Published: February 23rd 2011February 23rd 2011
Bali truly has something for everyone. This is most evident for us as we seem to like things we see in shops which hasn't really happened since the himalayas. We are in Ubud which is sort of like Westdale village on tropical steroids. It almost seems there are more foreigners living here than natives but balance and harmony still persist. Many many opportunities are here for locals that do not exist in any other part of the country. There are designers and artisans of all sorts whereas most towns are full of knockoff that are the same in every shop. (this still happens but is far less frequent) If Kuta is the hyper-hedonistic bastard child of Bali, Ubud is its refined, well groomed cousin from back east.
Art is the major draw for most but for us its the food. They even have.... BAGELS, made fresh and served with hummus. For those of you who have crashed at our old house you may remember that is a highly common breakfast for Jenna and i except we top it off with a heaping pile of sauerkraut. There is no kraut around but there are health food cafes with real juices (i had beet juice today!), flax seeds, and fresh baked cookies. My inner glutton is on overdrive without remorse! Everything is more expensive here but the quality is higher and much worth it. This village is simply divine and although a very uncommon incarnation for indonesia, there is nothing not-indonesian about this place.
We decided to splurge on a 20$ room and get a bungalow with a serene garden filled with flowers and birds. Every morning we are served coffee and breakfast on our private veranda and our room even gets cleaned every day. As much as this is wonderful it makes us uncomfortable as we are not used to this sort of treatment at all and for the most part do not wish it.
The Iron Maiden concert was simply stupendous. It is the most internationally diverse grouping of folks i have ever been in a crowd with by far. Anyone who likes metal and was in Bali was there as well hoards of locals die-hard fans were representing the Bali chapter of Maiden Troopers. I was a bit misinformed as to the venue and it was not a hindu temple but more of a giant temple themed park. It is for tourists but they have a large amphitheater cut out of a hillside and beset on all sides by high rocky cliffs. The show was undersold so there was lots of room to move around and the sound was top notch. I however fell ill just before we entered the venue and felt ill the whole concert so i wasn't rocking out hardcore like Jenna (maiden is her fave band) but still had a blast. Everyone who attended was absolutely beaming and no one had a bad time. We ran into our swiss buddy from Pulau Weh which was great. His friend got sick the day of the concert and gave him her ticket and we ended up hanging out with all his dive school friends who were a pleasantly boisterous bunch. The only bad part was the beer tent didn't sell any water and i REALLY did not feel like a drink but needed liquids so had to drink beer. The beer was warm because they couldn't keep up with demand and that did not help but after 6 cans i felt better surprisingly.
The band killed it... every song and it was amazing. To see a bunch of 50 somethings rock that hard with such outpourings of boundless energy is a testament to the awesome power of metal! The setlist was a mix of songs from the new album released last year and old crowd favourites that had everyone except me jumping around insanely. The whole stage was set up as a space ship as the theme for the tour is that eddie (their alien-zombie-monster-demon-mascot) takes on aliens in outer space. They even had the giant robotic eddie romping around onstage for a couple songs near the end which sent the crowd into an even larger uproar. Bruce Dickinson (the lead singer) is a phenominal showman. His finesse and energy are astounding and he is a true performer. I could say more but i have invoked enough use of the superlative for one day.
Australia in 2 days, go figure. I still don't believe it but i am bad in that way where i do not think i am actually going somewhere until its happening. This is not an excuse to not prepare as i am a strong proponent of all kinds of preparedness. None the less we ARE going and we have to because our visa for this country runs out the day after our plane is scheduled. We are nervous for customs as we have heard many a tale of the gestapo-like habits of the agents in Oz but as long as we are careful and declare everything it should be fine as long as they don't mind the several kilos of coffee we plan to bring in. All in all we sad to leave Indonesia but excited for a new land and the wonders and challenges that await. We will absolutely come back to indo.. we have to. It is the the most interesting country and we have only scratched the surface of the nooks and crannies abound that lay in wait for those willing to seek adventure. For now we shall return to stuffing our faces with delicious and look forward to a new day!
The day we fly to Darwin will mark one year since we left Hamilton. It is just another day but we humans seemed to get attached to prescribed lengths of time and their supposed meanings. I don't know what it means to be away from home for one year but we miss and love you all and thank you for keeping in touch.
Cheers to you all!