Saturday, September 26, 2015

Bali day 4: church and the beach

Sunday morning we headed to church. We actually chose our hotel at least partly based on its proximity to church so we were able to walk there. The branch in Bali is tiny. They meet in a meeting room at a hotel. And most of the people at church that day were visitors. The passed out headphones at the beginning so we could have translation from Indonesian, which was mostly only when the branch president was speaking. Still, it was my first time needing headphone translation at a church meeting. It was an interesting experience. 

Unfortunately the room they meet in is quite small and echo-y and they don't use a microphone. Declan's stellar behavior of the entire trip only continued so we tag teamed it in the lobby with him. I spent much longer out there since if he was with Brennan he wouldn't stop crying and yelling for me, which we could all hear. Yeah, it was awesome. After a pretty brief sacrament meeting which consisted mostly of visitors sharing their testimonies (which they were asked to do right before the meeting began) they had quite a long break where people just visited. And lots of pictures were taken. 
This picture includes almost everyone who was there. The second man from the left was the branch president. 
They two ladies took all the kids into the lobby area while the rest of the adults mingled and kept them entertained/tried to teach them for the rest of the time. It involved lots of suckers, seaweed crackers (barf) and other food bribery. Two of the girls were locals and the other girl must be in an expat family. Clearly she wasn't a local but she was obviously a regular.
Declan thought he was the coolest thing with that sucker, hanging out with the big kids. I swear they gave him at least 5 suckers in an hour.
They were the nicest ladies. I'm sure their job seems quite thankless and fruitless most of the time, trying to teach whatever random visiting kids show up each week. But they made the kids feel so loved. I can't even imagine how difficult it must be for all the members there, to have such a small group and to live in a place that is something like 90% Hindu. I think I would find it very difficult to come to church week after week. They are strong, strong people.
Walking back from church. It won't be long before these types of commutes seem like a distant memory.
We got changed at the hotel and headed off to the beach. This is a picture of some of the morning's offerings that we passed. These were everywhere, everyday. It seems like a lot of work must go into preparing them. It's kind of sad to see them all smashed up just a few hours into the day.

Declan fell asleep approximately 2 seconds into our walk and then stayed asleep when we got him out the carrier. So I hung out high on the beach in the shade with him, while Tatum and Brennan played. I sure wished I had a good book with me at this point. He slept for quite awhile.

Tatum could play at the beach forever. She never wanted to leave.

Unfortunately, Declan has a bit of a different feeling about the beach.
The waves are quite intense in Kuta, I'll give him that. But come on kid, after you watch them come in a few times and see a pattern can't you just calm down? They aren't coming anywhere near you! It was frustrating to say the least. Lots of crying, lots of screaming. Eventually we got him to play in the sand a little bit. And then later he even let us take him out and jump in the waves a little bit. I think he even liked it!

We stopped by McDonald's for some grub for the kids, which they of course thought was the most amazing thing. Except the fact that the prize in the Happy Meals was a book and it was in Indonesian. Tatum wouldn't stop asking us what it said!

We all got some ice cream after that and headed back to the beach to watch the sunset. I think this was actually one of my favorite moments of the trip. Certainly not the most exciting, but one I hope I will work hard to remember forever. The kids were both happy (ice cream definitely helped with that) and we all just sat together on a towel enjoying a treat and the beauty of the earth God made for us. It was just a rare peaceful moment where I just felt incredibly happy and blessed.

And we even succeed at a family selfie. ;)

Brennan was frustrated that the pictures weren't doing justice to what he was seeing in real life. He is definitely right, so you'll just have to use your imagination.

Don't be fooled, the peace didn't last for long. But dang it was good while it lasted.
We did a little souvenir shopping on our walk back to the hotel and then showered the kids and put them to bed. First thing in the morning we were off to the airport. Tatum loved having her own suitcase to pull and looked way too grown up and experienced at travelling in the process.

The kids were crazy at the airport and we totally let them roll around on the nasty airport floor.

The flight home was a nightmare. Somehow 2.5 hours in that airplane felt longer than any of the 12 hour flights we have done this year. It started off well with Declan sleeping and Tatum working in a work book. Then the beast woke up and moaned and groaned and whined and screamed about everything under the sun until we finally put Frozen on for him. Then they proceeded to fight nonstop about who got to hold the phone with the movie playing on it. There is also no room on these budget airlines and the two people in front of us immediately reclined their seats which makes it nearly impossible to even have Declan on your lap. So at one point (he wasn't even being naughty, just moving around) Declan pushed against the lady's chair with his foot and she flipped out. Then it was time to land and so they had to shut off the phone and Tatum lost it. I threatened everything to get her to be quiet but nothing worked. As it was she lost the privilege to watch any shows all week long (what was I thinking?? haha) and she also got her new dress (her souvenir) taken away and has had to work at earning it back all week. The worst part of the whole ordeal was feeling like everyone around us hated us. You know when you can tell no one is sympathetic, just annoyed? Yeah, it was awful. 

Lots of people have asked me if Bali was as good as Thailand. The answer is definitely no but I think it has to do with much more than the place. For some reason this trip seemed to make us all very tired and very grumpy. Declan was mostly a terror from the very start. And the beaches in Thailand were definitely better in general, and certainly better for kids. But still, despite my poorly behaved children we really did have a great time! Bali is so much different from Thailand and I'm so glad we went and learned a little bit about the culture there. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Bali day 3: too many pictures!

So I really should have split day 3 into at least 2 posts. But by the time I realized just how many pictures we took most of them had already been uploaded to this post so it's just going to stay that way. 

Friday night we decided that the best way to handle Saturday would be to hire a driver for the day. We needed to get down to Kuta by Saturday night anyway so it just made sense to pay a little extra to have a driver to take us around all day and then drop us in Kuta. We tried to get Leroy, the driver who had been recommended to us and picked us up from the airport, but he wasn't available for an all day job. He said he could give us a driver who works for him and it would be cheaper too. Not really feeling like we had any other options at this point we went with it. 

Made came to pick us up at our hotel the next morning. Turns out when Leroy said his driver speaks a little bit of English he really meant a teeny tiny bit of English. He was a really nice guy but communicating with him proved to be a challenge a few times throughout the day.

Our first stop was the Monkey Forest Sanctuary. I wasn't overly interested in going because monkeys truly freak me out. I had more than my fill when we walked by the Monkey Forest both of the previous nights. But we decided there might not be much else in the day that the kids would like so we went for them. I can be a good mom sometimes, see? :) Except, maybe not since they both kind of got traumatized.

Declan loved it at first, just walking along waving saying "hi monkey, hi monkey, hi monkey".

And it was truly beautiful inside the forest.

We were busy trying to figure out what was going on with a monkey making a crazy noise and all the workers acting concerned and looking down in the ravine, when this guy just suddenly appeared behind us on the railing. Yikes!
Weird monkey cry:

Declan is totally unconcerned with the monkey just a few feet away from him. But that same monkey would minutes later show his teeth and grab Declan's arm trying to get the yellow leaf in his hand. I was standing on the other side of a big tree so this all resulted in Declan holding the front of Brennan's shorts, Tatum holding the back and both kids screaming while the monkey "growled" at Brennan too. Luckily a worker came to the rescue and scared him off with a big stick. It was certainly freaky but didn't take long for us to start laughing about the whole thing and wishing we had a video of it. Poor Declan sort of acted like he had been betrayed by his friend after that. I was carrying him and in a sad little whimpering voice he would say "monkey grab arm" and hold his arm where it happened. He still likes to tell people about it so at least it was memorable, right?

These guys were working on carving a dragon. So impressive.
Here is the completed, matching one on the other side of the walkway.

We didn't stay in the monkey forest much longer since Tatum kept saying she wanted to leave because she doesn't like it when "the monkey show their teeth".

Next we stopped by the Ubud Palace to check it out.

From there we walked down the road to the Lotus Pond, the same place we saw the show on our first night. It's such a beautiful place, we are glad we went back to see it in the daylight.

A statue at a big intersection. There are so many statues and sculptures, temples and intricate work in Bali. Everywhere you turn there is more art to be admired.
We stopped by the famous Tegalalong rice terraces. It would have been so neat to hike through them on the paths and explore a little more. But with the state of the kids and the heat we decided it probably wasn't a good idea. Timing wise we probably made the right choice as well. But even without walking through them, they were still an impressive sight to behold.

Declan has started enjoying being goofy for pictures.
We sent Brennan back to get the driver rather than walk there ourselves, that's how hot it was and how lazy we were. :) And I kind of love this selfie we took while we waited for him.

It was amazing to see how much stuff people could put on their motor bikes!
Next stop was lunch in Ubud at a Mexican restaurant, Taco Casa. It was delicious! Tatum drew Anna while we waited for our food.  :)
More food pictures from Brennan haha.
My fajitas were so good. Now I'm craving them!

We stopped to grab a monkey souvenir for Declan. They totally kept the kids entertained in the car too which was awesome.
Our next destination was Tegenungan waterfall. We didn't really know what to expect but we ended up loving it. I think we could have spent the majority of the day there.
Hiking down to the falls. These ladies were carrying so much dirt (I think that's what it was? I can't really remember and I can't tell from the picture.) on their heads. Watching them made me realize (not for the first time) that I really don't know what hard work is.

It was really hard to keep the lens of the camera dry because of the misting from the waterfall, so most of our pictures didn't turn out great.

Declan was just happy to throw rocks. Lots and lots of rocks.

I didn't get my swimsuit out of our luggage because I wasn't sure if there would even be swimming at the waterfall and I don't really have the same freedom as the kids to just change wherever I want. ;) I was so sad about it though. I would have loved to have been able to swim. Oh well, dipping my feet in was nice too.

Looking at this picture of Made helping Tatum with her shoes so she doesn't get her feet muddy again is getting me thinking. Tatum is as shy as can be, but later when Made  her quite a ways on the trail she totally didn't mind, which is weird for her. And he really couldn't communicate with her at all. I guess I just find it fascinating how kindness has no language barrier. I'm sure I could have explained my thoughts much better, but that's as good as it's going to get for now.

Brennan and Tatum hiked up a bit further to check out the view.
There's me and Declan hanging out down below.

Being a mom sure has a way of making you a nervous-Nelly. I hated watching Tatum up there, she always looked so close to the edge!
He couldn't have cared less about the huge, beautiful waterfall and scenery surround him. Rocks, rocks, rocks, that's all he cared about. :)

Another little waterfall we spotted on our hike back up.

So pretty. The kids fell asleep pretty quickly in the car after that. I wish we would have told Made to skip the next thing on our list, a traditional Balinese compound. It wasn't as neat of an experience as we were hoping for and it totally disrupted their rest, and gave us no time for a stop at a market for some souvenirs. Hindsight is 20/20 right?
The compound.
I think it probably would have been neat if we had a driver who could have explained things to us. But he couldn't and the people who lived there seemed oddly unwelcoming considering they open their open to tourists like this for a donation. So it's at least part of the way they make a living. And you would sure think they would realize that the more kind and warm they are, the better their donations will be. But oh well. It is what it is.

The entrance to the household temple.
The kitchen.
Chickens they train for cock fighting.

Declan slept through the whole thing.
Porcupines. With the language barrier we couldn't quite figure out from Made why they had porcupines.
Checking each other out.
Tatum, always the observer.

We felt short on time so we skipped stopping at a market and headed straight for Tanah Lot, a temple on the coast. It was a beautiful place to watch the sunset.

It was pretty crowded but for the most part I don't think it made it less enjoyable.

Tatum and Brennan loved standing close to the edge where the waves would crash over the top.

I told him not to get soaked before they went back for more. This happened a few minutes later:
So beautiful!
There was quite a line of people waiting to get blessed with the holy water.

These boat kites were pretty neat.

After Tanah Lot we had a long drive down to Kuta. The kids were crazy hyper and the drive seriously felt so long. Because they were so hyper we thought we would hurry and go for a swim to let them get some energy out even though it was nearly 8 o'clock. But the lights in the pool weren't on for some reason which seemed to make Declan nervous. This combined with his overall grumpiness made for a very short and frustrating swim. Maybe not the best idea we have ever had haha. 

Day 3 was long but we saw so much!