A Farewell to Friends, Plus Why Your Ice Cream Is So Thick and Creamy
Monday May 1, 2006
Today we said goodbye to a wonderful couple we met in Bali plus we paid a visit to Nusa Dua: beach-lounging capital of Bali as well as a place to find the secret ingredient to diet shakes and ice cream.
We said goodbye today to a wonderful couple we met here in Bali: Maria and Nuno, who are from Lisbon, Portugal. After 3 weeks in Bali – one of which was spent on a boat tour searching for surf on the surrounding islands – they are headed home. We had a wondeful time getting to know them. Mariah, besides Portugese, speaks English and German fluently. She works for Eastpak, a backpack manufacturer, where she started as a translator but has recently moved into sales and forecasting. Nuno owns a surf school in Portugal – Surf Lab – , where he coaches young surfers, grooming their abilities in the beachbreaks of Lisban. He himself is a very good surfer; a smooth goofyfoot and wave magnet in the water. It’s sad to see them go but we’ve exchanged contact info and promised to look them up should we find ourselves in Portugal.
After saying farewell to Maria and Nuno we headedoff to Nusa Dua, a resort town on the Bukit Pennsulia. Nusa Dua was conceived in the 1970s to attract tourists with it’s good beaches and sparse population. It was intended to provide tourists with everything they could need – or want – during their trip; thus, the area feels very sheltered from the real Bali. Nusa Dua took a big hit in business after the 2002 tourists bombings, and while business seems to have increased, it still feels like a paradise lost.
On the drive from Bingin we passed through Kulah village, where the people were busy getting ready for the big ceremony on the 3rd of May. The road was lined with arching bamboo poles – perhaps 20 feet in height – ornately decorated with tassles dangling from the tops. Music emanated from homes just to the side of the road.
Framed between fancy hotels and temple lined cliffs, the long sandy beach of Nusa Dua is the perfect place to sit back and relax. Kai was a it restless beacuse there was no pounding surf or anything dangerous he could subject himself to, but I was very happy swiming in the calm waters here. The water was much cooler, though still pleasant, than the other side of the peninsula; a refreshing change to the at-times-too-warm water in Bingin. This is also the windward side of the peninsula, so the air was noticeably cooler. The beach has a restaurant, a bit pricy at almost $6 for lunch, but conviently located and they have chase lounges out front in the shade. You have to pay for the newer ones but the old ones in the shade are fine and free.
Down the beach from the white umbrellas and chase lounges, a large number of Balinese were scurrying about so we walked down the beach to get a closer look. A labyrinth of fences stood in the shallows of the water, and Balinese men, women, and children kneeled in the water along the edges working fastiduously. Upon closer inspection they were harvesting seaweed. They grow it here, using the fences to corridor their crops from the waterflow outside. They first collect small amounts of seaweed and then plant it along the fence in neat little rows. The seaweed, in this controlled environment, grows much faster. They then harvest it, replant small amounts, and repeat the process over and over. This type of seaweed they harvest for Carrageenan – an emulsifying agent – which is used to thicken many foods, including ice cream. The seaweed, all seaweed in fact, is edible, and we each sampled a little bit. It had a crunchy texture and surprisingly light taste; it wasn’t very salty as one would expect.
After rinsing the sand off us we headed into the main part of Nusa Dua, passing upscale hotels catering to western tastes. There are many beach front restaurants that offer cuisine from all parts of the world, including Greek and Japanese. The restaurants here are a bit pricey so we drove further up the road and found a nice little noodle house with cheap prices. We had chicken noodle soup with fresh-made chineese noodles. The fresh noodles were a nice change from the instant Mie noodles found most places in Bali.
That’s about it for now. Please keep posting comments, they are what make this site so much fun for us.