A Travellerspoint blog

October 2018

Week 13 - Orientation Week in Bali

I’m going to try to keep this one brief because I want to catch up and focus on the project a bit more. I did my orientation week in Ubud and then went to Nusa Penida to work at the turtle conservation project.

The first thing we did on Monday was have a culture lesson about the Balinese people. After lunch we went into Ubud center to visit the market and the monkey forest. The market is really overwhelming and you need to be an expert bairgener because the venders like to charge you a lot more. The monkey forest was pretty cool but I felt like I’d seen tons of monkeys before. These monkeys acted a bit different too, maybe because they’re so used to people. They seemed a bit more aggressive which I didn’t like. Monday night we went to see a show. It was really cool because the whole show followed a very complicated story. They gave us a summary in English so we could try and follow along but it was still a challenge. They had a large choir who sang throughout the performance and the effects they were able to do with their voices were pretty cool.

In the morning we had a language lesson. We just covered the basics but I think it was most helpful for the people who are in the teaching programs. Bahasa Indonesia is really similar to Malay so I already knew some of the greetings and how to count. In the afternoon we went to a batik painting class. I’d done batik in 6th grade and again in Sri Lanka so it wasn’t new to me but what was really nice was that they did the wax outline for you which is by far the most challenging part. All we had to do was use the dye to paint it. It ended up looking really nice. I chose to do turtles.

The first thing on Wednesday’s agenda was a cooking class with our coordinators. We all helped cut up vegetables and Tempe. We ended up making fried Tempe with steamed vegetables and fried bananas with chocolate sauce and cheese. It was amazing! Wednesday afternoon we had a meeting about our projects which was really helpful because we had so many questions about the island and the turtles. Wednesday night we went into town so I could get a SIM card and explore Ubud a bit before I left for Nusa.

We had another language lesson in the morning but I was so tired I kept falling asleep. Thursday afternoon we took a walk around the area where our accommodation is. It’s a 15 minute drive from the center of Ubud so there’s lots of rice fields and farms around us. We walked through the rice fields and saw a temple. Then we walked down to a river and put our feet in.

Friday morning I got up at 1:30am because I decided to do a sunrise hike up Mount Batur. I went with 6 other girls from my orientation group. We left at 2am and drove an hour to the base of the mountain. There a guide met us and we started the hike up the mountain. It was a lot harder than I had expected and definitely struggled getting to the top but the view was definitely worth it. It was freezing cold at the top. I had known it would be cold but I was not prepared for a Minnesota winter freezing cold. Luckily we got hot chocolate at the top. They also had natural heat vents at the top. I’m not sure that’s the right way to describe them but there was warm steam coming from them which felt nice after freezing at the top. By the time we got back down I wasn’t feeling well and we still had an hour drive back to our accommodation. I ended up having a fever for the next 2 days but it was definitely still worth it.

I spent the entire day sleeping because I was sick so nothing significant happened.

We packed up and headed out at 8:30am for Nusa Penida.

Posted by Ilana'sGapYear 00:54 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Halfway Point

Since I reached my halfway point in my trip I wanted to post my top 5 pictures from every country. Also because I’m posting this so late and have been in Bali for 5 weeks now I decided to include some pictures from here.


Sri Lanka



Posted by Ilana'sGapYear 08:25 Comments (2)

Week 12 - Final Week in Thailand

I spent my last week working around The Mirror Foundation. Another girl came to do outdoor work which was exciting because I’d been the only girl for a while.

We helped dig a drain on the side of the road that led to the foundation. During the rainy season the road always floods and is super difficult to drive on. P’Akong was helping design a new drainage system for the road so we helped him out. Hopefully it will make a difference in a couple weeks. In the afternoon we did some cement work behind the kitchen. Tuesday night we went into Chiang Rai to show the new volunteers around. Celena and I acted as tour guides for all the newbies.

We worked in the rice fields again mainly trimming the grass around the fields in preparation for the harvest. We used scythes to cut the grasses. It was really hot so we got pretty sweaty pretty fast. During my first week the grass there had just been cut and it was crazy to see how much had grown in just a month. After work Marina and I took a walk. There were some amazing views just up the road from the foundation. Wednesday night we did a movie night but I can’t remember now what we watched.

We went to work with Tiger again but this time at the police station in Chiang Rai. We helped take care of their yard work and helped dig a new drainage system around the station too. They were planning to build a garden in the back so we helped dig out the area for that.

We first went to Tiger’s house where we chopped down a huge piece of bamboo. I would guess around 30 feet tall. We chopped it into smaller pieces and loaded it into trucks to take to the police station. There we used machetes to cut and prepare the bamboo into small strips. Then we used the strips to make a fence by weaving them together and sticking them into the ground. The fence held all the yard waste we had collected. In addition to making a garden the officers were deciding to compost their leftover waste instead of burning it. We had our usual Friday dinner of Pad Thai and egg rolls and had a bonfire because Celena and I were leaving that week. This photo shows me and Tosh (the new girl) using machetes.
This picture is of me, Tosh, and Tiger. C05279F9-BE99-43B9-A928-FEEBBC81BAEE.jpeg

I packed and left Thailand for Malaysia! (I had an overnight stop in Malaysia on my way to Bali)

Posted by Ilana'sGapYear 05:05 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Chiang Mai Weekend

Sorry it’s been awhile since I last posted. I’m in Bali now and it’s amazing but I want to finish all my entries about Thailand first.

I spent my last weekend in Thailand with Grace and Jeff in Chiang Mai. It’s about a 4 hour bus ride from Chiang Rai. I stayed at a hostel on the North side of the city. Chiang Mai is shaped like a square with a canal running around the “old city”. The old city is only about 1 square mile so it’s very walkable. After checking into my hostel I met up with Grace and Jeff at the Saturday night market for dinner. I had a banana and honey roti which is kind of like a pancake/crepe. It was delicious. I also had some vegetarian potstickers. We walked around for a while and did a bit of gift shopping.

On Sunday I walked around a few temples before meeting up with Grace and Jeff. Here’s some pictures of the temples. One of them was built in the 1300s. Grace and I decided to go to a place called the Grand Canyon which was a natural canyon filled with freshwater. We swam and went cliff jumping which was fun but painful. If you’ve never gone cliff jumping you should note that you are supposed to enter the water feet first with your toes pointed. I was so nervous about jumping I didn’t even think about how I would hit the water so I learned that the hard way. Afterwards we met up again with Jeff and went to a place called Love at First Bite for lunch. I’d gone there two weeks earlier with Mackenzie and Marina. I got a pizza which tasted amazing.

On Monday I ate breakfast at the hostel and later met up with Grace and Jeff for lunch. We went to a place called the Tikky Cafe which was walking distance for both of us. We got these amazing Oreo milkshakes and I got Panang Curry which is my favorite type! From there we took a red car (what they call Song Taos in Chiang Mai) to the bus station and headed back to Chiang Rai.

Posted by Ilana'sGapYear 23:51 Archived in Thailand Comments (3)

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