TravelBlogging

So long beautiful Meno

Not only that Balinese have their own and private temple to pray but they have a designated room for the honeymooners, so the groom and bride don’t have to leave somewhere else for that. I mean, I don’t understand why they would go for the honeymoon when they have the honeysun (year aka month, do you know what I mean? No? It’s ok, neither do I). 

The debate is: why it’s called honeymoon? And the winner is Kathrin who said literally: “because it’s the end”. 

Don’t mind me, just some reflections about the cultural differences and stuff. 

Leaving the beautiful island of Gili Meno was a bit sad, because we felt really welcome and people are genuinely nice and happy. 

Biking along Gili Meno is pure bliss. You get to see the endless golden beaches with the amazing clear turquoise  waters, nature is mind blowing in every possible way – colourful, perfect to the detail, every picture i take beats all the postcards I have ever dreamt of. 

Kathrin was very happy emerging from the water like a Bond girl:

I’ve been asked to pose like a diva, look, I am a natural: 

Andrei insisted to have a friendship bracelet, so we bargained for three:

So long beautiful bliss. I will never forget you. 

Going back to Bali today – in the north – in the little village called Kubu. 

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“If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”

That’s what the Greek gods said, not any less true in this particular case.

    I am not trying to be philosophical today  (even tough I feel like ;)), yet I don’t remember a moment I felt more grateful for simply being. Everything looks brighter when you have a clear head.

    Turns out that I didn’t had malaria but other local delights, equally nice. And I’ve spent yesterday quite a few hours at the local emergency room, getting IVF’s to put me back on track. 

    One (more) thing that I’ve learnt about Balinese, is that every household has its own temple to pray. Now I understand why.One definitely needs a temple to pray constantly and privately, in order to avoid such turn of events. 

    The situation is now under control, no panic (!), all I need to do is to take the medication prescribed for the next 7 days. I will not give further details about this, unnecessary and boring. Just one thing, since I am constantly advice free, here is another one: get that goddamn travel insurance that you took the last 30 times you travelled, this next time you’ll really need it. Karma is a bitch!

    I will resume with my posts as from today, when I get to know a bit about this amazing little island. I am on Gili Meno, the midlle island part of the trio: Gili Trawagan and Gili Air – situated East of Bali ( 2 hrs with the fast boat) and we stay in the yoga retreat Mao Meno. 

    Mao Meno is an oasis of peace and quiet, breakfast to die for and a very nice “manager” – a hippie happy girl named Mel, obviously she is not from here but a very well adjusted local. 

    I think all the frogs gathered here on this island because it’s party free and they can set the party scene themselves. Since it was raining the other day ( don’t we all know how much the frogs like that?) we had quite a concert, birds and bugs and gecko’s – all of them are very loud and happy to share their opinions about life, ALL the time. Oh, and just now, there is a little snake crawling just close to my chair. How cute is that? (Not). 

    While this is not the jungle – it feels very much like in the country side when I was (much) younger: there are a lot of chickens and a cow, here and there,  you can see the stars in the evening and hear the nature unfold as it should. 

    Ok, my country side lacked the amazing beaches that I haven’t seen yet but I will tell you all about it.

    Gili Meno is a Muslim island – they have this amazing mosque and you can hear the chantings 5 times a day. There is something mystical about the Islamic chantings, that give the place where are recited, a sense of worship and peace. 

    Now, I am off to see the turtles ( because I can! ) and I will actively get some rest. Maybe yoga, after all, this is a yoga retreat. 

    Namaste and love to you all! 

    TravelBlogging

    The fish was good in Padang bai 

    We arrived in Padang Bai on the 31st of December. The plan was to stop for the New Year’s Eve and have a rest before moving further to Gilli Meno island. 

    What was supposed to be short and sweet (2 nights) become a little bit of a nightmarish situation. When we booked this villa (Sukanta) , in theory, on Booking – looked ideal for two days. However, (socoteala de acasă nu se potrivește cu cea din târg)  this was not exactly what we imagined. Better yet, not only we we’re out of our comfort zone but out of any comfort.  

    The villa – a traditional establishment looks indeed very traditional and it is situated literally in the open air. 

    The bedrooms and restrooms protected by the roof and some basic walls that are not up to the ceiling but half way – we were literally out in the open, with the little companions, a bit like camping but less protection. The beds, true, they have the curtains to protect us from the insects but how well you imagine that works? There is even a pool. Yey.

    Lacking basic conditions and being in the middle of the jungle more or less (40 minutes walk to the harbour) –  not having any sort of transport – walking in 40 degrees heat with bugs and maybe more.

    We decide to make the best of what we have – we booked a liltle dinner for the night at the local diving establishment (resort they call it) to pass the night between the years, nothing fancy or sophisticated but that was exactly what we we wanted and there were no expectations. The people gathered there for the night, part of the staff of the diving club, had a blast and they seemed pretty high to me. The manager – a histerical lady with a strong Eastern European accent seemed to be the boss of the place (!) summoning the poor local girls like slaves. Pretty sad image. 

    Around 11 we decide this is not our party and we need some sleep. I, particularly, started to feel very sick – muscles and head hurting, temperature and cold, frissons and all that. I managed to walk all the way up to our place where I collapsed in one of these beds in a delirious state of mind, hearing and seeing untrue things because of the fever. I was sure I have malaria and I will die there in the middle of the jungle. I didn’t have malaria nor died. 

    For Kathrin and Andrei the fun just started, the electricity stopped working and they tried to fix it for couple of hours. Of course, without electricity – other basics, such as water, are lacking. Finally they give up, after few hours,  to fix it. 

    In the morning, we get into a discussion with the owner of the place, he is very hostile and we are already fed up with all this. One more night here and we will be gone in the morning. Next destination: Gili Mena Island. We managed to arrange with a local mafia guy ( at least this is what he looked like) tickets for our boat tomorrow and also a ride from the middle of nowehere to the port. It sounded reasonable but you can imagine this was not the whole story. In the end, I could read in these people eyes that we are some sort of money walking machines and not other humans. 

    The experience in this little port/ village left us with a bitter taste but, hey, what an interesting beginning of the new year we had! 

    #happythreefriends · #indonesia · #roger · BloggerLife · Happy new year · The future is now · TravelBlogging

    Hasta la vista,2016. Bine, hai pa.

    I really want to write something meaningful,  deep about this past year. 

    How it made us all better, learned from our mistakes, become wiser and more tolerant. Or how in the middle of chaos we stood still and accepted all with tolerance, respect and love. How when we’ve got hit we turned the other cheek for yet another slap. 

    Instead, I choose to live in the now – for real,  because it’s 2017 already in the future and I am here. Aim for the future friends! 

    Happy new year! wishing you all a better year ahead! 

    TravelBlogging

    The Island of Gods 

    Yesterday we decided to go along with our plan to visit some more of Ubud surroundings, despite the poor state we are due to the lack of sleep the previous night. High fever, headackes and barely able to move are not reasons enough to keep us immobile; stubbornly we decide to move along.                                                 

    The day was interesting and rich as much as the rest of them, yet extremely tiring.    It started with a traditional balinese dance which for some reason made me think of Romanian traditional dances (especially during these days with the Christmas and new year celebration). The resemblance is mainly related to the masks of the protagonists.The narrative, the usual battle between good and evil, is represented here by Barong and Rangda, where Barong is the king of spirits, leader of the hosts of good, and enemy Rangda – the demon queen of Leyaks (group of mythological figure in the form of flying head with entrails), the child eating Rangda leading the witches army against the Barong. 

    The dance is very dynamic and the music mesmerising. The masks and colourful outfits of the protagonists promise you access to a hidden, fascinating world. The expression of religion and popular traditional beliefs, Balinese take their dances seriously and there is nothing that can bring me closer to the exotic Bali island. I loved it!!

    On our way to the Tegenungan Kemenuh waterfall our guide stops briefly at the Butterfly Park of Bali which is a facility that preserve rare species of this beautiful wonder: Kathrin is fascinated and seems that the butterflies like her, I don’t dare touching them (yes, I am afraid of butterflies).

    The temperatures are high and combined with our fever makes us feel like zombies. We stuff in a lot of aspirin and painkillers, yet we are sleepy and we move slowly. We cannot stop now; we go further to see the promised wonder of Tegenungan – the amazing waterfall. I must say that I was disappointed . After descending couple of hundreds stairs (! I promise that was true, I didn’t imagined because of the high fever) we are in front of a waterfall indeed; the location is commercialised to the point that you can book a chaise-long and buy a drink while in your bikini – much like a beach except that seems quite inappropriate. The water is dirty – the explanation is that due to he rainy season all the dirt is moved along and reflects in the water here, the place itself is full of plastic everything and full of tourists ready to pin this location on their stupid selfies. We decide that we need to find a better one to wash the memory of this one.         

    We have to stop, it’s lunch time and we are happy to stop for some reinforcements. At this point everything is quite blurry and I hope that food will help me move further. Our guide is taking us to a traditional restaurant (Sawah Indah resto Ubud) – the food is perfection and the location on a terasse that you can watch the beautiful rice fields. Meanwhile I learn from our local guide about the offerings to the Gods. The daily “chanang ” -the Balinese term- are made by women (not men) -small, square, woven baskets made from cut coconut leaves and filled with flowers – accompanied by an assortment of gifts for the Gods and topped with a single stick of incense. In their simplicity, these modest but beautifully crafted banten – offerings – encapsulate Bali’s unique expression of Hinduism. 

    After lunch we move along to the Holy Spring Water Temple – it takes 40 minutes to get there, we use this time to rest,  in the car, as we get more and more tired. 

    Arriving at the temple, we learn that have to wear a sarong if we want to get in: At this point, it’s only me and Kat left, Andrei capitulated and sleeps in the car. This old Temple (cca 962 AD) is, considered by the locals, the place to purify from the bad influences, to clean your body and soul with the holy spring waters that are pouring from 30 fountains. Each fountain has its own meaning – serving to a different purpose (health, soul, spirit, death and life etc). Basically you can solve everything with this one holy water. You can consider that, I am now, pure of any evil (!). The transcendental beauty of the temple is simply breathtaking, luxuriant vegetation and the ancient architecture transport me in a different dimension. Either this or the fever, is now, taking a serious toll on me.By the time we reach the rice fields i am so knocked out that I cannot see straight. In addition, a tropical rain starts and I simply cannot go further. I managed taking this picture tough – I’ll have to go back there in a sunnier day – both outside and inside my head. Good night and good bye. Namaste!

    #happythreefriends · #indonesia · #roger · BloggerLife · TravelBlogging

    Hotness 

    Coming out of the plane I feel the familiar heatwave and sticky air that I actually enjoy after all the freezing air con used generously around these places. Is very warm and a filter of sweat with dust is filling immediately every pore of my skin. Taking a taxi to our hotel,  the traffic is not disappointing us. A hectic mix of cars, Vespas, and people that are carrying various activities on the side of the road is making our trip worthy. We pass a slum neighborhood on our way to the hotel: exotic fruits that look like figues with a snakeskin, all sorts of exotic fruits that I cannot name are sold everywhere and pretty much everything you can imagine on the open air stands, deep fried food or strange looking impossible to identify items. The tiniest children with their bare feet on the sidewalk eating, crying or watching us curiously, young men, old men, a skinny cat looking like she didn’t have food in months – all these in an impossible amalgam of colors, smells and noise that cannot be ignored. In the background, you can hear the inimitable praying mosques that give this place a very particular and charming identity. All the way to the hotel (about 45 minutes) is all the same. yet very different. I have noticed people eating on their Vespa, making selfies (with a selfie stick obviously), even sleeping. We are a bit afraid where our hotel would be. All I want is a shower and a proper bed. After several stops of our driver asking indications about the hotel address(panic!), we are finally here (Tangerang). It is luxury compared to the background, we actually have a huge room and a big shower (with moderately warm water, remember it’s very hot) and we have a proper dinner. Something that was supposed to be vegetarian: a sort of soup with seafood and chicken, not a bad mix with rice.

    Yes, we are in Asia. The place that cannot be mistaken for any other, the inimitable and unique land of mixed cultures, the melting pot where everything is possible. Nice to meet you Indonesia. 

    #indonesia · TravelBlogging

    Brussels Paris Jeddah Jakarta Bali 

    I know that I said I wouldn’t give any sort of travel advice but this one is for your own good: when booking a flight, book it in a Goddamn earthly hour. It’s so! so! so! important to arrive on time for your flight. Especially if your flight is leaving from Paris. And you are in Brussels.   Right: I am not a morning person (or day, or evening, or night for that matter but this is a whole other topic).                                  

    After having ALL the formalities/parking/check in and check out, you name it we are finally on board. 

    Now: flying on the 24th of December, crazy right? I mean with Christmas and all that. And having an escale in Jeddah for 7 hrs (!) with limited entertaining on hand ( yes, we actually had to talk to each other) , I mean seriously, who does that? Turns out that all Middle East.They are traveling to Mekkah for their annual Hajj -pilgrimage (I know, before asking me where Jeddah is I will certainly tell you: they don’t celebrate the birth of baby Jesus).  

    We have been surrounded by a sea of pilgrims sleeping on the floors probably tired after their Mecca revelations and all.  And I must say they have better coffee than Charles de Gaulle airport (and cheaper,I think, because to be honest I have still no idea about the conversion). 

    Finally we are on our second flight and the longest but I wouldn’t know because I have slept for 9 hrs. It was the best flight I ever had. The end. And oh, merry Christmas and Namaste. And a bonus picture with Andrei smoking in Jakarta airport after 24hrs travel not being able to.to be continued. Stay tuned.