Usually when cruising the arrival of a ship carrying a thousand passengers or more ripples out through the community, one way or another.
That’s not how it goes on Bali!
A few facts. The island is about 145km by 80km and is home to about 4 million people. So, a lot of people on a small, mountainous island. In 2016 they were expecting another 4 million international tourists and about 7 million domestic tourists (so says Mr Google). 1400 people on a cruise ship – doesn’t even register
What it means is the island is busy busy. I was very happy to see that it didn’t look like Waikiki when we arrived. (By which I mean no rows of condos on the beach)
Wilf had connected with Bali Island Tours on the Internet, and owner/operator Nyoman Ariasa was waiting for us when we docked.
Say hi to Nyoman! Born and raised on Bali he was a terrific guide for our two days on the island. Unlike most of the rest of Indonesia, Bali is a predominantly Hindu island, and Nyoman shared the history, culture and faith of the island with us, along with the sights.
So, what did we see?
Some jewelry making
Some batik production
And the most photographed temple on the island – Tanah Lot
It was high tide so the temple itself was inaccessible. That didn’t stop people from edging out there
We also visited a coffee company that, amongst other things, sells Lewak coffee. Don’t know what that is? Does it help if I tell you that a Lewak is a civit cat? Cat eats the coffe beans, a little fermentation happens, cat poops out the coffee beans, some lucky person collects and cleans them and then roasting, grinding and preparations take place. And you know what? It tastes exactly like. – coffee! I guess I don’t have a very sophisticated palate ’cause I couldn’t tell. (Or maybe the truly terrible coffee on the Volendam has changed my taste buds. Great ship, great food, lousy coffee) Local joke is that instead of a cappuccino you get a cat poopuccino. . Hahaha. I’ll stop now.
Nyoman took us up to see the town of Ubud, known for its arts and crafts production and its yoga retreats. Only problem was that about 1 million of the tourists on the island were also there! After the movie ‘Eat, Love, Pray’ Ubud got even busier than it once was.
We did get to see the famous rice paddy valley – in the pouring rain!!
Should you decide to go to Bali – look up Nyoman at baliislandtours.com and he will take great care of you. And book more time than you think you need – it takes a lot of time to move around the island.