Today is one of the highlights of all of our travels!
As a world-schooling Mum, today would have to be up there in one of the best days where we have experienced fun, and learning – totally integrated.
For anyone who wants to experience true Balinese lifestyle, read on.
Where are we?
We are on a small Indonesian Island called Bali, and we are on a 5-night tour with Alliance Indonesia.
You can read about the first part of our tour here (Days 1,2 and 3), and today is Day 4.
Our day starts a little earlier today because we are changing locations.
We have two huge luggage bags of shopping, as well as our normal small luggage, computer bags, and our big 1-meter woven platter that all gets loaded into the back of the van. Most of the other travels have one or two small bags! We are not traveling lightly this time!
We set off to the rural countryside of Bali.
Visiting a Traditional Market
Our first stop is a traditional market in a small village. The market starts at dawn and is nearly finished when we arrive. But we are going to be having a Balinese cooking lesson, so we are at the market to select some of the ingredients.
We World-school with a Visit to a Local Primary School
Here at the school, we are introduced to the village chief. I like him straight away.
We talk with the Principal of the school, who explains how they are now a little short of students (since parents are discouraged to have more than 1 or 2 children). “It is not like the old days”, he tells us.
Explorason had fun with a class of children his age. The boys were cheeky – I’ve learned school kids can be the same the world over – happy, cheeky and wanting attention!
Our next stop is somewhat different.
Balinese Lifestyle at a Homestay
We are off to visit a homestay at Legung Luwih village. This is the home of the village chief, and he welcomes us with a lovely tea that we drink from cups made of coconut shells. I think they’d make awesome wine goblets – I wish they sold them as I’d have bought two right there and then as a memory. (My retail brain is at work).
Balinese Cooking Lesson
We meet an elderly lady that is his relative.
At first, she seems a real toughie (she isn’t), but I decide I want to make her smile, and it doesn’t take long. She speaks no English, but she is just amazing.
She shows us how she grows and roasts the coffee for the whole family for the week.
She loves Explorason and gets him involved in pounding and grinding the coffee. She is just a little dynamite of a woman.
Then it is time for ‘the men’ (and boy) to sit around and prepare the satay sticks. They are making these for lunch with tuna. I watch as they all chat and help each other.
Meanwhile, I am put to work with a cooking lesson. I’m making a vegetable soup.
I’ve been busy slicing and dicing all the vegetables on a really basic wooden chopping block, and I’ve been having a thoroughly good time!
Learning to Make Offering Baskets
Some of the tour group join the dear old lady to make Hindu offering baskets.
I decline and we get busy doing other activities.
There is a lot going on here!
I adore taking photographs of the faces of people. As I am talking with the chief (he has good English) I ask if I can take his photo, but he won’t smile. He says his teeth are all wobbly and are falling out. But before long he and I are in stitches laughing about his teeth. I had tears rolling down my face. His eyes are closed shut as his face contorts with laughter. I felt like we had become friends.
We head to the lunch area after seeing the midday Hindu offering ceremony.
Explorason sits with our Tour Guide and I watch as they are totally engaged together. To have a tour like Alliance Indonesia where they make children so included is really important to me. They interacted well with him and made him feel important and part of the activities at all times.
In fact, I thought this day was a really pivotal part of his education and world-schooling.
Lunch arrived – a massive platter each – comprising of the most delicious Balinese food. Even Explorason tucked into it. I often find when a child helps to make the food, it encourages them to eat it.
We even learned how to make leaf dishes from the banana leaves.
We did a little bit of food swapping, and I think we both managed to get through most of it. We’re going to need our energy for the afternoon activities they’d arranged for us here.
Learning the Rindik
Explorason then is given a lesson on the Rindik, and he really enjoys it. I think he could have stayed for hours, tapping out a simple melody on the bamboo.
World-schooling – Nature Walk
The rainy season started yesterday. Once lunch has settled, we grab an umbrella and I grab a plastic bag for my camera and we set off.
We are given traditional bamboo hats to wear. Another item I think they could sell here (you can tell I’m ex-retail – always thinking of how they can make some $$ for themselves!).
We are joined by the director of Alliance Indonesia Tours, and he shares his wealth of knowledge, with explaining the fruit and other trees we pass along the way.
We head down to a small waterway, and there is a Hindu temple.
Here they have organized for those who wish to partake of a Hindu blessing with the priest. The Italian tourists join in, but we don’t – something I don’t want us to do as a Christians. But what I like is the Balinese do not try to push us, but all faiths are totally respected.
So Explorason and I head on up past them – up the hill we go – it is a bit muddy and slippery, and we have chosen old clothes today because we knew we were coming here. So I am not too fussed about them being dirty. When we arrive, who should be waiting partway at a shelter but the lovely old lady!
Coconut Wine and Sugar
Now this dear old lady has decided she is my friend. She babbles away to me. She keeps repeating words, but honestly, I have NO clue what she is referring to!
The rest of the tour join us, and we are then shown the process for making coconut wine, and palm sugar.
I love the look on our faces as we try the wine.
I guess neither of us is a fan.
I don’t always post glamorous photos of myself
– just how we really are at the time, so this is quite funny.
We then wander back up to the rice fields, chatting as we go. The rain has slowed to a slow drizzle.
I feel quite relaxed here. The people are very trustworthy and Explorason has gone on up ahead with the tour guide.
Another reason I find a tour is great is it gives me a little more freedom as a Mum. I can be off seeing and doing what I enjoy, and my child can be experiencing his own discoveries.
Explorason is keen to learn how to plow the fields in traditional Balinese style.
The locals who have been busy working n the rice field, allow us all the experience of sitting on the plow and steering. This is all part of the day planned for us on this tour.
Next is my turn on the old wooden plow. I’m a bit heavier so it doesn’t go too fast, but heck – there are times this cow takes the corners with a bit of speed and I hang on!
We then have a turn planting rice. The technique taught is the row system of planting and a set number of plants to you leg width.
I think so many people think rice is harvested/grown like a carrot, not like wheat. There is always something to learn!
We wash off all the mud. No snakes, ticks, or nasties.
Explorason is back playing the Rindik again. This time he and his new friend have mastered a tune, and his friend is doing the Balinese hand dancing and singing, and they are laughing away. I leave them to it. It is all just so wonderful!
It is at this moment I think … “THIS IS WORLD-SCHOOLING At ITS BEST. You cannot learn this in a book. What we have learned today is just fabulous, and I am proud we’ve chosen a world-schooling journey”.
We sit around drinking Balinese coffee – it has been grown and roasted right here. We are eating natural foods. Grown and prepared right here. I am just so happy!
These moments as a world traveler are different than just being a tourist. You can’t experience this life just staying in a resort. You need to get out and see the real Bali, and this tour is just perfect for this. To experience the Balinese lifestyle in its purest form.
I watch as we all say farewell. It is like we have been here for a week, not a day. Friendships are formed, and smiles are plentiful.
Royal Temple of Mengwi – Pura Taman Ayun
It is honestly sad to leave. We then drive along to the Royal Temple of Mengwi – Pura Taman Ayun. It is dated on 1634, and this picturesque complex is surrounded by a moat of water, with multi-roofed shrines, and intricately carved wooden gates.
Alaya Resort Ubud
By 5:00 pm we have arrived in Ubud at a stunning new resort – Alaya. We are all sitting around enjoying a late afternoon tea as a group. Muddy, by happy! One of the tour members goes off to do some shopping, and we head to our room.
We get to our lovely room that has a rice field right next to it, yet we are in the main part of Ubud town. Quite unique!
This really is just the most beautiful new resort, and as we head off to dinner I take another look at our Welcome note. It says “Welcome Home”. This gives me the warmest feeling. Bali is an amazing place, and to be welcomed at Alaya Resort as our temporary home feels very special indeed.
I’ll share more about the Alaya Resort and the final day of our tour tomorrow.
It’s time for bed – two very, very happy world-schooling travelers need their well-earned sleep.
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