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That's Ketchak like Ketchup with out the 'up'

Denpasar, Indonesia

Ok So this is going to be a big post. I was in Bali for about 2 weeks and really had an amazing time.

Before I came I went on CouchSurfing.org and sent a couch request to an amazing girl, Marisa. I asked if I could stay at her place, and if not if we could meet up and hang out.

When I first got to Bali I booked a hostel for 4 nights and then was able to stay with Marisa. She met up with me the first night and we went and had dinner, and I got to meet her friends. The next day she introduced me to some people that were couch surfing at her place and we all rented a car and went to

Uluwatu, and some beaches down south in Bali. The car was pretty cheap to rent, and came with a driver, about $10 each for the whole day. The beaches were beautiful and at Uluwatu, which is a temple on a cliff, we went and saw a Ketchak dance at sunset.

Ketchak is pronounced like Ketchup but you leave out the 'up'. It's really a cool dance. It's a very intricate story involving multiple God's

and one of the God's stealing,through trickery, one of the Goddesses from another God, and all the other God's who help get this girl back and defeat the evil God. The whole thing actually has 50,0000 lines so each dance only displays a part of it. It's called Ketchak after the sound that 70 men are making to create a rhythmic harmony as the dance is performed.

The day after this Marissa had a party at the villa she was staying at

where we all had to let her paint our faces like cats faces. It was a lot of fun. A really cool mix of couch surfers and locals. Everyone had a blast. I really enjoyed meeting and getting to know such a wide varied of cool people.

While originally Marissa said I could stay with her for about 4 days we ended up getting along so well she let me stay for the rest of my trip.

The villa that we stayed at was so nice. It had a pool, and her two cute kittens, Sari and Ginger, which are only 3 months old. I fell in love with them. Still miss them and Marisa :(

One day when Marissa was working I was able to book a scuba trip up to Tulamben in the Northeast corner of Bali. The drive is scary, but beautiful when you get up there. When I mean scary I really mean terrifying. The only similarity Bali roads share with roads in the states is that they are paved and the vehicles have wheels. Other than that all bets are off. It's filled with small narrow roads that cars zip in and out of each others lanes and any other free space on the road is occupied by a scooter doing the same thing. I had to close my eyes and pretend to sleep the whole way up and back. If I was going to die I didn't want to see it happen. lol.

The dives themselves where stunning. I did a wreck dive where I saw a Potatoe Grouper, huge fish, eating a puffer fish. then I did a dive at a reef wall drop off where I saw a glimpse of a black tip reef shark as it dived into the depths. I'm definitely going to invest in an underwater camera so I can start filming my dives. I very much regret not having one on this trip.

The day after Marisa and I drove out to Tanah Lot. A temple on the water in the ocean of Bali.

Very pretty temple. We got ourselves blessed in the water flowing inside the temple and walked around the little shops littering the road.

A couple days after that Marisa, Julie and David, a french couple staying at her place, and I all went up to Ubud in the mountains for a few days.

Ubud was great.

I went and walked in the Monkey Forest. which was beautiful and filled with monkeys.
We then explored all the temples around Ubud which are amazing. There's one that has tons of fountains and natural spring in the center.
When we came there we got to see a blessing ceremony that was happening.
Then we went to another temple which was old and stunning. You had to walk down a million stairs to get there though in the heat so the way back up was no fun, but still what an adventure.

On the way back from the temples we stopped at a local coffee farm and were schooled on all the various methods of their handmade coffee growing and brewing. One of the specialties here for coffee is coffee from a Luwat. I really can't believe I decided to try a sip of this, but basically there is the is cat like creature called a luwat that eats whole coffee beans. The beans aren't digested but passed and fermented in the animals body and then passed out. They are then washed and cleaned, then roasted and grinded and turned into coffee. Supposedly it's very healthy for you. I want to meet the person who saw this animals poop and decided, hmm lets brew that. Alas when in Rome. It was super bitter. Definitely not something I really enjoyed, but I can say I tried it.

The other real treat I found in Ubud was the spas. They were fricken unbelievable. I found a spa called Sang Spa where you could get an hour long Balinese massage, an hour long body scrub, which included a shower, with a yogurt body rub, and a bath filled with flower petals, hot ginger tea, and cold passion fruit for about $15 US. I couldn't believe it. I went 3 times to make sure it was real. lol

Once back in Seminyak, the area I was staying I spent my last days in Bali relaxing and hanging out with Marisa and her friends.

One night we went to go to a movie down in Kuta; and it was crazy. All the traffic was stopped because there was a huge procession going on that was an exorcism.

They were doing a parade with the whole community walking this man with a bad spirit in him, and if the possessed man felt he needed to stop then the parade would have to stop and try to get the spirit out. The spirit felt it needed to stop in a busy intersection. I thought it was fascinating to see a whole community care so much about someone that they would have a religious parade to help him. Really neat.

One thing I can say is that Bali wasn't exactly what I expected, simply because it's so populated, about 5 million people on an island the size of Oahu which has only 1 million, but it is amazing and beautiful, filled with a lot of lovely people, and culture.

I'm now in Bangkok enjoying my last 5 days in Asia and then on to Hawaii to start my new life. I'll probably do one new post before I leave, but all of you please pray for me, send good vibes my way, whatever you do to put positivity in the world send a little my way so I hopefully have an easy transition into life when I get to Hawaii. Thank you all.

permalink written by  Kirk on November 15, 2012 from Denpasar, Indonesia
from the travel blog: Kirk's South East Asia Adventure
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So glad to see a continuation, Kirk and so glad you are really enjoying the last part of your trip. Marisa sounds like someone I would love to meet!

permalink written by  margiecanoe on November 15, 2012

Kirk, good to hear about Bali - A place that so many friends have gone, yet you describe so well in words and pictures - thank you! I have just bumped it up the list or places to go, from where it was already - :-) -Mark

permalink written by  Mark Freeman on November 17, 2012

Hi Kirk,
nice job on your posts...
I really enjoy reading them!
they make me laugh, which is always a good thing!
love, aunt Kathy

permalink written by  Kathleen Kim on December 19, 2012

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Kirk Kirk
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Hi everyone. My name is Kirk. I'm starting this blog to have somewhat of a living journal as I do a 3 1/2 month trip around southeast Asia.

I decided to do this trip as a reward for myself changing my life around. I'm a recovered alcohol and drug addict. In the course of my addiction it took...

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