Welcome to Indonesia
From Zürich, we had taken a 4.5 hour train ride to Paris, and after a stop in the countryside for the holidays, it was a 12 hour flight to Singapore, followed by a 2.5 hour flight to Denpasar, Bali. This was certainly “getting away.” It was late evening when we arrived, so our first experience with Indonesia was in its sounds and smells, not yet its sights and beautiful landscapes for which it is known. Staying in a house in the middle of the rice fields in southern Bali, we could only imagine what it would look like the next morning. A lightning storm all throughout the night offered us an excellent preview. We tried to catch each flash, as we listened to the sounds of cow bells, exotic birds, animals we had no idea how to identify, Muslim chants far in the distance (at 4am), roosters crowing and scooters whizzing by.
When we woke up, the adventure began; everything is new, endless discoveries to be had in the next 2 weeks – the scenery, the aromas, unending variety of vegetation, the way of life, Hindu customs and omnipresence of temples, and certainly the foods. Scooters with familes of 4 on them, stray dogs, pushcarts and cars all sharing the narrow roads, traffic rules nonexistent (just remember that they drive on the left side here). We joined them and explored a few neighboring villages on our first day here. We ended up in the very popular and bustling town of Seminyak, curious of all we read of this stylish hot spot. It’s filled with shops both artisanal and trendy, plenty of restaurants and cafes, but definitely way too touristy and kitsch for us. Asking a local for a recommendation for lunch brought us to Warung Murah (warung meaning a local, casual place to eat). It was the perfect spot to prepare our palates for Asian food, as we could take a little of this and a little of that from all the platters on display. Starting with a pile of rice, we then pointed to this, asked about that, took some meat, added some seafood and plenty of vegetables. Fresh fruit and a fried banana dipped in honey topped it all off.
There is so much to learn – the names of foods, how and when they are eaten here, new fruits and vegetables we have never tasted, flavors we have never had before… We (and you) are in for a real gastronomic adventure and a real education. I can’t wait.