Tuesday, 30 August 2011

I'm loving Bali

Another day at sea, sailing from Broome north-westerly to Benoa in Bali. Once again beautiful weather and slight seas.

The days we spend 'at sea' are quiet and relaxing. The early morning gym classes are well attended. Watching the sun rise over the ocean is a beautiful way to start the day and Suraya Namaskar feels so ... right. Each time we have a day at sea I get to the class early, before anybody else, and have the room to myself for a few minutes. In the class we do some exercises that are new to me and I feel I must remember them so I can pass them on to my own students. Most of the movements I learn are easily translated into Yogic type asanas.

On sea days I read a lot and relax on the deck until the music gets too loud - at which point I retire to the library or to our stateroom balcony, my own little refuge. In the afternoon and early evening Roland and I sit on deck and enjoy a gin & tonic. We have met people on board who have become friends and chatting to them is a pleasurable pastime at any time.

From the Captain's Log: "... we commenced the final approaches to our anchorage and entered the Southern entrance of the strait named 'Selat Badung' ...". Soon after, Sun Princess anchored in Benoa Bay one mile off the coast of Benoa. We went ashore in one of the ship's tenders. Each tender can take 150 passengers and they speed through the water very quickly. Being squished in with so many people is not my cup-of-tea because of my tendency to claustrophobia - but I made it there and back.

As we stepped off the tender there was a gamelan band and dancers to greet us. I felt a surge of excitement to be back in Bali.

My first trip to Bali in 2009, a Yoga and Cultural Tour (if you click on the link, yes, that is me in the photograph!) with my good friend Michele - who has a huge knowledge of Bali, the people and the culture, which she shared with the group. This stood me in good stead during this whistle-stop visit. I knew about the traffic, the hawkers, the exchange rate crooks, how to bargain (well sort of, I'm not very good at that ...).

This was Roland's first visit to Bali; I think the culture shock was fairly pronounced. We shared a mini-bus with friends from Brisbane who we met on the ship; the Balinese driver, Ketut, a friend of theirs from previous visits. Mike, from Queensland, had been a courier driver in Brisbane. He sat up front with Ketut and did some magnificent back-seat driving! Roland was on the edge of his seat most of the time. I had warned him that a 4-lane highway usually carried at least 6 lanes, maybe more. I think it was the scooters that really got to him, especially the ones with 3 or 4 people (including children) riding them. I love to see the elegance of the pillion passengers who are wearing traditional dress and sitting side-saddle not even holding on.

My main focus, knowing that we had only a few hours, was to visit the Memorial of the 2002 bombing.

It isn't really on an angle, that is just my photographic skill or lack of such skill. I find myself teary when I read the names of the people who lost their lives in the bombings. The Balinese leave small offerings in front of the Memorial and there was a loving letter to one of the victims that had recently been placed on the ledge.

We did some shopping, very important in Bali! Roland's sole purchase was a pink stubby-holder with "I love Bali" on it. When we got home Lily immediately purloined it for her dolls to use as a suitcase! I don't think Rol minded too much.

We returned to the ship in good time but because some of the ship's tours had gone as far afield as Ubud, there was some delay with passengers returning and we left Benoa later than expected - not that that was my concern, I was exhausted. Nevertheless, we watched the final two tenders being winched up and secured. There are so many interesting things to see over the side of a ship.

From Bali we headed for Geraldton ... and this was the exciting part of sailing because the ocean decided to show us puny mortals who was boss around here.

I'll continue the saga at a later date (not tomorrow as I have other things to do).

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