Let’s Talk Culture

Once again I got the question what I actually want to do once I finish my tourism degree. Except this time the person in question kept asking and the final question was what tourism is for me. What is travelling for me? Why do I find travelling so fascinating?

Cultures was my first answer. When I travel, I want to see the culture of the country. The deepest layer of the people, their routines and how they live. You haven’t seen a country until you really feel the culture.

Just now I have an exam coming up about globalization. One of the most interesting aspects is how it effects culture. Is the whole world really turning slowly into America?

No. Compared to some other travelers amongst us I might have little travel experience, however with what I know and have seen around me I honestly think America can not take over the world and change all the cultures. We will not turn into McWorld.

People might walk down the street in Indonesia with their Starbucks coffee, pass 10 McDonalds, watch American TV shows and want the American dream, they will still go home, take care of their loved ones, do their rituals. The values and believes they inherit from their parents and society are so ingrained, I think it is almost impossible to change that.

The outside of cities might get an American feel to it, but what keeps culture alive is the people themselves. As a traveler you have to go off the beaten track, talk to the locals, experience their daily routine and get a feel of their culture. That’s what travelling is all about for me and that’s what I find so fascinating.

MF - Culture

Saying goodbye to my love Bali..

My feet are finally going to be on the move again. My time in Bali is up and the itch of moving on is growing each minute. I know I haven’t told you anything about the last month (!?) but my final few weeks didn’t go exactly as planned..

The week that was supposed to be my final week at my internship turned into a disaster when I got pretty ill over the weekend. High fever, muscle pain, headache etc. I finally decided to visit a doctor and what I was fearing became true.. I had dengue fever. Almost 6 months of perfect health and there it was, my worst nightmare.

I spend 3 days in the hospital and 5 nights at a friends house recovering and although I felt like crap then, I’m better, if not even better than before! So as my horoscope said yesterday, I’m packing my bags before the boredome sets in. In about 24 hours I will be in Thailand, with my best friend, doing what I love most: Travelling.

The best part for you, my dear followers, is that I will have lots and lots of stories once I get back home, which I will all share with you over time. Back to packing my backpack it is now and time to say goodbye to my love Bali.. I will miss you!

 

 

Another break from Bali: Gili Trawangan

I absolutely love being an intern in Bali, except for the intern part. It’s a well known fact that being an intern sucks and from what I’ve experienced so far I agree 100%. I don’t get paid,  have to do some pretty shitty jobs and my opinion is not really valued, but hey, I’m in freakin’ Bali! Which means I can have the best little holidays during the weekend.

Since my first little holiday in Yogyakarta, I was back in the rat race faster than I wished for so I booked me and my cousin (who has been traveling in Bali for the last 2 months) on the fast boat to Gili T. 3 Days 2 nights of total relaxing, getting my tan back and realizing where I am at the moment. Just think about it for a moment. I don’t want to make you jealous but in the western world, whenever you plan a long weekend break, most people can’t just hop to a little island where there are no motorized vehicles, white sandy beaches, clear blue water and sunshine to soak in. I can.

Now some of you may know that Gili T is known for their parties, mushrooms and weed but after waking up at 6 am, a bumpy 2 hour boat ride and lying on the beach the rest of the day we simply could not move that night. We were so tired that we decided to have an early night and wake up early to see the sunrise. My head must have been on holiday mode because I didn’t even think to set an alarm clock and realised we missed sunrise only after breakfast. We missed sunset that night and again missed sunrise the next morning..

Before the whole trip, I looked through my lonely planet on what to do on that cute little island. Rent a push bike and go around the island seemed to be the best way to see everything. We took our time and stopped whenever we wanted. I mean, when you see a place like this it just yells: “Stop here! Have a drink!” right? Even when we’ve been on the road for only 10 minutes..

Half way around the island (have I mentioned that you can push bike you way around the entire island in less than an hour?!) we stopped at what I first thought was a restaurant on the beach that happened to have sun beds and entirely empty. They welcomed us with open arms and we settled in for an afternoon of relaxing. It turned out to be quite a luxury resort but that didn’t keep us from coming back there the next day.

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The empty surroundings, the cool water, the heat of the sun and the right amount of breeze were the perfect mixture for a full day of sunbathing.

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Even though we didn’t do everything I wanted to do, at least we took the lazy tourist transport local transport to the resort our last day, snorkeled for a bit, did the push bike around the island and relaxed. We didn’t go to a party, see the turtle sanctuary, climbed the hill for sunset or sunrise or visited one of the other Gili islands and still it was the best weekend break.

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I’m one lucky intern.

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A short break from Bali: Yogyakarta

After 3 months of living in Bali, I could not believe how excited I was to leave this little island! My trip to Yogyakarta came unexpected but very welcome. I was going to do some travelling again! Even though I’m living at the other side of the world I normally live in, consider this internship as travelling, I was quite happy to take a break from my routine in Bali.

The first 2 days I was touring with my supervisor and 2 VIP guests that we picked up from the airport. In those 2 days we have seen all the major tourism attractions in and around Yogya. From Borobudur and Prambanan to downtown Malioboro and local markets. I’ve seen it all. However when I travel, I try to find the “real” local life and hidden secrets. I try to find more than I looked up in preperation of my trip.

So for a change, I will try to tell you about a few things that I came across on this trip. I will spare you my stories of all the big attractions like Borobudur and Prambanan because there is enough information on the internet about that already. I will try to share some of my experiences in Yogyakarta about places that you can’t find that easily but is worth the visit! Keep in mind that I was only there for 3 days of which 2 days were fully planned with the popular attractions, which left me with only 1 rainy day to walk around by myself.

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Close to the Kraton palace is a local bird market. Don’t be fooled by the name, not only are there birds sold there, they sell from bugs meant as bird food to bats and monkeys and from little hamsters to puppies, cats and rabbits. It was incredible. I’ve never been to an animal market like that before so I was just walking around with my mouth wide open, amazed by the tiny cages, the noises of the animals and the animal selection available.

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Although Malioboro is a big attraction, it surprised me when I found out that the whole atmosphere changes at night. The souvenir vendors packed up their carts and made place for the street restaurants. Small low tables were placed along the side walk and everybody was sitting on the ground, socializing and eating. And not only at night is the food-scene different, outside the local market people sit on a stool in front of a food stall like it’s a bar.

The easiest way of transportation in Yogya is the becak. It looks like it is especially for the tourists but it is not! It really is used by the locals as a cheap way to get around. You will see a local person with bags of what not packed into the becak. I got stared and waved at whilst sitting in one as a western woman using this local transportation.

As much as Yogya is Indonesia, it is a whole different atmosphere and destination than Bali. I loved how the shy students from Jakarta followed me for 5 minutes before they found the courage to ask me for a photo. I loved how the local people stop you to make a little chat and how friendly they are without wanting anything from you but just that, a chat. I loved the roads filled with becaks. I loved the hint of Holland you still see in the architecture. I loved all the batik and souvenirs sold at Malioboro.

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But most of all, I loved the fact I tasted a bit of real travelling once again.

Dinner in the rain

It seems like the rain is out to catch me. Another story about being caught in the rain and I’ll promise you, this is not the last one..

One of the must-do things in Bali, is a sea food dinner on the beach in Jimbaran. It’s what the place is known for. You pick one of the dozens of restaurants along the beach and enjoy your barbequed sea food during sunset. So I talked to a tour guide from the office, he recommended one restaurant and off we went. We had the luck to get a table in the packed restaurant right by the sea, and enjoyed the last few moments of the sunset. As it became darker, we could see the stars coming out and finally the food arrived. Just as we were finishing the last few bites, the wind started to pick up and we could feel a few raindrops. Stubborn as we were, decided to keep eating our food, hoping it would just pass over. Biggest mistake. It started pouring. Everybody ran inside (including us) carrying plates, standing there in the middle of the restaurant not knowing what to do. The rain soaked our plates and thus our food, there was nowhere to sit so our only option was to grab a cab and go home. “We’ll have coffee on the balcony back home..”

Our dinner, barely finished, soaked by the rain..