Note from Charlotte: please enjoy this guest blog from my aunt Sarah. We were thrilled that she travelled so far to join us for 2 weeks just after we arrived in Bali, and she embraced the adventures, thrills and spills of Monicofamilytravels with the perfect balance of passion and calm! We miss you Sarah, and thanks for writing and sharing your perspective with our broader friends and family. X0X
Hello there. A glimpse of my adventure in Bali . . . . .
I’m sitting at the table where we eat under a thatched roof in the garden surrounded by coconut palms and jungly vegetation and plants. A big lizard or maybe it was a gecko with a fiery red belly just scuttled past my foot.
It’s hot and humid. A torrential downpour in the night, still dripping off the thatch on my bedroom verandah which looks out across emerald green paddy fields. But now the sun is shining, a cool breeze is blowing and a chorus of cockerels crowing and many interesting wild bird noises. There’s the WAH WAH shout of the local bird scarer. He carries a hollow bamboo pipe which he beats as he walks to and fro in the field disturbing flocks of little chestnut brown and white munias gorging on the swaying rice fronds.
Oh a brilliant iridescent turquoise kingfisher just flashed past and I’m watching it with my binoculars perched on a distant branch.
[I’m going on the guided Bali Bird Walk soon.]
Charlotte and James are having a yoga lesson at the end of the garden and Bella and Millie are up on the balcony learning Shakespeare and constructing a decahedron (I think) out of bamboo strips with Rob, their teacher. I’m due to help them with a Hinduism lesson tomorrow!
When I’ve finished writing this, I’ll slide into the lovely big pool to cool off and get some exercise and I expect the girls will come and join me for a splash Pig in the Middle and riding the blow-up unicorn. Then it’s lunch and into town for a batik workshop . . .
It’s wonderful to beliving in a village and I can’t believe my luck that the village temple is at the end of our lane and these last two days have been ceremonial festival days! I heard the sound of drums and gamelans [we’re going for a gamelan lesson after lunch tomorrow] and went out to explore. As I stood peeping in at the gateway of an outdoor compound with high walls, full of noisy colourful activity, I was beckoned in. Everybody was surprised to see me but beaming and friendly. It’s a small village right off the beaten track and the people are so welcoming. James and I spent an hour in the temple yesterday wrapped in sarongs* that we were lent, to be allowed right inside.
We were given breakfast snacks wrapped in banana leaves.
I was fascinated by every minute of the devotions – the colour the sounds the prayerful chanting the dancing children the musical instruments joyful exuberant and peaceful. Hinduism as I’ve never seen before.
Our house is blessed by the house helper every morning and evening with incense and small offerings of grains, fruit and flower petals arranged lovingly on woven palm leaves. Everything gets blessed with offerings. This morning it was the motor scooters which arrived for us to ride that were blessed and offerings of intricate palm leaf decorations tied onto the handlebars for our safety.
Big snorkelling adventure yesterday. Wading onto a small boat and speeding out into foaming ocean waves to an island. Just us and two Balinese guides. Anchor in remote hidden cove white sandy beach aquamarine water and a brave jump overboard in flippers and snorkel. Magical mesmerising world below . . . . more beautiful coral and more myriads of stunningly exotic fish than even James and Charlotte have ever seen! BUT after about five intoxicating minutes I stuck up my head and the boat was quite far away and I was being dragged backwards by the current to the rocks, going backwards, not even able to swim on the spot, bit scary! Of course our guide was nearby so wasn’t really afraid but exhausting swimming, boat had to retrieve me. Bella and Millie are like fishes in the water, I’m so impressed and James and Charlotte diving really deep.
After a light picnic on board, of tempe, rice, vegetables and water melon [provided] I tried again. They’d all found the current very strong but now it had changed and it was OK and brilliant. I absolutely loved it. Sunlight glinting through the water lighting up the shoals of tiny silver fish all around me, shimmering iridescent blue fish, big black and yellow flat fish, zebra striped fish, darting, twisting, zooming, floating every shape and size foraging on the extraordinarily beautiful corals.
The second stop was a ‘drifting’ snorkel, you could float with the current and the boat picked you up 30 minutes later. A deeper shelving reef of coral here, equally wondrous variety of fish and no one but us. So focused on watching, looking, following a fish, feel as if you are alone in the world of the fish, a guest in their domain.
Last stop was a bit sad, nearer to a small port where you could see destroyed and dying coral. Still fish but depleted. Hairy getting off boat. Big waves, I almost fell in carrying bag and camera but somebody grabbed me. Amazing experience.
Bali massage scheduled for tomorrow. To get there, an hour travelling pillion on the back of James motorbike – yes me!
I’m having such an adventure and it’s so lovely to share in a bit of the Monico Family epic Travels with them. Happy time with the family [especially to see my god daughter Millie] and I feel blessed to have come to this very fascinating and spiritual island. Look forward to seeing those of you I know soon, back home!