Bali Day 7: Sea Turtle Conservation and Education Center, Nusa Dua Water Blow, Uluwatu Temple, Monkeys, and Balinese Wedding Crashing!


If I could summarize today I would simply say that today was something that you can't pay money for, that you can't put any kind of value onto,  something that I'll hold close to my heart forever, and something that I'm so eternally grateful for being able to experience. With that, I'll carry on with the details and let you figure out what all of this vagueness is about!

Today started off pretty similar to other days, with the exception of a little visitor for breakfast. Ogie usually comes by himself but today his dog Olek joined him. Olek is a small white dog, slightly skittish but also very curious. I went to go pet Olek and she ran off but the second I turned around she ran behind me to come investigate. Sneaky little bugger.

Today is Ogie's big ceremony, the second of 3 in his wedding ceremonies. In the first ceremony just the parents go to meet one another. The man's family goes to the future wife's family and they meet and talk (I don't know much because while Ogie speaks English there is still a communication barrier). The second ceremony, today, The entire family and village elder travel to the wife's house, and pick her up and then bring her back to Ogie's family's house (with her family) and everyone meets and gathers. The third and final ceremony is the actual marriage, that occurs at Ogie's house, he has built a shrine/area specifically for this in his family compound. Despite all of this happening today, Ogie still came with breakfast prepared today. I asked him if he was nervous about his ceremony and he said a little bit! His final ceremony is January 18th (it's based on the Balinese calendar).

After wishing Ogie well with his ceremony today, I was off on my adventures with my sweet friend Made. I was supposed to go to the Bali Sea Turtle place where you can release baby sea turtles into the sea, but it's not the season for it and they aren't releasing currently (don't have hatchlings) so Made was sweet and looked up other options.

On the car ride I was able to convince Made to join me on the trek to Lempuyang Temple on the 24th (decided to make the 23rd a down/relax day both for Made and for me, I think we both need it, poor Made has been doing SO much driving to get me everywhere and I feel horrible keeping him from his family for so long)
We will all need rest for Lempuyang Temple! I googled it and it's intense! I won't give too many details as it will get it's own day and blog post. But let's just say that Made is a trooper! A true down for adventure cool ass mofo!

First stop of the day was the Turtle Conservation and Education Center on Serangan Island. This is a very small place, but also very focused on conservation and caring for the turtles. While not all of the turtles can be re released back into the wild (because of their specific conditions) the goal is definitely not long term captivity. They have a hatchery there and many baby turtles are various sizing swimming around frantically in the tanks. The staff really care about the turtles. They do not charge for admission, but they do ask you to make a donation (your choice) to help sustain the center.

Further down the road is the Turtle Park. This place is much more depressing as there is nothing conservation or protective about it. The turtles are merely caged within a tank with no goals of release. They charge 15,000 rupiah (feeding fee, you don't actually get to feed them, they just say it's to cover food). I would say skip this if you are more on the animal rights end of the spectrum. It was too late for me after walking in and realizing what it was.

From here we headed to  Nusa Dua Water Blow. The Nusa Dua area is basically a huge hotel compound (gated community really) and within it is the Water Blow. You park then walk down towards the beach/water. The water blow reminded me a lot of the Toilet Bowl (dive spot) in Okinawa on a rough day.

Uluwatu Temple was next. This actually almost got cut off of the itinerary because it was scheduled for tomorrow (and the rest of the stuff on that day were beaches, and I just wasn't feeling a day full of beaches). I can't express how thankful I am that this stayed on the list. I ended up just asking Made if we could move it to today (and scratch one of the other stops from today off. This is perhaps one of the most beautiful temples that I've seen. The cliff walks, the temple set out on the high perched cliff. Walking along the paths with monkeys all through the forest. It's an experience like none other. When we first ended and got our sarongs, we walked down a tree covered path, this is where Made indicated the monkeys usually hang out (we saw none). After we came to an opening, I looked to the left and saw this long thing move, a giant lizard! GIANT! Later Made indicated it was just a baby and that they grow very large, he used the tree for size comparison!
Uluwatu Temple is perched on the Indian Ocean. On a nice day you can take in the scenery, listen to the waves crash, walk through the monkey jungle area, and take blessings at the temple. What more can you ask for?

satin in heat/ sweltering right now!


When we were getting ready to leave we all had finished with the restroom, right outside the restroom there was a monkey just sitting there, Made removed his had and reached it out to the monkey to introduce himself and said "salaam". the monkey made a grab for it and Made quickly jerked it back. I was just taking pictures and video of the monkey, from a little further away. We turned to walk away and about half way up the hill I felt a thud on my head and back, sure as shit this monkey had jumped on my head/back. I could hear Kenya scream, and Made making shooing noises trying frantically to get the monkey off of my head. Within the split second that it hit my head I somehow quickly reached up and grabbed my sunglasses off of my head and got them into my head. The monkeys are notorious for being savage thiefs. I don't know if I screamed, shrieked, or made a noise, but I do recall laughing hysterically when it was all over, because how can you not? A freaking monkey attacked me from behind. You can't make this shit up! I only wish that there was video of this entire scene as it was going down because I have NO doubt in my mind that the combination of facial expressions and reactions was pretty priceless.

The monkey that would later pounce on me from behind

After recovering from the monkeypocolypse it was back to the car, no sooner did Made open my car door then there was a giant cockroach right on the door jam I tried to kick it out with my foot but it scurried further into the car and under the passengers front seat, never to be found again. What a long car ride home we had to look forward to with a missing 3 inch cockroach. I guess I won't be napping!

On to lunch! Again an attempt was made to have Made join for lunch, he always declines. I think his English mysteriously gets "worse" when it comes time for his lunch invite in too. I'm on to his tricks.
Lunch was at Be Ja Na, it was pretty delicious, and felt nice to be in air conditioning after being out in the sun for so long at Oluwatu Temple!
I had chicken sate, it was delicious and came with it's own little charcoal grill still cooking, and some death fire sauce that was pretty amazing. The waitress laughed when I first tried it (I wasn't expecting it to be as hot as it was!)

On the car ride back to the villa I was able to learn some more about Made and his family. He has 2 kids, a son and a daughter (son is the oldest, 16, daughter is 12). His wife is a massage therapist. But when he first said "therapist" he didn't say massage and I swear I thought he said his wife was "trapeze" I'm thinking Cirque de Soleil shit. Then he started massaging his arm and saying the word again, and I was able to figure out therapist, massage therapist! Made is an awesome human, an amazing driver, someone I consider a friend, and has definitely been a great adventure buddy
I can't recommend him enough if you're coming to Bali and want a driver
You can contact him via his Facebook page HERE
or his Instagram HERE
Tell him I sent you :)

Traffic is entertaining in Bali. There may be 2 lanes on the road, or even 1, but you'll quickly see that the lines are optional, merely decoration, and that cars straddle the lines to create a second/third lane of traffic. Motorbikes smash together to create 3, 4, and 5 lanes. While driving down the road I saw a family of 4 on a motorbike. No shit, All of them.

When we got back to the villa Ogie's party was in full swing, everyone was dressed up in traditional wear, men wearing decorative sarongs and the headdress. Women dressed in sarongs and you could clearly tell who the future bride was, she was fully made up, hair done, decorative jewelry on. She looked stunning. I made a joke to Made about crashing the wedding party. I asked if these ceremonies are fun, he quickly said "no" (haha!) I then said, well do they have good food, to which he replied, yes. I then said, well we should go! He laughed (as he frequently does about my antics) and said no no Mrs Laura.
Well here's the funny irony. I actually did end up at the wedding. Unintentionally. You see we were walking to dinner (at a restaurant, not intending to do dinner at Ogie's wedding ceremony) when we walked by Ogie's place he quickly ran out to greet us with his plate of food and kept inviting us in. We clearly didn't feel dressed for the occasion but also wanted to experience something so awesome. So after asking again we just went for it and said "sure"! Everyone was so incredibly welcoming and amazing. They got us plates, found spoons for us (despite Balinese people typically eating with their hands...a few bites in I ditched the spoon and started eating with my hands too) and made sure that we knew what all of the foods were and that we tried all of them (and got more!). We met many of Ogie's family members, his mother, father, grandmother, younger sisters, and other members of the community. This experience is something I'll never forget, for as long as I live. I'm I closed my eyes for a split second in an attempt to freeze time, to capture the moment, to savour that second, not wanting to lose it. I was sitting in Bali, in a hut with a dirt floor, in a wedding ceremony, eating the most delicious meal I've had yet, surrounded by some of the most kind and caring people I've ever met. Life is truly a gift and I am so thankful for this one that I have.

traditional Balinese food: also THE best meal I've eaten in Bali

With Ogie and his future wife, sitting in front of the shrine/platform that was built for the wedding
As always, here is today's video compilation of my my day. I love looking back through these, getting a laugh, filling my heart, and just remembering how amazing this trip is.


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