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Denpasar, Indonesia


First: I've heard that there was an earthquake in Java. Since we've gotten a couple of messages, I'd like to tell anyone who is worried that we are fine and were nowhere near there. It seems like the news is always saying that something terrible has happened here, and I always feel bad when we get worried e-mails asking if we're okay. It's true that this is a pretty unlucky country, but when you realize how big this place is, you start to see a clearer picture. Indonesia is a massive: 3,200 miles from east to west. To put that in perspective, the widest distance across the continental United States, from the end of Washington State to the southern tip of Florida, is only about 2,900 miles. And just think about how many terrible things (earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes ... ) happen between those borders! So, anyway, no need to worry. Even if you hear news about Bali or Lombok, where we'll be for the next month, keep in mind that those two islands cover huge areas and the chances of us being affected by any disasters are pretty small.

Anyway, on to the blog ...

We arrived here in Kuta Beach, the most popular tourist area in Indonesia, four days ago. The main reason we've stuck around so long is that good intenet connections are easy to come by here and Michael was working out the details of a job (which he got!) starting in November. It's a great oppotunity doing something he loves, and we're both really excited about it. But this is a travel blog, so back to travel ...

Kuta Beach, for all its over-done commercial tackiness (there's a Hard Rock Cafe here - need I say more?) is really a special place. Gamelan music floats out of the tourist shops, and every where you turn you find you're about to step on a tiny little, neatly arranged offering of flower petals, woven palm leaves and, for some reason, they almost always contain a Ritz cracker. The Balinese hand-create these little works of art every single morning to placate the Hindu gods, and they leave them in the middle of roads a footpaths. That they are inevitably trampled doesn't seem to matter. The pervasive but subtle smell of insence - part of the offerings - is inexorably linked to all my mental images of this place.

Kuta is a great place to shop, if you don't mind bargaining, especially for someone like me who can drift around staring at all the beautiful woodcarvings and brightly colored lush-island-style cushions and lamps for hours. It's also a great place to load up on cheap, good-quality black-market DVDs if, you know, you're the sort of person who buys those.

The beach here is nice, and apparently it's great for surfing. But there are so many unrelenting hawkers at the beach that we prefer to stay away. Actually, last night we spent some time there watching the sunset (the only time we've set foot on sand since we arrived here) and were offered everything from soft drinks to a realistic-looking handmade bow and arrow set. I'd love to know how many tourists have actually attempted to bring one of those on a plane.

Anyway, we haven't taken any pictures here. I know, I know, but we've been here before and took plenty of pictures then. Since I'm writing a blog entry, though, and since the connection is amazing right now, I googled and downloaded these pictures to give a better sense of this place.

Next stop, Ubud - cultural mecca of Bali and (for my mom, and anyone else who's read it,) the setting of the "love" section of "Eat, Love, Pray." I went there before and loved it, so I can't wait to see it again!

permalink written by  katieandmichael on September 4, 2009 from Denpasar, Indonesia
from the travel blog: Katie and Michael's Travel Blog
Send a Compliment

those flowers are gorgeous! I'm reading Eat Pray Love right now! how fun.

permalink written by  Angie M on September 6, 2009

Bali looks beautiful! Thanks for keeping us updated!! We are eager to hear more about your travels, and Michael's job! Love you! --Mom

permalink written by  Beth Barron on September 8, 2009

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