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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Bali (Benoa) Indonesia

Aloha Everyone,

Indonesia, located between the Pacific and Indian oceans, is the world’s longest island country. It consists of more than 17,000 islands. Indonesia, with over 267 million people, makes it the 4th most populous country in the world.

GWK Cultural Park was our first stop. A Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue illustrates Wisnu riding a mighty, eagle-like Garuda, a mystical creature that represents loyalty and selfless devotion. Garuda is also the national emblem of Indonesia and it represents freedom.

Ubud, the Sacred Monkey Forest, with temples, shrines and monasteries was our next major stop. We received warnings to be mindful of monkeys. J.J. cautioned  me to avert my eyes to avoid direct visual contact. Screeching with frightening speed and strength, without warning, a large male monkey came to me and grabbed onto my backpack. I shouted for J.J. who came to shoo the animal away. It all happened within a few seconds. No harm done to me or to my backpack. We later heard that these monkeys are trained to go after targets with potentially value like cellular phones and sun glasses.

To show respect, visitors to the temple are given an orange colored sash to wear around the waist. For those who are in shorts, one is given a purple colored wrap to cover their legs.

Bali, we heard from frequent Australian visitors, is a great place to come to spend a week at beach resorts. Beautiful beaches, great food and colorful Balinese culture are what visitors enjoy.

For us, perhaps we saw a darker side of Bali where access to public beach roads had toll booths, parking lots across the beach had a person collecting payment and sandy beach was full of debris. Fresh fruits vendors and souvenir hawkers who surrounded us were overly enthusiastic invading our private spaces.

We returned to the tender and the comfort of our ship with a sigh of relief that our day excursion went without any incidents. The entire cost of US$50 inclusive of taxi and the driver, entrance fees to two main attractions. The taxi fee of $80 was split with a couple from Australia who had agreed to ride sharing.

Aloha -- Cathi