Bali - Immersed in rain and alcohol, praying for good food and love
Rain and Alcohol
"Every cocktail has a time, a place, and a purpose." This is taught by an old friend of mine several years ago when I was still someone who didn’t drink.
Over the years, I have made some progress. For example, I am more easily amused, have become more picky, get along better with others and pursue less fame and fortune. Well, as for my drinking capacity, it has also improved.
January on Bali island, the air smells salty and wet. Salty is the sea, wet is the rain.
Alcohol makes one tipsy, but rain can keeps you sober.
I stayed in Bali for seven days, I was sometimes sober and sometimes drunk, immersing myself in the rain and alcohol.
I missed the sunset of Jimbaran and the bath of Pura Tirta Empul, and even my original purpose of coming to Bali became blurry.
Sometimes sunny and sometimes rainy. Where shall I begin?
Oh well, human nature is so hard to change.
I still have no desire for alcohol, just like I still don’t think of him either.
Mountain Ridge | You are my "Tequila Sunrise"
Tequila tastes strong and bitter, so even though my drinking capacity has improved somewhat, I am unable to drink three tequila shots completely.
To be honest, I can easily get drunk.
However, tequila sunrise is amazing, and it tastes wonderful for the mixture of strong tequila and fragrant fruit juice besides the bitter taste. If you take it as an iced drink on a hot day, you'll start feeling dizzy after a few sips.
Just like the weather here, it’s also confusing.
It has been rainy almost all the time since I came to Bali. So I had to go to Campuhan on a gloomy morning.
I thought it must be an unforgettable experience to walk along the ridge on a rainy day. However, sunlight went through the thick cloud and shined on us after the heavy rain.
A temple came into view on the way to the mountain. Actually, many temples can be seen all the way, showing a firm belief of local people.
The temples are built neatly and nostalgically with moss growing in the cracks, giving out a special and fresh smell after rain.
It is said that the towering and symmetrical temple gates stand for a balance between good and evil. I wonder if I could find a balance when going through the gates.
Did you know there’s a quiet but wonderful path especially suitable for trekking in Campuhan Ridge? You can hear the sound of birds' singing deep in the path, you can also view terraced fields and villages in distant mountains.
I'm afraid only few people know about this path since most of visitors go for Pura Tanah Lot, Pura Tirtha Empul and Uluwatu Temple. So I like it very much, it suits me.
Alright, I might be seen as a bit anti social, but that’s fine.
The farther you go, the broader the view becomes.
I passed by many houses. Smoke rose from some of them, and some others had been abandoned for many years.
I don't know if we were lucky or the path was unpopular because the entire time I saw nobody but my friend Miss M and myself.
Why do people like to go hiking along the same path as others? Why not enjoy a clean and fresh scenery of temples, terraced fields, villages or mountains in your own way?
Everything went well with me except for the hot sun after the rain, it gave me sunburn.
The surprises you can find are far beyond this hidden hiking path. In Campuhan, the Bali Swing is also lovely and not known to many people.
Oh, Ubud. That is why I love you so much.
I was deeply attracted to the beautiful mountain scenery so that I didn't even go to the sea on the first few days of this trip
You can hear the babbled stream before entering Bali Swing.
Going along the mountain road, a broad space came into my view, I saw a girl screaming and swinging through the thick trees.
The local people are really clever, or we may say they are a little cunning.
Without swings, these places, even with beautiful mountains and waters, wouldn’t be so attractive. Thus, they came up with this original idea to put some swings and several birds' nests here to attract visitors.
The swing that could swing the highest was the most popular, but we were reluctant to line up. So we just got into one of the bird's nests first.
Many tourists were curious about the nearly identical white dresses Miss M and myself were wearing, but they soon "understood".
Before we could explain ourselves, they said, "Oh, got it. Congratulations!"
Hmmm I find that funny.
We tried the swing when there were only a few people.
I was assisted by an Indonesian young man who praised the tattoo on my shoulder over and over again though he didn't know the meaning of it.
It didn't matter whether he knew the meaning or not, I guess the the only thing mattered was that it looked pretty.
Ready? Let’s fly!
You may ask me how I felt while flying. Let me tell you. I felt like being swallowed by the trees as the swing went up and down. I laughed and screamed. I wanted to breathe in more oxygen, but the only thing I could feel was breeze. The higher it swung, the dizzier I felt, just like being tipsy.
Once again, the sunshine shined brightly on Ayung River through the thick clouds.
Treetop | Gentle like "Grasshopper"
Grasshopper, the name of this cocktail, smells fragrant and tastes mild and smooth.
It flows in your mouth gently just like a kiss from your darling girl.
What a gentle feeling!
Afterwards, every time I drink it, I think of the lush and green forests in Ubud.
Covered by thick forests, Ubud has many surprises. Mango Tree Spa is one of these surprises. People say it's a pity if you don’t experience spa in Bali. But I don't think so. After all, travel is a personal experience it’s related to your feelings and emotions at the time of travelling, it has nothing to do with how many must-do’s you have completed. I prefer drink some alcohol rather than getting a spa.
However, I was actually intrigued by the “Spa on Treetop”, even though I didn’t plan for it before this trip.
Most local people are religious, so you can see believers donate flowers and food to worship gods at dawn or dusk. Walking along the path in woodland, you can smell burned spices all the way. I didn't like it in the beginning, but I got used to it gradually, I even started to like it.
We came here for different purposes. Miss M came for spa, while I wanted to enjoy a leisure afternoon.
Walking into whisper zone, you can even feel the shake of tree leaves because it is extremely quiet.
Just as its name Mango Tree Spa implicates, bamboo houses here are built into the shape of mango. The little house on the treetop is very exquisite, there is where spa treatment is done.
Spa here was really relaxing and we also enjoyed the delicious desserts. Miss M blamed me for eating nothing and then she also refused to eat to avoid putting on weight. I said nothing but smiled to her. Actually, I don't like desserts as much as she does. The only thing I wanted to do was staying there with her quietly and watch time go.
We happened to come across legong dance, it was an impromptu performance by some local girls. According to islanders, the best way to communicate with gods is dance, since each gesture, each step and each posture have their unique meanings. We watched the dance while listening to the drumbeats. It was so amazing.
Believe it or not, good time is used to waste.
The light from sunset is as gentle as the Grasshopper cocktail, making people drowsy.
Island Reef | Hola Chica "Margarita"
If you ask me where my favorite is among all the shiny places in Bali, I will tell you it is Nusa Penida.
If you ask me what cocktail I like best in those drunken days, I will tell you it is Margarita.
As a kind of base cocktail, tequila really tastes wonderful. It can be made into cool Mockingbird, sweet Tequila Sunrise as well as Margarita, which has a unique “contradictory” taste. It tastes sour and salty, bitter and sweet. This is what Margarita left on me. It is said that this cocktail was made to remember a departed lover. I don't know if it is true or not. The lemon symbolizes the bitter deeply in the heart, but for me, it is as sour as sunlight shining into eyes. The salt rust onto the cup symbolizes the tears while missing the lover, but for me, it is as salty as seawater beating on my ankles.
Nusa Penida was very popular in old days and it left me with a deep impression.
Mountain roads there are rugged, local transportation is slow. But I love the island particularly. I can't wait to make it known to all of you, but I'm also afraid to destroy its silence. Isn't it contradictory? Isn't it similar to your love for someone? You hope that her beauty is praised by others, but you also hope that she only belongs to you. At last, you’d behave like a small child who hesitates to show others the candy inside his hand.
I was in love with this island, I had enough rainy days in Bali, it was only on this island I had a clear sunny day. So, hola chica, Nusa Penida.
Nusa Penida is less famous than Nusa Lembongan though it is several times larger than Lembongan.
While heading for Penida from Bali, many visitors got off the boat at Lembongan. Only Miss M and I as well as some shy Indian tourists stayed.
The captain wondered why we chose the quiet Penida instead of the popular Lembongan.
I didn't know how to explain. In the end, I told him I wanted to enjoy the pleasure of owning the whole island. He then understood.
We got on a bus after getting off the boat. By then I had understood how tiring a long journey could be.
Penida has long been relatively isolated because of too few visitors. Thus mountain roads there are extremely narrow where breathtaking scenes are common when one vehicle gives way to another.
It took us one hour to get to the north coast from the wharf, and it was the longest hour of my life.
The bus jolted all the way and we went up and down in the back. Fortunately, I did not feel carsick; otherwise, I would probably throw up all my organs.
Finally we got there. When I stood on the cliff, watching the waves splashed onto the shore and feeling the warm and wet wind, I felt it was all worth it.
The Indian tourists who went with us had gone, there wasn’t anyone along the entire coast, I felt so tiny.
I've always had a special love for ocean. I get a sense of belonging every time I watch it.
All my troubles and worries become insignificant when comparing to the vast sea.
Walking along the coastline, we saw the Indian tourists again. They sat with their backs to us. Before we got close, one of them turned to us suddenly and said, "You know what, I'd like to sit here all day long." At first, I didn't understand him, but later as we walked over, I was also stunned and almost moved to tears by the beautiful scenery.
This pure land has a touching name, that is, Angel's Billabong.
Glistening with a gradual blue, this lake looks like the eyes of Penida, which faces to the sky directly.
I once learned from books that smell was the best carrier for memory. Your memory will be recalled with the familiar smell even though you have forgotten the stories. Now I can't remember how long I stayed there. The only thing I could remember was the smell I once smelled at that time. Was it the freshness of sea wind, or the bitterness of tears?
It is true that the book tells the truth.
Penida is a shy beauty with Angel's Billabong as her eyes and Kelingking Beach as her hair.
I was almost jolted to death on way to Kelingking Beach which was bumpier. I even thought what if I was scammed. But in fact, the breathtaking scenery surprised me a lot.
There are many island reefs of different sizes alongside the long coast with white sand beach hidden below the hills. It seems that it is isolated from the rest of the world and ready to be discovered.
There must be some paths to the white sand beach. I would walk along the steep ridge if time allowed. However, I didn’t have enough time for the adventure, and left with pity.
Hot Spring | Hot Bikini "Blue Daiquiri"
Daiquiri is the sexiest cocktail which tastes sweet and strong, and somewhat sour, just like a cozy cat. Who can hold such seduction? No wonder Hemingway once said "My Mojito is in La Bodeguita, my Daiquiri is in El Floridita".
Do the wildest thing, drink the most amorous cocktail. So, I went to a hot spring in hot Bali.
Even when it is not a rainy season, Kintamani is probably still enveloped into the mist.
It rained heavily before we were ready to hit the road. The clouds were very thick but they dispersed when we reached the peak.
Kintamani, an active volcano, covered with thick trees, breeds rush streams and tranquil forests. But he is also a boy with a bad temper who destroyed numerous villages in an eruption. After hundreds of years, now it is prosperous and lively again.
On a sunny day, the Batur Lake looks like a mirror, reflecting clouds in the sky. But it is also perfect to visit on a rainy day since the terraced fields are washed with breathtaking green.
Where there is a volcano, there is a hot spring. The hot spring is right next to Batur Lake. This is the true volcanic spring which can generate much heat in the pond. You will feel sweaty soon.
Only few people know this place, so no one will compete with you for the best spot to enjoy the lake view. All my exhaustion was washed away by the hot spring.
Walking further in the pond, I enjoyed the beautiful landscape in the mist. Couples were very open, they kissed passionately in the water. I stared at them, then Miss M saw me and splashed some water on me. I was not jealous. It's important to enjoy the good times with your lover.
There are quite a few restaurants around Kintamani, but basically they are of similar taste. What a bad news for a foodie! Luckily, I am not so picky about food. After being immersed in the hot spring, I felt no appetite. What I preferred more was the beautiful landscape.
Clouds come and go. The mountains which were clearly seen now hide in the mist again. But I don't feel disappointed because I've seen its most beautiful scenery. Strangely, a mountain in the distance was covered by golden sunlight while the rain was coming. This is Bali. While it’s sunny here, but it’s raining there.
Then I thought of line from a poem: “Coming to this world is not easy. You should treasure this chance and enjoy the beautiful sun. You should take time to walk on the streets with your sweetheart.”
If there is no sun, then you should find light yourself.
You should not feel gloomy, but you should try to be happy every day.
Charming Valley | One more "Mojito" please
Mojito is kind of interesting. If you have no idea about cocktail, then drink this. If you want to drink all day long, then drink this. If you want to celebrate something, then drink this. If you want to divert from sad feelings, then drink this. The more typical a kind of cocktail is, the more creative it can be. One hundred people can make one hundred flavors of Mojito. All my memory about Mojitor is refreshing and beautiful. In the tropical sun, a glass of cool drink may greatly satisfy people. It tastes really awesome with the fragrant mint, strong lime and cool ice.
In Bali, there are many hills and valleys, one of valleys is Royal Pita Maha. The sun after rain is very hot, but here inside the valley is very cool. Thus, Miss M and I chose to spend the afternoon here. What a wise decision!
Royal Pita Maha was once operated by imperial descendants. We can still feel its solemnity from the complex carvings and delicate stone figures. The optimal spot to enjoy the valley view is in the restaurant. Standing on the platform, you can see a clean stream which merges into River Ayung.
We felt very relaxed and spent our tea time chatting.
The mountain road twists and turns in the rainforest, giving a sense of wonder.
Walking on the steps covered with mosses, I found an infinity pool. Wouldn’t it be cool to enjoy the pool all by yourself?
Sitting beside the pool and putting my feet into the cool water, I felt extremely relaxed.
Besides, I could hear the songs of cicadas from time to time.
No one knows summer better than cicadas, right?
The valley looks fantastic at dusk when sunlight shines through the mist. As for me, I've spent all day drinking Mojito. Miss M played a joke on me: dark night gave me dark eyes, but I use them to look for alcohol.
Just as I said before, all my memory about Mojito was beautiful, and so is now.
I have lots of time to spend this peaceful afternoon with my best friend on my side.
I would forever treasure all the memories here.
Maybe each passing day seems ordinary, but they contain so much peace and happiness.
The Other Shore | "Sex on the beach" is awesome
The name of this drink “Sex on the beach” can be quite embarrassing to say for people. But its taste may surprise you with rich and distinctive flavors. It seems that you are lying on the beach and feel the waves come and go. It tastes gentle with the fragrance of cranberry and orange the minute you drink it, but it will taste sweet like smooth moonlight over the sea. In the end, you'll taste the strong flavor of vodka just like waves on the seashore.
There are several beaches dispersed around Bali, such as the busy Kuta, the pure and clean Nusa Dua, quieter Blue Point, and the popular Jimbaran, all of which have their own characters.
The infinite blue of sky and sea is like a dream, what else would be more satisfying than stepping into warm beach sands?
Nusa Dua Beach has pure white sands, it makes a peaceful atmosphere with the blue sky. But if you like a long seashore, then Nusa Dua might not be a wise choice. But it is a good spot for dating.
Located close to the south bay, winds and waves here are strong. People are advised not to get into the sea too far even though a seawall has been built.
Comparing to other beaches in Bali, Blue Point Beach seems to be tiny under the jagged rocks. As it is located in the southernmost area of Bali, waves here are even stronger than Nusa Dua. European surfers like to surf here, but Miss M and I could only sit and watch them from the cliff.
It's a big world, there are too many interesting things to be explored.
The beach became lively after tide went away. Young girls were picking shells and conchs in threes or fours.
I've never longed for sunrise in Bali or pursued any sunset because I know it all depends on timing.
When we reached Jimbaran, the sunset was almost close to horizon with its afterglow on the sea. Hair seemed to be enveloped with a hazy silk.
It was getting late, but young men still bravely pursued waves in the sea up and down.
Many of them were born and raised here, so they have a deep affection for sea.
People all like Jimbaran. You'll be definitely intoxicated with the romantic scene at dusk which is totally different from daytime. Your ears will be filled with sounds from glasses, street singers, as well as laughters from men and women.
Sometimes seagulls came and competed for the fish bones thrown away by tourists. It seemed to be the first time these young children got so close to seagulls, they shouted innocently.
I took off my shoes and walked in the waves. The sea water felt warm.
You can see beautiful scenery everywhere. The sunset may look the same day after day, but to me it is different every day.
Don't ask me which beach is the most unforgettable.
I can only tell you that sex on the beach is awesome.
Dense Forest | Wild as "Gin & Tonic"
Many say that Gin & Tonic is a drink for men because it tastes bitter and strong. Tonic water balances the fragrance of juniper berries when mixed with double or triple amount of gin.
It’s been said that girls should not order this drink on their first date because it could ruin the romantic atmosphere.
But who says us girls shouldn’t drink Gin & Tonic by ourselves?
Life is tough, sometimes we need to spoil ourselves, be a kid again.
Before leaving Bali, on this day I wore my favorite clothes and put on a weird outfit. Our hotel was located in a tranquil forest in Ubud, my favorite part of Ubud. Every time I went into the forest, I felt like I was returning to nature.
Let me be myself this time.
It rained again after lunch which wet my canopy. It was interesting to wander in the rain, large drops of rain fell on me, like washing away all my guise.
Wonders grow on fertile lands, and fruits are the hidden gems in a dense forest.
I mistook jackfruit for durian, which was mocked by Miss M for a while.
So what, they could all bring us sweet aroma that belong to the tropics.
The guy who taught me how to drink Gin & Tonic, once told me that I shouldn’t use a straw, I should drink it like a boy, with large gulps.
No wonder I often got drunk while drinking G&T. This wild and strong cocktail was a perfect fit for the freedom I felt in this dense forest.
I ran and laughed in the forest like a smart deer, like a brave bird.
You are what you drink.
You know, I just want to be myself.
Food and Love
I don't know how many people get to know Bali from the movie “Eat Pray Love”. We fill our stomach with delicious food, comfort ourselves with prayers and wake up our dead life with love.
This time I was lucky to taste her delicious food, listened to his prayer and witnessed their love.
I met them in an Indonesian cooking class, they taught me one-on-one. He was thin with healthy-looking brown skin. He was kind and honest with sweet smiles and a gentle voice. The Ubud market was very lively in the morning with hawking from different vendors. He led us through the colorful vegetables and fruits, and patiently explained the usage of weird Indonesian spices to us.
During our talk, he casually mentioned his wife, showing a sense of happiness. I was curious and asked him what his wife was like. He said, "My wife is the best cook in the world."
They are a fortunate couple. They simply enjoy living an ordinary life. Their kitchen is their work studio. Cooking delicious meals with your beloved one, how beautiful is that.
Their house was at the end of the road across the green rice fields. Though their house didn’t have fancy decorations, their attention to details could be felt everywhere.
They had a lazy Chihuahua because she was a dog lover. That Chihuahua gave birth to more baby Chihuahuas, so their family of four got upgraded to an even bigger family.
On the kitchen wall hung a photo of her when she was much younger, she smiled beautifully.
We heard her laughter first before entering into her kitchen. She put on light makeup, seemed to have put on some weight compared to the young lady in the photo. Perhaps she saw our puzzling look, she smiled and explained to us that it was the difference between before and after marriage. We all laughed, she was such an easy-going lady.
It was not difficult for me to learn cooking. And plus, with this gentle and humorous teacher, I learned fast.
I mashed all the spices and put them into the hot pot together with other ingredients just as she did. Before long the entire kitchen was filled with aroma. While waiting for the delicious food, she told us their love story.
Years ago, when she was still the slim girl in the photo, she met him in Denpasar. She felt she didn’t belong to this small island, so when she fell in love with him, she had to make a decision about their future.
At the end, they decided to split, moved on with their respective life. Until one day, she was tired of living an expatriate lifestyle, she realized that she still couldn’t forget him. So she returned to the island, came to his door, it was the bravest decision she ever made.
Now another 20 years have passed, they live happily together, with two beautiful children and a bunch of Chihuahuas.
The fire in the stove was about to go out, but their story went on.
She was really charming as she focused on her cooking. She liked to add quite a bit of sugar to her dishes though. She was mumbling as she was adding sugar: “One spoon for sweetness, one spoon for happiness”.
But I saw her added three full spoons of sugar.
Perhaps she saw me, then she turned to me, smiled and said naughtily, “OK, honey, the last spoon is for luckiness”.
He said, thanks to god who answered his prayers and made her come back to him. He wouldn’t have this harmonious and joyful family for twenty years if she hadn’t returned.
She said, the happiest thing was to cook every meal for your beloved ones. Life doesn’t need to be complicated, home is wherever you are.
Just before I finished writing this journal, I heard from a friend that my ex is now in a new relationship.
Why am I excited, it’s not me who fell in again again.
I’ve known him for a while, he has grown from an immature boy unafraid of anything, to a responsible man.
He was such a laid-back free-spirited guy, never thought of meeting his Miss Right, settling down.
But just now, a moment ago, he said to me:
“Although I don’t know how long we can be together for, but I’m willing to walk this journey with her, to as far as we could. I want to make her a silver comb, help do her hair until our hair becomes white. Just let me be romantic for once, even though I’m still uncertain about the future, but I know I won’t do this to another girl again.”
So my dear, please have faith, every encounter has its purpose, fate will take care of everything.
You eat, you pray.
You'll fall in love someday.
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