Saturday, April 07, 2012

Seeing more of the country side

Our last day in Bali dawned earlier than the other days. We were heading out onto a cycling trip and I wanted to wander the grounds a bit taking photos so we set the alarm nice and early.

The van was there to pick us up right on time and we spent the next hour making our way up to a breakfast spot overlooking a volcano. The drive was fascinating. It was nice to experience the local culture of Bali as we passed beautiful ladies walking to the temple with these incredible fruit towers on their heads, children playing, farmers working and shop owners setting up their displays. The traffic was less busy and the scenery was incredible!

Our breakfast spot was gorgeous. We had driven uphill most of the way so that we looked out over the valleys and rice terraces. I could have spent hours there but the day was only beginning!

After breakfast we headed down to where we each got our bikes. I was a bit nervous as I hadn't been on a bicycle for 4 or 5 years (yes - again I did this to myself) but figured I would get into the groove soon enough. Everyone helmeted up and off we went!

What an incredible ride - down hill most of the way on surprisingly good roads. We stopped at a family's house to see what a traditional Balinese house looks like and watched them weave bamboo mats. Then we rode out into rice fields on these narrow little roads that were no bigger than 3 feet across. (That part made me a little nervous - okay a lot nervous so I walked down the steep parts). As we were driving along - a man suddenly popped his head up in the ditch. The ditch is also their irrigation system for the fields and so they were full of water. As I rode passed I realized he was bathing naked and his underwear was lying on the side of the road - too funny!

We stopped to harvest some rice and then were off again. We off roaded through the trees and popped out onto the main roads. (Okay so most people rode but I might have stopped a couple times to walk - and I wasn't the only one so that made me feel better!) And then the inevitable happened. There were two girls in front of me and the rest were way ahead. They had said to stop and take photos wherever so when the girl slowed right down and stopped I just though she wanted a photo. Nope - they were actually turning with the group. I was sure I spotted Kim ahead and so kept riding forward. All of a sudden the guide pedals up and asks where I am going. Hmmmm - not too sure where I am going so we took a different route to meet up with everyone. As bad as I felt for missing the turn, I was glad to come across some sites you don't see every day - a motor bike laden with helium balloons for a celebration (the balloons were twice as wide and twice as high as the bike itself and so colorful and shiny - it looked really funny), kids playing soccer, grandpas hanging out on the stoops and grandmas picking up groceries. Trucks filled with chickens and dad's driving with their little babies on the bikes. Houses dressed for weddings and temples dressed for celebrations.

The rest of the group met up with us at this massive tree that was 500 years old. It was huge and sooo beautiful. We drove through more villages and passed more rice plantations before we landed at a cock fight. Kim and I couldn't watch the fight itself but it was an amazing experience being there and watching the men partake. A little ice cream cart parked off to the side under the shade. Winners and losers at the sport. Roosters being groomed and preened - being teased with each other.

Towards the end - there was an opportunity to do an uphill climb or continue on with the easier riding style - After seeing the steep off roading I didn't think I was up to a 10 minute uphill climb and then a 5 minute down to go another 20 minutes uphill. The guides kept warning everyone - it isn't the climb but the humidity and the sun that will get to you! So 3 of us stayed back while the rest climbed. I wished afterwards (once I knew it was mostly softer grades on paved roads) I would have maybe tried it but I was scared that I would be holding everyone back - Kim went and did an awesome job. So proud of her!! The downhill afforded me the luxury of a few photo ops though which I am glad I had.

All too soon we were at our lunch spot overlooking a rice field and then heading to the coffee plantation. We tried a wide variety of coffees and teas to end a fantastic excursion. Really glad we booked that one. Back at the hotel to shower and then off to the airport.

Farewell Bali - I am sure we will meet again as your beauty and soul drew me in. You are lovely!

No comments: