In my first three entries about a recent Seacology expedition to Indonesia I spoke about the fantastic diving we experienced in Raja Ampat. Now it is time to give the landlubbers equal time as I conclude this series by focusing on the end of our trip in Bali. Bali is one of the world's special places. This Indonesian island is unique in that unlike the rest of Indonesia the majority of the residents are Hindu. Their religion is closely related to, but is also distinct from, the Hindu religion practiced in India. As is the case with most islands the Balinese people are extraordinarily friendly. Per their religious custom they are often celebrating the anniversary of a temple or school, or some other landmark in the life of a building or person. It seems that every Balinese celebration is not complete without a line of women balancing a very large offering of fruit on their heads. They make the old film star, Carmen Miranda, look like pikers in this regard. You would also be hard pressed to find a celebration without a gamalon band playing the beautiful local music. Our wonderful guide, Dewa Adiwisma, took us to one such celebration in a local Hindu temple where the local people welcomed us with open arms. It was a very moving experience.
Another characteristic of Bali is that due to its many rice fields and tropical vegetation it is green beyond belief. Seacology is doing our part to help keep it green. In the remote village of Sarinbuana Seacology constructed a school building for music and dance performances in exchange for protecting a 2,000 acre section of rainforest. To the left is the Seacology funded building in Sarinbuana, Bali.
After a long and beautiful drive we arrived at beautiful Sarinbuana Village. The local girls put on a dance performance for us (right). The gamalon band performed (Seacology donated the gamalon instruments) and there was a terrific feast featuring the local food. The ceremony culminated with the unveiling of a granite plaque marking the occasion.
On the left Seacology supporter Kris Billiter, executive director Duane Silverstein, the Sarinbuana village chief and Seacology field representative Arnaz Mehta reveal the plaque.
In the pictures below you can see a path through the forest area Seacology is helping to save as well as a close up of an endangered echidna (spiny anteater) that lives in the forest.
We said our fond goodbyes to the people of Sarinbuana and it was time to head back home. I can't wait until the next Seacology expeditions to visit our projects in Madagascar and South Africa in May 2008 and to Fiji in August 2008.
If you're interested in island travel, you may want to look at some exciting dive trips that Seacology is auctioning on eBay. The auctions start on 12/10 and end on 12/17. Happy bidding!