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Published: July 17th 2018
I flew into Bali from Kuala Lumpur on what was a very turbulent flight. I got a bit braver than normal on the approach to Bali Denpasar airport and took some photos out of the window - very unusual for me to do that, but I did get some cracking photos of the mountains poking through the heavy cloud.
We circled a few times before we were able to land and then on the approach to the runway, I actually started to wonder where it was! For quite some time it looked like we were going to land in the sea!! Needless to say, we didn’t. I went down the steps from the plane and was greeted by the most amazing sunset. Beautiful pink and orange skies.
I was out of the airport and in to my taxi within an hour of landing which was good going as the queue at passport control was enormous. The taxi driver set off on the journey to my hotel, the Abian Harmony Hotel, the traffic was horrendous! With cars and bikes in whatever lane the felt like, sometimes making their own extra lanes, it reminded me of Kathmandu but not as dusty.
After an hour I arrived at my hotel which was lovely, checked in and went to my room - it was enormous.
The next morning I decided it was time to post some of my belongings home as my bag was so heavy I was struggling to carry it. I packed up all the things I didn’t think I’d need for the remainder of my trip and set off in search of DHL which wasn’t too far away. I walked for about 45 minutes (having got lost a few times) and arrived at DHL to find it was closed so walked all the way back! At least walking around, I got to see a bit of Sanur and look out for some good places to eat and maybe pick up a few gifts.
I found a vegetarian restaurant on the main road just down from my hotel and ate there. Veggies and noodles and a drink. It was really good and really big! The bill arrived and it came to 65,000 IDR and I thought that sounded really expensive until I checked and lunch had just cost me £3.41.
I spent the afternoon pottering about and
went to meet my tour group in the evening. We met, did the normal exchange of travel insurance details etc. With our guide and an optional dinner. I skipped dinner as I’d found out earlier Elena, who was volunteering in Borneo at the same time as me, was in Bali so we arranged to meet up. It was so exciting to see her again and hear of her adventures thus far. A great evening with awesome food.
The next morning it was an early start with breakfast at 6:30 so we could be on the road to get the fast boat to Senggigi, Lombok where I’d be spending the next few days. I was actually quite surprised by how organised it all was with boarding passes etc. The boat journey across to Lombok was pretty good and we saw the volcano on Bali spewing ash out on the way which was spectacular. We arrived on the black sandy beach and collected our bags and headed for the coach.
We were then to drive to Tetebatu village which is known as pottery village to see the pottery making process with the locals. We watched as one lady made a
plant pot on a wooden wheel, it literally took about 5 minutes and was pretty impressive. It was explained to us that most of the women in the village will make pottery and once a week they’re able to fire the pots. There is only one kiln which is actually a fire pit and they take it in turns to use it. The fire is powered by coconut shells delivered by a local man on a moped who we saw arrive whilst walking round. The village sell all of their pottery through a local warehouse so it keeps things fair it’s sold centrally. Some of the pots are sold across Indonesia and Malaysia. Following the tour, we went to our hotel for dinner.
The following day, we set off on a guided rice field walk. The walk took us from our hotel, down in to a valley, through forest and out on to the rice fields. The walk was much more challenging than I was expecting with ledges to walk over with a 20ft drop next to it, through a river, over rocks on tiny slippery footpaths it made for great fun for a couple of hours! The views
of the mountains across the rice fields were so picturesque, it almost didn’t look real. We watched as some workers in the fields were harvesting the rice, this was done manually. We were told by our local guide that they sometimes use a Japanese cow... machinery named as they’re all made by Japanese manufacturers.
We stopped in a small village where we were able to try a cup of the local coffee which is strong enough to make you twitch! Cocoa beans, vanilla, cinnamon, chillis and macadamia nuts are also all produced here.
When we were finished with the walk, we returned to the hotel to grab our bags and drive to Labuan Pandan which would be a drive of a couple of hours.
On the way to the hotel, we stopped to visit Loyok bamboo hand weaving. We sat on the floor with the villagers in their small shop and I suppose mini factory and they showed us how to weave with bamboo, I think it’s fair to say we were all terrible at it! Each of us left with a hand woven bamboo ring which was sweet. I had a potter around their shop and
was actually pretty impressed with the skill involved. To make some of the more intricate baskets or bags actually takes several weeks.
Leaving the bamboo weaving behind, we headed for Pringgasela - another local village where the speciality is fabric weaving. When at home, I have been to several demonstrations of factories with a loom and machinery to weave fabric. Walking through this village, I cam to understand just how painstaking manual weaving actually is. We were introduced to a couple of women sitting on the floor weaving fabrics, all of them differed, some were weaving special fabric with logos or symbols in, some plain, some with chemical dyes some with natural dyes. They each will create a 6m length of fabric to be used for clothing, table cloths, scarves etc. and at a minimum they will take in the region of 6 weeks to produce. Weaving is always down by the women in the village and girls begin to learn the skill from the age of 15. We went back to the main warehouse for the fabrics and had lunch whilst a few of the group tried on the clothing.
After finishing in the warehouse we made
the short journey to my beach bungalow which would be home for the next 2 nights.
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