Steve and I are now in Bali. I'd like to experience it a bit more before
telling you very much... but here are a few first impressions.
It's very hot. We've had some trouble adjusting to the heat and humidity. Part
of it is mental adjustment: getting used to the idea that you're just going to
be sweaty most of the time. Also, we have to adjust physically. It's better
than it was, and hopefully we'll continue to adapt.
So far, we've been in two cities (Kuta and Ubud) that mostly exist for the
benefit of tourists. That means that walking down the street is a matter of
ignoring all the people who want to sell you transport, or crafts, or clothes,
or accomodation. It means we're not seeing how the Balinese live outside of
tourism. This is bothering us, but we're trying to take it in stride and wait
until we've been here longer to make a judgement.
We soon realized that our warmer clothes are now completely unnecessary, and so
are making plans to send a shipment home containing jeans and some long-sleeved
shirts. I also found I needed a new pair of pants: in Indonesia, everyone wears
long pants or skirts. (Only tourists wear shorts.) But my coolest pants were my
convertible pants, which are made from nylon and don't breathe well. So I
shopped around, and for US$4, I found a great pair of off-white linen pants
that let lots of air through, yet are sturdy and comfortable.
Two nights this week, we saw performances of Balinese dance. They were
incredible. The music is cool, especially for the Kecak (pronounced "kechack")
dance, where the music is sung by a group of 70 males. It's syncopated and
rhythmic. On top of that, the dances are beautiful to watch. Each dancer has
very precise movements of the whole body, especially the fingers, eyes, and
head. The costumes are elaborate. I can't wait to see more dances - there are
several different kinds that we have yet to see.
The Kecak dance
Close-up of the singers
Since I'm in Indonesia, I'm trying to eat Indonesian food at every opportunity.
(Almost every restaurant has Western food as well, and often Chinese or
Mexican too.) And I am finding the food delicious! Every meal, I choose
something new from the menu, and have enjoyed just about everything. I am
beginning to think the culinary aspect of this trip will be one of the