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Battye Family’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 03 Mar 2013

Location: Indonesia

MapJohn’s Musings:

The new Lexicon:

Bali belly: that’s the name for the queasy feeling many tourists feel after having eaten a couple of meals in Bali. In my case it lasted for three days. Thank God I travel with the best family ever!

Bicycle butt: what happens to you within 15 minutes when you rent bicycles from a place not mentioned in Trip Advisor.

Being a student again:

Wow, I designed an original piece of jewelry that Susan actually wears proudly. I spent the day using boiling wax and various toxic chemicals to create batik. Who knew I had talent?

I thought I would be bored and want to escape the six-hour cooking class we signed up for. Instead it was off the charts great and I was in charge of cooking rice over the fire (1 and a half hours) and handling the barbeque for satay. Yes, that’s right, both were really tasty.

All about the people:

I love the question I am asked everywhere in Indonesia, “So where are you from?” “Where are you going?” And it’s a bonus that absolutely everyone who hears I’m from America immediately says, “Barack Obama!” as if he and I are neighbors.

After our ill-fated attempt to cross from Lombok to Bali, I got to spend hours talking with Makoto Lane, an Australian backpacker! I felt 30 years younger as we shared philosophies and life experiences, me from kibbutz life and Thailand, and he from a month in Indonesia.

There was the guy who casually mentioned the good snorkeling at a beach where we were eating lunch. We looked at calm waters that seemed to hold nothing but, well, water. Are there really fish out there? Snorkeling not more than 20 yards off shore we saw an eel, lionfish, a majestic sea turtle, and swam with a giant school of minnows as if we were one being.

Happening upon a shadow puppet artist in the shadows of a family compound in a dinky little village outside Ubud who we happened to have seen perform six years ago when we were traveling in Wellington, New Zealand.

Deking, our batik teacher, said to us, “I believe that God must have sent you to me.” To the skeptics out there, no, we weren’t his first students in months. He just really liked us and called us “his new family.”

Joys of family:

Susan, Jenny, and Emily and I have had so many laughs together… the best ones were when we joked about each other. They are such great traveling companions.

Emily begged to have black tea one morning. What harm can one cup do? Two and a half cups later, as the rest of us were lying on the bed, exhausted, she was still going strong. Susan and I vowed… no more tea for Emily! There are just some people who don’t need to be MORE peppy.

At dinner one night Jenny said, “Let’s go around the table and say what color each person reminds us of.” A fascinating discussion ensued about the colors and the hearty thoughts behind them. This Jenny-generated activity moved us all one night, 10,000 miles from home.