If you have not read the prelude, please do so now
For those who have… please continue to Part 1 of 3 🙂
The Balinese culture strongly revolves around balance.
The balance between good and evil.
The balance between family and community.
The balance of life.
I make it a high priority to keep a very balanced life, as it is a key component to my happiness.. regardless if it’s my typical Monday.. or an adventure to turn 30.
It really is all about finding the right combination of all the right ingredients that gives life all its delicious flavours and is exactly what made my trip to Bali so unforgettable.
It is all of these ingredients that you will taste over the next 2 weeks that made my trip amazing….. Ultimately, having me return back to Australia a much better person than when I had left.
These 8 major ingredients each represent a part of me, and when they are all blended together, make a dish one can never forget.
So come on.. take a seat.. grab your cat.. and make some tea.
It’s time to start tasting my recipe for Turning 30
Something I have always wanted to do but have always been too chicken to do, was go white water river rafting.
Other than a ride at Disneyland, getting on a raft to get whipped around in fast moving water doesn’t sound like the most “safe” thing in the world. So in order to preserve the length of my precious life, I have kept far far away from it.
Buuuttt now that I am old and 30 I thought:
“Yup! I have lived a long enough life, let’s do this shit!
My friend, myself and our maybe a little bit too friendly guide, set out on a 3 hour river rafting adventure in the heart of Ubud.
At first I was very very scared of falling out, drowning or getting eaten by a crocodile, but as the time flew by, so did my fear. Since there was just the 3 of us, it ended up being a lot more work than I had ever imaged. I could barely move my arms after just an hour going down the river!
Next time I am hiring random men with muscles to help.. because… well, hiring random men with muscles are always the answer to everything right!?!
But at least with the hours of sweat and blood (yes I cut my finger ) at least we were surrounded by the most beautiful sights.
Going down the river we were completely emerged in the Balinese jungle. Waterfalls, trees, rope bridges, you name it! It was as if we were right smack in the middle of the Jungle Book and we loved every second of it!
I can’t remember the last time I had so much action packed excitement, laughter and fear all rolled into one.
Befriending a Life Long Enemy
Lets talk about bats for a minute, shall we!
Now, bats are one of those animals I grew up fearing just like snakes, clowns, and Scientologists.
Horror movies, vampires, Dracula…
While visiting one of the temples, we came across a corner of creepy creatures that on any normal day would make me run for my life. There was snakes the size of Texas and other creepy crawlers, but the animal that stood out to me was this huge black fruit bat hanging upside down giving me the stare of DEATH.
For a small “donation” a man handed over the bat and gave me the chance to meet my rival friend face to face. As he placed the furry creature between my fingers, he fed the fruit bat.. well, what other than fruit (duh) to keep it from eating or biting other things.. such as me and my sweet Californian blood!
We placed the bat down on the floor so I could really get good feel of the animal. It’s wings were hard and bendy and it’s head was all soft and furry, which instantly made this animal now adorable, and no longer scary.
Unique Creative Experiences (4 scoops)
Cat Poop Coffee
One thing that Bali is famous for is its poop.
Its cat poop that is.
I happened to mention my love for coffee and my driver said he had a very special birthday stop for me.
He took us to a place in the hills where they made their own Luwak coffee, the most expensive coffee in the world made from the poop of the civet cat.
We were given a tour through the plantation and shown step by step how the coffee was made. Starting from the bean..to the pooping..to the roasting, we spent an hour learning more about coffee than I ever thought was possible.
After some begging and pulling the “It’s My Birthday” card, they let me hold civet cat, giving me the opportunity to meet the poop king first hand that gave this coffee it’s distinct taste. It was very cute and cuddly and I automatically added it to the “I want” list of animals, now totally a whooping 45,342 🙂
We were also allowed to help assist with the picking and roasting of the coffee beans before headed off to a tasting room. I guess we could have helped with cleaning the poop off too, but there was a couple waiting behind us, we didn’t want to be selfish.
After the tasting we confirmed the coffee was delicious indeed.
Good work cat, keep the great pooping up!! 🙂
As one who always enjoys some good old arts and crafts, finding a way to embrace the Balinese culture while utilizing my creative side was something that really appealed to me.
I was lucky to come across this small art studio located in a remote part of Ubud that would help me with this fix!
Located in it’s own private bit of Bali paradise, this unique art studio was surrounded by rice plants, running water and was just simply..
The 5 hour workshop consisted of just myself and an elderly Balinese man, who spoke little to no English. The instructor began by grabbing a newly cut piece of wood between his feet and carving it down towards the size of the mask.
He handed me about 20 different tools and began showing me how to angle and use pressure correctly with each piece.
Sadly I did not catch on as quickly as I hoped.
He would leave me alone for 2 minutes and all of a sudden I would have turned my mask into Batman!!
Leave me alone again….
SHIT .. HE HAS 3 EYES!
This happened almost every single time he took his eyes off me.
He would fix my mistakes….leave me on my own..and boom…
BATMAN AND AN EXTRA FACIAL FEATURE ALWAYS CAME BACK!
There was quite the language barrier between us, but I am pretty sure he kept saying idiot every time he looked at me.
I have to say it was a very long 5 hours… a very very hard 5 hours. Mask carving was no walk in the park, but once I was able to get feeling back in my fingers, scrape all the ants off my butt that have been crawling up my dress, and actually see the final product…I felt very accomplished 🙂
Animal Bonding (9 Tablespoons)
Elephants have always been one of my favourite animals since the time I can remember. This might have a little bit to do with the fact I watched Dumbo every day till the time I was 10. Such a great movie 🙂
So obviously, any chance to have some one on one time with these beautiful animals was something I was not going pass up!
Before I booked this encounter, I made sure to do my research on the the Bali Safari Parks and its reviews on animal treatment. Being the leading Safari Parks in Asia when it comes to the health and welfare of the animals, I decided to go through with the booking, under the impression these awesome guys were in great hands, and I think they were!
It was incredible experiencing the power of the animal underneath my legs and being able to feel the little hairs on the back of my feet as the elephant slowly walked along the trail.
A we rode through the park you could see the other elephants playing and eating and they all did genuinely seem to be happy, thank god.
But to be 100 percent honest, I was very torn with how I felt with ever step our elephant friend took. I started to look forward to hanging out with them afterwards, and getting off this poor guy’s back as soon as possbile.
Once off, we headed to the feeding area where we had 5 very hungry elephants awaiting us. Fruit by fruit we fed the elephants, with each buddy having a different personality than the next. I think both my friend and myself were a little bit on the retarded side when it came to feeding them at first, as we both tried sticking the fruit up there nostrils, instead of their large mouth hole located underneath their trunk.
Whoopsieeee 🙂 Their memory is not THAT great right?
We eventually got the hang of it, and hanging out with the big guys just reinforced my absolute love for elephants.
You know the funny thing about facing my fears, is almost every single time I do, I cannot wait to do it again! I was scared of rafting, but found out I love it! I was scared of bats, but found out they are actually really cute animals in a bit of a blood sucking way.
It’s these realizations that fear really is only what you make it, that encourages me want to challenge everything I fear.
Baby steps people baby steps.. spiders still have a long way to go…
But a steady balance of standing up and embracing my fears just continue to grow who I am as a person, and continue to open my eyes to things I don’t really fear, but actually instead.. love.
But how else would I have ever known?….
Thanks for tasting the first few ingredients, come back next week for the next instalment..
2 litres of Enlightenment,
6 scoops of Embracing Culture
7 tablespoons of Giving Back
2/3 cup of Let’s talk Food
A Splash of Ocean Love