's smallest dog burrowing in the sand at the bather's feet?
The Biggest dog ever, and spot the littlest to the left of the Big Dog.

And then there was this specimen, a 500yr old Banyan tree!  Wow!  It so reminded me of the sacred tree in Avatar, the movie.  I could not get all of it onto my camera screen - would have had to walk several meters away to get it all in one screen-shot!  Amazing. Awesome.  Inspiring, that man has not yet chopped it down to make way for another development!  There's hope yet!

500 year old Banyan Tree

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