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Beautiful, Beautiful Bali

GETTING THERE. Bali, Indonesia is close to four hours away from Manila, by plane.  For the first time last summer, I and my friends all decided to spend New Year’s Eve outside the country.  It was to be the best decision of our lives.

WHAT TO SEE. Bali has everything a beachcomber/pseudo-backpacker like me would need:  great food, fantastic landscapes, even more food, side trips, great places to shop, and occasional temples for soul-rejuvenating. The carefully hand-crafted, almost always symmetrical Balinese aesthetic is evident everywhere you go, its weather-washed appeal tempting me to pull out my iPhone 5S to take a photograph or two–so for an entire week, I never ran out of inspiration.

BILLS OR CREDIT CARD? Withdrawing from ATMs there is fun (you do not need to use your credit card at all–just bring your Cirrus-member ATM and you wouldn’t have a problem)–what comes out is millions and millions worth of bills they call rupiah.  It’s a happy thing to be able to stash Rp1,350,000.00 at any given time in your pocket.  But, that’s really not much at all: it’s only close to about P4,800.00.

GETTING AROUND. There aren’t too many taxis, buses or trains around Bali.  But that’s the idea: you go to Bali to walk, and slow down, and shop, and stop, and eat, and walk, and stare at able-bodied surfers.  That’s the kind you’ll get used to seeing: mostly Australian dudes without shirts on, and their shapely girlfriends in swimsuits and cutoff denim shorts, walking the small streets in flipflops and smelling like coconut oil.

SPECTACLES!  And then, there are the beaches.  Hands-down, we have way better, and finer, white-sand beaches.   But when it comes to gently sloping shores and active waves, Bali doesn’t disappoint.  There’s just way too many tourists around these parts, so the garbage could be quite a concern (see dumptruck photo below: that’s their way of collecting trash along the Seminyak shore). There are quieter pocket beaches all around Bali, but if you’re in for a little rendezvous with new friends, Seminyak and Ubud are your best bets.

The best thing though about going to Bali during the New Year holidays?   New Year’s Eve.  Google it up and you’ll know what I mean.

Overall, Bali is so beautiful, and charming, that there was no other thought in my head but how and when next to go back.

Check out some of the shots I made.

Offerings to their Hindu gods.

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Restroom window, Earth Cafe.
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Earth Cafe.  Serves seriously organic food.

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Lamps for Sale.  Really cheap!

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Buttered corn.  P180.00 each.  Yep.  IMG_2903

Traditional Balinese food: goreng-flavored rice, noodles and fried chicken.
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Seminyak’s shores.  Sunset.IMG_2793

Windsailing.  Seminyak.
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Mike’s profile against the sunset. IMG_2824

Duty done. Garbage collection truck, Seminyak. IMG_2817

Oh yeah, the things tourists will do to attempt to look cool. IMG_2810

My favorite flower that we call kalachuchi back home.
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One of Bali’s crazy-beautiful entrances to their villas.

That’s the best way to spend time in Bali–live in a villa.  Ignore the hotels! IMG_2811

Sunset. IMG_2815

Nicely weathered resto setup. IMG_2671

Mike being eaten by the yellow backdrop. IMG_2645

Chili. Yeah! IMG_2622

Balls, lots of ’em.  Late night partying.
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Chilis for the taking.  Balinese cooking class.IMG_2545

Balinese cooking class. And no, we weren’t able to enrol–they were fully booked. 😦 IMG_2543

Basic mode of transpo for everyone.  You rent one for cheap.IMG_2538

Iced tea that tastes like a hundred rosebuds. Sarap! IMG_2511

Bamburu Restaurant.  Very good food, in a fantastic, chill ambience.IMG_2539

Breakfast. IMG_2540

Rambutan and pool in the villa. IMG_2459

Probably the best place to have authentic Balinese food, in a breathtaking setting, is Bebek Tepi Sawah.

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Bebek Tepi Sawah restaurant’s rustic, seriously Balinese appeal.
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This is me standing right in the middle, with my best friends. IMG_2315

Among the many gods displayed in Bebek Tepi Sawah restaurant.
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Gilded doors to heaven.  Lavish.IMG_2196

Parasol. Another view. IMG_2212

Look at these doors! IMG_2079

Lotus. IMG_2225

Bali is one of Asia’s most prolific centers for modern art.  This is one of them.IMG_2175

One of Bali’s commercial art centers selling beautiful pieces from cheap to impossibly expensive.
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Instruments you can use.  This produces a sleep-inducing, relaxing plok-plok sound when you strike the bamboo tubes.
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Native.

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More bikes for rent to choose from.  IMG_2135

Quiet afternoon in the villa.
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Really good ice-cold.  This is Bali’s most popular beer. IMG_2087

And this is really good cold coffee with a softdrink fizz.  IMG_2126

Really nice, crisp, fresh Roka Salata.IMG_2088

Mouthwatering Mediterranean starter plate.
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Assorted meats and veggies. Yom.
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Lotus.IMG_2077

Genuinely fake watches. IMG_2069

Jean.IMG_2063

Gateway from our villa to the beach front. IMG_2052

Happy beachfront colors.IMG_3406

My kind of view. IMG_2060

This monkey was milliseconds away from harassing me. IMG_2045

Happy villa.
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Outdoor shower. Oh yeah. IMG_2039

Entrance to our bedroom. IMG_2037

Bambuku’s expert carinderia service.  So spicy-good. IMG_2032

Bambuku’s way of computing the food that you ordered. They give you a ticket per item that you ordered, then you present the ticket to the cashier during payment.  IMG_2021

Excellent spicy chicken dish from Bambuku.
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Lunch and Girl. IMG_2013

Bambuku, again. Hay, beautiful. IMG_1998

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Yes, Vespas for the renting. IMG_1996