Hanging With the Natives on Bali

One day we hired a guide to show us some interesting highlights of central Bali. The first stop was the Taro Elephant Safari Park. This was a hit with the kids, especially Sydney, who has wanted to ride an elephant for months.

We were able to get up close and personal with the pachyderms.

The kids loved to feed this guy. However, he was quite picky and would refuse all but the freshest pieces of bamboo.

Of course the highlight was actually riding on an elephant. Sydney and I sat high atop “Boris.” Andy and Aidan rode the spunkier “Ramona” who stopped a few times for greenery along the trail.

After our safari it was time to see some temples. We stopped at a small lovely place near Taro.

Religion permeates every aspect of Bali life. Offerings are given frequently and everywhere I found myself taking care everywhere not to accidentaly step on them.

Sarongs are worn to honor the religion even by foreigners. Sydney looks very peaceful at this moment in hers.

Aidan who as a child technically did not have to wear the clothing kept asking Andy why he was wearing a “skirt.” We reminded him it was a “sarong,” but I am not sure he appreciated the difference.

Aidan was hungry and short of patience for temple sights so we headed to our next stop the famous suckling pig restaurant of Ubud.

Pigs have been roasting daily here for years. You must get there early or the best cracklin’ is gone.

The food is delivered in a traditional way.

A short walk down the streets of Ubud led us to the aptly named Monkey Forest.

The monkeys were rascally and would steal objects so you had to hold tight to your belongings.

Visitors were not to feed the monkey unless directed by the staff. We were given some bread and taught the proper technique – hold your hand with bread above your head with a startled child by your side.

We enjoyed our outing so much. Unfortunately, we were so relaxed in Bali it has been hard to break our lazy habits. Poor Andy who works the hardest is still trying to get this monkey off his back :).

Balinese Cooking School

One of the greatest pleasures of a trip to Bali is enjoying the local cuisine. We took advantage of a cooking class offered by our resort to learn a bit more about the wonderful flavors we were sampling.

We started the day in a market. Here Aidan barters a price for some chilies.

He must not have been too tough of a negotiator because he made friends easily with the sellers.

We were given a list of ingredients to put in a basket.

I was glad these rice paddy eels were not among the requisite purchases.

After the market, we headed to a village house that has been in the same Balinese family for four generations. Our ingredients were beautifully displayed and we set off preparing our lunch.

The oven was a traditional wood stove. Coconuts were smoked under rice to add flavor. The oven temperature was controlled by our instructor’s breath.

The kids enjoyed helping; here they clean the rice.

Sydney later rinsed the shredded coconut while Aidan helped me with the sambal paste.

Most Balinese people are Hindu and religion permeates all aspects of their lives. Families have their own shrines and offerings are placed before meals. Our hosts helped us honor the deities in a traditional style.

Lunch was served on the edge of a lovely rainforest.

The food turned out beautiful and delicious.

Black Rice Porridge

I am hoping to recreate some of the dishes at home. Now I just have to figure out where to place the wood-burning stove…

Beautiful Bali

We just returned from Bali, Indonesia!  This is our last family trip before we head back to the States in less than two weeks.  It is hard to believe our adventures are winding down.

We saw many volcanos on our flight to Bali

We decided to skip the beach and head for central Bali which is known for its rice paddies and temples.

We stayed at the Amandari Resort.  It was absolutely lovely.  Here is a view of the paddies outside our back door.

The Amandai was so peaceful.  The resort decorated villas of honeymooners with special flags and flowers.  We were surrounded by young starry-eyed lovers.  Hopefully our spirited children did not set back their family plans for too long.

Even though the hotel had a quite romantic feel, the staff was quite welcoming to the kids.  Local children daily practiced dance and preformed for the guests.  The hotel actively preserves and encourages  the local culture which is wonderful.

Here Aidan and Sydney try to get into the act.

My kids love the water.  Here are few pictures of the pool.

…and Sydney in her favorite water spot the outdoor bathtub where she can make all the bubble mess she wanted without getting into trouble.

I look forward to sharing more of this magical place.