Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Bicycles, Culture and Rice paddies!

We awoke early and got a ride up to our stop for breakfast – with a view!! We ate on a balcony that overlooked Bali’s biggest and most active volcano on one side, and a volcanic lake on the other, it was stunning! Breakfast was a huge all you can eat buffet, with black rice pudding, chocolate and banana pancakes, nasi goreng, fruit platter, etc. I ate like 3 platefuls!

We got a ride to our next destination, another coffee plantation, so we tasted some more coffee and were buzzing by the time we got to the start of the bike tour. We selected our bikes – mine didn’t actually have seat padding so they had to change the seat, grabbed our helmets and off we went! All downhill (yay) for the most-part. There were some annoying uphill sprints and one extremely dangerous downhill plunge where I nearly came off my bike!

We stopped along the way at various stop-offs, like a family living compound. Where we found out several things like there is a north south east and west in the compound, the middle building is for special ceremonies like Birthdays (did you know the Balinese celebrate TWO birthdays a year?! Every 6 months!).

The east building is for the older generation to live, like the grandmother and grandfather, as they worship the elderly in Bali and believe they should be granted a special house in the compound. The kitchen is normally in the west side of the compound and the family temple is to the south. This particular compound had two kitchens as two brothers and their families lived here so it stopped the sister-in-laws fighting over who cooks – they can both cook for their own families! Also In Balinese culture, when a child is born you have a ceremony, hollow out a coconut, place the babies placenta in it and bury it, marking it with stones. They are buried outside the elders house, as they believe spirits reside there of ancestors who look after the babies. If a child is ill, crying, badly behaved etc, the parent will bring an offering to the spirits guarding the placenta, and the baby will stop crying/get better!

We made another stop along the way at our guides house/compound and saw his family and how they made a business out of carving wooden doors. We also stopped at some beautiful rices paddies and a wonderful prayer tree before our 25km tour came to an end. We had lunch, which was buffet and consisted of things like Mie Goreng, Nasi Goreng, duck, beef and chicken stir-fry, salad, vegetables etc, again, it was A-Mazing! Then we were dropped back off at our homestay and we met with Devyn and Chandler, had a meal at our local, and then went and packed, ready for moving onto the Gili Islands tomorrow!

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