On Thursday, September 19th, we touched down in Bali. We were here to volunteer (teach English) for two weeks and to explore the area in our free time. With the locals speaking little to no English, we had to speak in simple sentences and hope for the best. To start, we got lucky with a very good taxi driver (Geday) who gave us incredibly cheap prices for trips because we were volunteering at a school. He became our driver for the two weeks and also our guide.
We landed in Denpasar, a major business city in the southern part of Bali. We took the two and a half hour cab ride to the north called Tianyar, where we’d be both teaching and staying. The Yayasan (the Balinese word for orphanage, or in this case the town’s after school program) was founded, built, and managed by Ketut, a 31 year old Balinese local. More about Ketut and teaching at the Yayasan in the next blogs. The place was about 500 meters from the beach (not a sandy beach where you could lay out but a rocky place docked with fishing canoes).
Tianyar was HOT. Unbearably. In the daytime around the hours of noon til 3pm, most people were somewhere in the shade and napping. The Yayasan was especially hot because it was surrounded by trees and had little to no breeze from the ocean. It was hard to do anything let alone nap in such stifling heat. No a/c, just a couple of fans in the bedrooms to circulate the hot air. We quickly learned that locals took a shower three times a day because of the heat. We did the same.
We taught in the afternoons on the weekdays and so had the mornings and weekends to explore the area. A few of the places we went to while trying to stay cool …
Some of the numerous terraced rice paddies we came across during our time in Bali. The white flags planted in some of them were to scare away the birds.
Pura Besakih Temple – the holiest of all temples in Bali. The Balinese Hindus take ceremonies and going to temples to a whole new level. Not only do they have temples everywhere and go frequently, they also have blessing ceremonies for practically everything. Our neighbor near the Yayasan bought a new motorbike. He and his friends had a ceremony for it.