A new beginning
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, 2009-01-11 12:00 by Laerke
It is the beginning of a new year, and what a great start, I’ve just woken up here in beautiful Ubud, I’m sitting on our little terrace with a view down over the pool and “the jungle”, the sun is shining and it is just one of those mornings where it is great to be alive! We had a lovely New Years Eve yesterday at my friends Tippe and Anom’s place, a lot of Anom’s family was there, his mom, sister, brother-in-law, brother and a bunch of kids. The Mom and sister had been there since 10 in the morning cooking up a Balinese feast, it was pedas!!! And yummy :-) Tippe and Anom have 2 little girls (Siwi 9 and Gaia 4) and they are just the best kids, so much fun. We had all bought these colourful horns that made A LOT of noise, and we were dancing and goofing around. Our friend Sophie and Tippe’s sister was there too, the sister had just flown in that day and was super jet-lagged, so the sister and Gaia went to bed fairly early but the rest of us stayed up and we all jumped of the chairs at midnight and drank champagne that the now sleeping sister had brought from Denmark! It was really low key and casual, I had earlier that day kinda wished that we were going to some fancy party where everybody would dress up etc. but as we drove home (Martin and I on our scooter and Anom giving Sophie a ride home on his – honking at each other all the way) I just felt happy, really what is better than a just having a good time with some great people? No need for high heels and fancy dresses :-)

The view from our terrace

A couple of days later: we have now relocated to Sanur, we are hoping to find a house in this area, because Sanur is nicer than the other side I think (e.g. Kuta, Legian and Seminyak) and because it only takes 15-20 minutes to drive from Sanur to the University in Denpasar where I am going to study. It is too far from Ubud to the University to drive there every morning.
The west coast beaches of Bali has a real problem with garbage at the moment, it is the rainy season now and so the rivers which apparently are filled with garbage now gets filled with all the rainwater and runs out into the sea carrying all the garbage with them. The current wind and wave conditions then bring all this garbage up on the beaches. In Legian and Seminyak it seems they pick up the garbage, so the beach seems fairly clean, but as soon as you go in the water you have got plastic clinging to your legs – we got out of the water after about 5 sec. – who wants to swim in a pile of garbage? One day we took a walk on Kuta beach, and it was bad! There were heaps of garbage on the beach, twigs, sea weed, plastic, old shoes, dead fish - you name it, all tangled together. Somebody had at one point attempted to collect some of it which had resulted in some huge garbage mountains at one end of the beach.
But here in Sanur the wind and wave conditions must be different because the beach here is nice and clean, yesterday we just went and sat under one of the huge trees shading the beach and hung out and breathed in the sweet smell of frangipanis, there were a few locals on the beach too. Some young boys chasing tiny crabs, a grandmother and her little granddaughter taking a walk along the beach stopping to buy spring rolls from a vendor, a family were swimming and splashing around – all fully clothed, and two women were collecting seaweed from the edge of the water. Completely idyllic if you disregard a few offers of transport, jet-skiing and “come look my shop” calls :-)

Boat at Sanur beach

To something completely else - I had my first day in school today! The Udayana University in Denpasar is pretty small, but I like that, it makes it seems very friendly I think :-) Since it was the first day there was a placement test and then a lot of information and a tour of the school. So I can’t say anything about the teaching yet, but I got a very positive impression of the BIPA program (Bahasa Indonesia untuk Penutur Asing). We were eight new students, 3 Japanese, one Korean, one Taiwanese girl I got along with pretty well, a German guy and a one girl from Switzerland. One of the Japanese girls and the Korean girl don’t speak English, which is actually brilliant because they speak some Indonesian and now we are all forced to communicate with them only in Indonesian :-) I am pretty excited to start the classes proper and to see how it all goes.

Our house hunting has so far borne no fruit... we looked at a pretty cool “joglo” house yesterday (traditional Javanese house). Anyways it is a bit too expensive for us, so we’ll keep looking... A bit tired of house hunting by now.
Our itinerary here in Bali is just to stay for the next 4 months; my language program end on April 18th. After that we’ll either travel around Indonesia a bit or somewhere else here in Southeast Asia.