It’s after midnight. Standing between the cars at an intersection she looks to be around 11 yrs old. Peering sullenly into the van window right at Emily, the image is still fresh on my mind. She has a baby strapped around her. Is it her baby? A brother or sister? Not really what I was expecting upon our arrival in Bali.
Before coming to Bali I did a lot of research on places to stay and got a contact for a tour guide. With the size of our family it looked like a villa was our best option. Most resorts only allow up to 4 persons, which meant an additional room. This added up to the price of a villa. No brainer! Our villa had a private pool, chef to come prepare breakfast every morning, and a spa around the corner. The only downside was that it was not on the beach.
I had pre arranged a two-hour massage for a mere $27! How can you pass that up? So, Bill and I enjoyed a fabulous couples massage to begin our Bali vacation. The kids slept in and took a dip in the pool after exploring the villa. Our first night was not the best as our villa was right off the very noisy main road. We mentioned this to the front desk and they moved us to an even better villa within the compound. Score!
That afternoon we met our friendly tour guide, Wayan Ari. My friend, Laura was so taken with him and his family she sent me with gifts in tow. This man ALWAYS had this huge smile on his face. He asked us if we like birds? We all snickered, and replied, YES! Fun Fact: Bill hates birds, especially ones that sit on your head! So, off we went to the Bali Bird Park. We loved this place! As soon as we walk in they are putting huge parrots on us for pictures! Bill even braved a picture or two. Emily was getting two beautiful toucans put on her shoulders when one decided to stick his long beak down her shirt! Man, if I had only had the camera ready for that one!
Temples, temples, everywhere!
One of my favorite temples was Tanah Lot (which means small island floating on the sea). It’s situated on a beach with black sand, something I’d never seen before. We stayed to watch the infamous sunset over Tanah Lot and it did not disappoint.
Tirta Empul Temple was probably the most entertaining temple we visited. The unstoppable water is believed to cure any diseases. While we were visiting I observed a grandfather with his granddaughter. She suddenly noticed a very large fish swimming near her and started hysterically crying and clawing her way up her grandfather. I couldn’t help but giggle.
We watched “The Barong and Kris Dance”, a play that represents the fight between good and evil spirit. It had five acts and by the second act the kids (and us too) were ready to go. The costumes and makeup were by far the best thing about this play.
MONKEY FOREST in Ubud!!!
Probably our most fun and SCARY stop. It was on the Amazing Race, so of course I wanted to stop here. When we entered the park there was a lady selling bananas to feed the monkeys. Who wouldn’t want to feed these adorable furry monkeys, right? Being the typical tourist we had to do this. We held the banana up and then walked towards a monkey. The monkey then crawls up you to get the banana and proceeds to sit on your shoulder while eating. We got some great photos of the kids with these cute guys. I had a more intimate time with my little furry friend. He scarfed down his banana, burped a few times, rubbed banana in my hair, proceeded to give me a new hairdo, and caressed my face. By the time the assault was finished my family was crying from laughter.
We also stopped at a tea/coffee plantation, ate lunch with a view of a volcano, went snorkeling at the blue lagoon, shopped, our guide got taken to the police station, rode elephants, fed tigers, celebrated Thanksgiving, and enjoyed multiple massages. Next time we might take it easy at a beach resort…nah.
My heart still breaks for that little girl who was begging at the intersection the night we arrived. It’s funny what images your mind won’t let you forget.