Captain Steve working on the non-functioning windlass (the mighty machine that pulls the anchor up and lets it down).
Indonesia - Legalities, Temples, Shopping and even a Big Fire
Hold off on the lawyers, guns and money for now! We are finally checked into Indonesia, legally. It was quite a process that took 2 days and quite a few gifts to the officials but we have permission to remain in Indonesia finally.
The tsunami and earthquake occurred well northwest of us so we missed those too!
Aspen is at the Bali Marina, a dilapidated place they call a marina. The docks are crumbling, what little electricity there is functions erratically and the marina is in a very remote part of the island, near the local fishing fleet. Did we mention that it is really hot here? Really HOT!!! The air is stifling, and the humidity matches the air temperature. There are very few places that have air-conditioning here and we can't use ours on Aspen because of the power issues.
But the restaurant at the marina is nice and the local food is good. Prices are cheap here for just about everything. However, you have to bargain hard for everything you buy, except groceries of course. It is challenging to pay 80% less than the asking price every time!
So where is the Bali of legend? Well, things change with time and most of Bali is very crowded, noisy and busy. However, outside of the main town things are better. We are now in Ubud, the cultural center of Bali in a very nice hotel called the Mansion. The people are nice with the local Hindu people taking care of us.
Bali is Hindu with temples every 100 feet or so! Everywhere you look there is a temple. We must wear a sarong to enter the temples but they rent them to you outside, no worries. They have traditional dances inside the temple that are colorful and always tell an interesting story.
Maria enjoys shopping but in Bali you cannot shop, you buy. If you pick up an item you may just as well have bought it. Asking a price for something also tells the Balinese that you have bought the item. That is when Captain Steve steps in and has to negotiate a price. Having a good poker face really helps! We can never look happy when we buy something because that shows weakness. Instead we celebrate once we return to the boat and look at our purchases. The shop keepers or street vendors always ask where we are from and when they hear USA they always light up because of the ties with Obama during his youth here.
We thought we were going to rent a car here but after our first day of taking a taxi we decided that demolition derby is not fun for us. The driving is indescribably horrible in all of Bali. Police officers lurk around every corner looking for rental cars so they can pull them over and fine them on the spot for any made-up traffic violation. But there are no rules here and practically no traffic laws so any fines are whatever they want them to be. Strange! We hired a driver and a vehicle for the same price as a rental car with all the fines so it works out well when we want to go somewhere.
We decided to escape the heat, dirt and noise of the marina for a few days and are at Ubud as we said. The Mansion is a 5 star hotel with lavish gardens, air conditioning, huge suites, attentive staff and best of all a great spa. Maria has only had 3 massages in 2 days so far. I think she is going for a record! The massages are pretty inexpensive so we can afford to splurge on them.
Today is a historic day in Ubud. They are cremating the old king! Yes, he passed away and lucky for us the cremation is today. We visited the site and it is adorned with huge monuments surrounded by hoards of people waiting for the big fire in the main street where the cremation will be held. There will be 6,300 pall bearers carrying the body. They also sacrificed a sacred cow and the cow's head rests near the king's body. It is quite smelly yet impressive to see it on a large plate at the foot of the temple.
We hope you enjoy the photos on the blog site!
Sail on sail on Aspen...
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