Part 1…A cultural day…A mixed bag of pleasure and red tape..

Sorry for late posting. Wifi issues.
Gede with his gracious parents.
“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”
Every evening when we dine at the large table facing the pool and the sea, at least two. Sometimes four buffalos pass on the beach. We’ve never watched buffalo while dining. It’s quite entertaining!

Who are we to say that obtaining a visa extension should be doable in one stop? We’re from a one-stop society.  You stop at a market, cash, or credit card and walk out the door with your groceries in hand. You visit a doctor and walk out the door with a prescription. Isn’t that what most of us throughout the world expect in our daily lives?

Expectations? They don’t apply when traveling the world as we do. Each country has its own manner of conducting business and we’re the captive audience stepping in line to comply whether we like it or not.

On our walk down the narrow road to visit Gede’s family home, he pointed out this temple where his family worships.

Yesterday we headed out with Gede at 9:00 am, wearing long pants, in the hot weather, as required when entering a government building in Indonesia. With our passports in hand with copies made (they keep our passports over the three-step/visit process over the five-day period), we were on our way.

As we’ve traveled the world over these past 43 months we’ve come to the conclusion regarding what we like and don’t like. We’ve discovered since our arrival in Bali that we’re not keen on long road trips unless we’re traveling for a specific final destination, not a round trip excursion. 

We walked down this road to Gede’s parent’s home.  In Bali, most citizens don’t own the land on which their home is located but they have the right to live there for life, paying taxes, and upkeep.

What does this mean? For us, it’s simple. We prefer a road trip that doesn’t require us to turn around and return to our original destination. We like new scenery. 

I suppose in part it’s due to the fact that we’re always searching for new photo ops and material for our posts.  Heading back and forth to the same location provides little stimulation and excitement when we’ve “been there, done that!”

The entrance gate to Gede’s family home includes his parent’s home and his brother’s separate home.

Sure, we’re “mental stimulation junkies.” Otherwise, we’d be living in a retirement condo in Scottsdale, Arizona, looking for the next coupon for seniors for breakfast at Denny’s.

As we review the types of activities that “trip our trigger” we both agree that local culture, history, wildlife, and other animals, vegetation, and exquisite scenery fall into the category of our deepest interests and hunger for life-changing experiences. 

The kitchen in Gede’s parent’s home.

Due to my physical limitations of a precariously delicate spine and neck, physical adventures don’t fall within that realm. We’ve accepted this reality embracing the things we can do as opposed to the things we can’t

How often we explain ourselves when others suggest we scuba dive or try white water rafting. Even snorkeling has its risks when a sudden movement could put a fast end to our travels.

The bed where Gede’s mom sleeps and rests, day and night.

Instead, we embrace the endless array of other types of “adventures” that stimulate our minds, leaving us with some of the best memories we could ever dream of carrying with us in our hearts as we continue on.

Thus, in essence, yesterday’s somewhat painstaking visit to the Immigration Office in Lovina Bali proved to be an unusual, albeit annoying, interesting experience that befell us. 

Gede’s brother’s home where they’re building a cement wall.

Complain? We could have. Tom’s bubbling annoyance was palpable. Mine was tempered by my usual “overly bubbly” mentality that all will work out in the end, which in itself could be annoying to him, although he keeps it to himself. How does one criticize a relatively optimistic cheerleader?

When we were turned away at the Lovina Immigration Office for missing copies (we had no idea these were required) of our airline reservations for our route out of Bali, we had one choice but to head to a local “Internet-shop” where I actually struggled bringing up our reservations to enable us to print the required copies. 

The computer was old with a version of Windows I hadn’t seen in decades and I had trouble using a mouse with my obvious lack of dexterity. Unable to get into Expedia, I found my way to Gmail, where I was finally able to dig up the tickets we’d received by email when we booked the reservations months ago. 

A bird in a cage at his brother’s home.

We printed multiple copies of the tickets at a total cost of IDR $10,000, US $.74. Where else could one buy anything for 74 cents? That even included my sweaty 15 minutes (sitting outside in the heat) on the old PC attempting to get my Gmail account to pop up.

While I was sweating on the computer, Tom and Gede were nearby while Tom was also sweating while busy filling out a double-sided questionnaire for each of us that we also had to complete and return to the immigration office after they returned from lunch at 1:00 pm.

This photo of Gede’s grandfather on the wall in his family home.

With almost an hour to kill before we could return, Gede suggested we stop and meet his parents who live nearby. He grew up in Lovina. We couldn’t have been more thrilled. This is the kind of experience that we treasure as opposed to a visit to a local tourist-jammed attraction.

Minutes later, we were walking down a narrow road to his parent’s home as Gede pointed out the homes occupied by a variety of his relatives.  n Bali, the locals tend to live together in clusters of individual homes. 

I took these photos without flash to illustrate the darkness of the living area in Gede’s family home.

We were a little concerned to barge in on their day unannounced. Gede’s mom is suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and he had no doubt they’d be home and happy to greet us. As we entered the gates, his dad immediately approached us with a welcoming “hello” (the same English word used in the Balinese language) and a gracious bow with the meeting of his hands. We returned the same greeting as an added warmth washed over us. The grace of the Balinese people is breathtaking.

For us, it was an honor to be able to visit his parents, see where he grew up, and grasp a better understanding of life for the people of Bali. As Gede explained during the many hours in the car, in Bali, there are only rich and poor, nothing in between. The concept of a middle class is unheard of in Indonesia, particularly in Bali as we’ve seen on the many occasions we’ve been out and about.

On the narrow road, we walked to Gede’s family home in Lovina.

As it neared 1:00 pm, we headed out to return to the immigration office with heartfelt goodbyes and thank you’s.  Although his parents speak no English, the communication was clear, kind, humble people appreciating every moment of life, regardless of how tenuous it may be at times. It was a valuable reminder for us, especially on such a hot, humid, and at times, strenuous day.

Tomorrow morning, again leaving at 9:00 am, when we must return to the Lovina Immigration Office for Trip #2 once again we’ll post earlier than usual sharing the “rest of the story” and more sites we’ve seen in our full 9 to 5 travel days. Back to you soon.

Photo from one year ago today, May 24, 2015:

We posted this last video of the Laysan Albatross mating dance as we shared our final expenses for the four months we spent living on the Hawaiian island of Kauai as we prepared to leave for a cruise to Australia. For details, please click here.