Saturday, December 22, 2012

Destination of the Week - Bali!!!

Okay this is going to be blast from the past...a trip down memory lane.  If you think you are getting a look at modern day Bali think again.  I was there back in mid February of 1977 before it became the huge tourist destination it is today.   It was my first trip to a third world country and to say I was in shock was an understatement.  I was on a six week "Circle Pacific" tour and this was the first stop on the "Orient" (yes, that's what it was called then) portion of the trip.  I was a very naive 24 year old who had never seen such poverty before. 

I found the diary from that trip and it was interesting to read the portion on Bali.  While I didn't keep detailed notes I did not have much that was positive to say about Bali. It shows how far I have come in my acceptance of what the world is really like.  However now I can appreciate the fact that I saw it before all the discos, bars and Ozzie invasion.

What do I remember the most?  A trip to the Sacred Monkey Forest.  Yikes.  Monkeys, monkeys and more monkeys.

It was my first experience with monkeys in the wild....and I learned what little varmints they could be.  We had to guard our purses (no backpacks for me back then...I was a real little lady) as the monkeys would take every opportunity to steal them or anything in them.  However the 'highlight" for me was when a monkey started walking towards me with a determined look on it's face - I quickly closed the case on my camera (which was hanging around my neck) which was a good thing as it climbed up my front, turned around and sat on my shoulders with it's paws on each side of my head above my ears.  I was in hysterics screaming at my group to get it off of me and the rest of the group was in hysterics laughing.  No one thought to take a picture. (now I'd be screaming "take a picture for my facebook profile picture"!!)  I walked with his HEAVY monkey on me and was screaming to get it off me (no one helped me - they were still laughing)  and laughing - quite the experience. I still can't believe no one took a photo!  It was probably only three or four minutes but felt much longer.  I was worried it was going to shit down the back of my pretty green pantsuit. (I said I was a little lady when I traveled back then...what went wrong?) I didn't even worry about it biting me or scratching me - just ruining my nice pantsuit!  It eventually jumped off and I walked around for the rest of the afternoon with a very dirty top as the monkeys feet were very wet. Some of the older women on my trip were terrified I had gotten fleas - it hadn't even occured to me but all was well.  It's a story I love to tell and something I will never forget.  That's what I think of when someone mentions Bali!!!

Temple in Monkey Forest
Balinese children - this is one of my all time favourite photos - I just wish she hadn't put her hand in front of her mouth!!!

We saw Balinese dancers - the gingham sarongs were on many statues around Bali.

Typical view of the rice paddies

Women carrying bags of ????? 
 I have mixed feelings about going back...while my memories of Bali are fading I would kind of like to remember it as it was....before the massive tourism boom.  However the other part of me would love to go back and see it with a much more open mind. 

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