Monday, 22 August 2011

Nusa Penida

After a visit to Uluwatu Temple where I got assaulted by a monkey (so did lots of other people) and Jimbaran Bay (great food but expensive and over-rated) I had an early night and got up early to get the public boat. It took over two hours to get to the island and the boat was very uncomfortable, but I got there in the end and got picked up at the beach. We drove to the bird centre and had a tour around the place. FNPF have basically made all the villagers agree not to capture the Bali Starling, and endagered bird which can be worth US$3,000. In return for the protection the foundation has created jobs, and helps the community by providing trees for free, as well as English lessons and brings volunteers to spend our money on the island. It is beautful here, like an island paradise!

They women are preparing for a wedding on Friday and Saturday where over 1,000 people have been invited. The preparations mean making offerings and decorations out of bamboo, banana leaves and palm trees. These are called 'Canang' and there are many different types. They make little dishes and fill them with various things like rice, bananas, beans, peanuts, and fruit. They made me wear a sarong when I worked, as these have to be worn in the temple and the work they were doing was spiritual and holy work.

There are a lot of children who hang around the centre. They are very funny and have English lesson here. Today they were singing Baby by Justin Beiber, which I found hilarious. I have been trying to learn Indonesian and they are trying to speak to me in English. Today they had a dance class in the traditional style of dance which looks a lot like Indian or south east Asian dancing.

The people are much nicer then on Bali. When I went out on the bike they would all wave and want to talk, not like on Bali where they just want to get money out of you. They say Nusa Penida is like Bali 20 years ago. There are lots of small villages and the people are poor, but it is not absolute poverty. They have plenty of food and running water, as well as motorbikes and petrol. They just don't have the luxuries. It is sooooooooo cheap here. My entire daily budget for food is less then $3 and that is 3 meals and snacks at the local warung, or corner shop.

I'm having such a good time here. I feel like a traveler again, not a tourist. There is a good group of Westerners and the locals are all lovely and come chat to us all the time. Its great, a totally different way of life!

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