Bali memories

I’m still absorbing and processing the outrageous, unforgettable experience of traveling up into the river into a national park, looking into the eyes of our next-of-kin: the awesome “people (orang) of the forest (hutan)”, the endangered orangutans. While I organize thoughts… there are still parting memories of Bali I have to share.

Staying through another moon cycle meant… another full moon temple ceremony! We heard the gamelan on the beach all day, and made our way over after sunset when the music picked up in earnest. Jamie and I thought that we stayed late when we left around 11, but the gamelan played until nearly sunrise.

This proud father is teaching his soon how to play early.

Father/son musicians

It’s impossible to convey the incredible impression made by a startling combination of organ-jangling gongs and the graceful orchestrated movements of young girls. Suffice to say that they make me smile so long and hard that my cheeks hurt. Unfortunately, the photographs aren’t great, since I didn’t want to interrupt with a flash and the full moon isn’t that bright.

Balinese dancing

When I can separate myself from the intense sounds and motion and observe outside the circle of music, I love seeing things like this: boys trade a laugh (a critique?), a girl captures a quick photo of her fellow dancers on a mobile phone, the teacher studies, and friends whisper behind a fan.

Balinese dancing

A festival atmosphere takes over on the fringe of the temple grounds. Food stalls offer treats- how about a little goat sate? That clean-skinned carcass tells you how fresh it is.

goat sate

Further out, fishermen lose small fortunes, gambling on the waters edge.

fishermen betting huge sums

We got used to the rhythm of the beach on Lovina, with busloads of (mostly domestic) tourists showing up just before sunset a few nights every week.

Totem from Lovina beach

One morning, a bunch of schoolboys set up their model boats on the beach. I loved how the outriggers resemble the same boats their fathers take to see for fish our shuttling tourists. Of course they do.

boys on the beach

Here’s the life sized version, without mast/sails up. Long and narrow, but stabilized with the amas.

narrow beam

Our Facebook followers have seen this one already, but one afternoon we had a couple of waterspouts dancing around the bay. Not something we ever like to see, but it passed without incident.


Taking a break to visit Pulau Mengjangan was the best thing we could have done to avoid burnout in Lovina. It was so nice to be back in clear water! A smattering of reef fish hide in the shadow of our dinghy.

dinghy and fish

This one looks like it had a close encounter with a propeller… I really hope it wasn’t ours.


I wish every memory was good. As I’ve mentioned before, though, we found much of the Indonesian waters to be literally trashed. Bali’s relatively high population probably contributes to how bad the situation was. Single-serving water “bottles” like this are everywhere. The kids call them garbagefish.


Two views of this beach help hammer it home. I cranked up the saturation in one to highlight just how much garbage is on the sand. There was a pair of nesting birds picking in the trash… kind of depressing.

trashed waters of Indonesia

trashed waters of Indonesia

What’s it going to take to change the ease with which people chuck plastic on the ground or in the water here? It can be done… it wasn’t that long ago we had the same mindset in the US.

trashed waters of Indonesia

Many more photographs of Bali, and most of them very uplifting (promise!)- not garbage!- on our Flickr stream.

3 Responses

  1. Gahh.. Indonesians and garbage! It’s heartbreaking and maddening. Changing the mindset is not impossible, but some people are just really ignorant and hardheaded. Looking forward to the very uplifting pictures!

  2. The sights and sounds look to be awesome, even though the garbage puts a damper on it. It is heartbreaking, and we still see it in areas of the US. Maybe it will be a generational thing, our generation gets it started and our kids will make it happen.

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