A Travellerspoint blog

April 2013

Time to move on...

Ubud had really become our home from home. After 2 weeks of being here and emersing ourselves in the area and making friends it would be really hard for us to leave but there was a niggling feeling that we had used up 2 weeks of our 2 month visa already in one place and there was still so much more to see and do.

But it was for good reason, other than learning yoga and becoming part of BAWA, we just loved Ubud and here's some of the reasons why...

The people are beautiful, from their big smiles to colourful clothes...

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Morning offerings to appease the spirits...

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Good dental hygiene includes a can of coke...

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There is no such thing as just a roundabout...

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When it rains, it chucks it down...

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There's always something interesting around the corner...

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You never know what you might see through a doorway...

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Or through a window...

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Drinks come with a smile

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Loads of random stuff...

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Just beautiful things everywhere. If anyone knows what flower this is please tell me... It looks like it has a candle inside!!

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We re off to Kuta next, and I think we may be in for a bit of a shock from what we ve heard... But we ll see for ourselves...

Sxx

Posted by doyledan 05:35 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Bali Eco Cycling tour

30 °C

During our BAWA volunteering we had the weekend free which worked out well. Having a break from the sights, smells and sounds of the clinic was appreciated as it is a lot to take in for two days on the go as a newbie. How the long term volunteers like Barbara and Laurina do it everyday for months is a testement to their determination and dedication.

Wena, our homestay owner in Ubud had passed on a leaflet for the Bali Eco Cycling tour which is extremely popular as it includes a trip to view Gunung Batur, an active volcano, whilst having breakfast. It continues with an easy downhill bike ride taking in the different Banjar's (villages) and scenery of Central Bali. A perfect way for us to soak up some more culture. Wena was very helpful and organised it all for us and didn't charge a fee. We just paid the Eco tour company directly.

In their brochure they explain that they were the first company to introduce the tour and subsequently other companies have stolen the name. We read up on tripadvisor just to see what people's experience was like and it was coming back very positive. We had also mentioned it to the people we knew at BAWA and all of them were singing its praises so it was an easy decision to go with them.

In the morning we waited outside our homestay and were told by Wena that the company would pick us up. However, time started getting on and we were getting a bit edgy because of previous experiences of people saying they have booked something and then it falls through. Fortunately that was not the case and our ride turned up only 20 minutes past the original ETA, and we got to see our local street waking up.

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After picking up everyone we made our way to the Gunung Batur eagerly awaiting breakfast. During that time we got a chance to mingle with the other members of the group and it was quite nice to be able to converse with some Brits for a change. The British contingent was Samantha, Adnan, and Sophia. We also had River from Taiwan, Mikis from Finland and Tabea from Germany.

Before we made it to the volcano we had a quick photo stop off to take in the view of a rice paddie field that was cultivated on the hills. It was a idyllic spot.

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We made it to the Lakeview restaurant for breakfast and were met with an even more glorious view of Gunung Batur. Sarah initially thought that the dark area was a shadow but then realised there was nothing to cast one, this area was actually the black lava flow from the last explosion back in 1972.

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And the crater lake, Lake Batur. This is the holiest lake in Bali and each year a cow is taken to the centre of the lake and sacrificed.

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The breakfast was pretty good and we continued to chat with the members of our group, helping other people get that group photo of the volcano. We had to do it too.

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After photos were taken it was time to leave and I thought we would be jumping on bikes from this point but instead we got back into the van and headed to the nearby coffee plantation to be introduced to the famous, and expensive Luwak coffee!

On route I was unaware of our destination and still was eager to get the wind in my face!

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The guide showed us round and explained about the Luwak coffee which was exactly the same process we witnessed in Vietnam all those months ago although in Vietnam they used weasels rather than Luwak's.

Here is a Luwak.

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And here is the before and after having gone through there digestive system. Can you guess which is after?

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After a bit of information we were then shown to the restaurant to have samples of coffee and tea. Three of us chipped in to have a pot of the Luwak coffee and to be honest, much like the one in Vietnam, it wasn't that great. I like coffee and have had it most days just black so its pretty rich and this wasn't that much richer but I guess it had a more earthy flavour.....I guess that will be the Luwak's doing.!

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Not long after the taste session we moved on to try some exotic fruits and I got a chance to ask our guide about his opinion of the tourism in Bali and Ubud. I'm always interested to find out the truth from someone who has been there when it was just one hotel and restaurant and then seen it multiply. He was of the general opinion that the development is good because people have more income but ultimately a part of their culture gets lost on the way as younger generations see the opportunity to earn money from tourism rather than participate in more traditional ways of earning a living. That being said I do think that tradition in Bali is still very important part of their lives.

After the plantation we headed on to the starting point of our cycling trip!! Finally! ...having been a keen rider to work back home I was really looking forward to getting on the bike. We got kitted up and waited for the other groups to disperse before taking our first cycles on the Tarmac!

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It wasn't long before we passed our first bit of culture as there was a a procession being held by the local villagers. They had all come out in their traditional dress and from what I could gather they were taking their god from one temple to another as there was a ceremony happening in another village. I don't think it was part of the normal tour so it was great to see everyone doing what they do without really caring what us 'Boolays' (foreigners) were doing.

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Moving on downhill we then stopped off at a Balinese home/compound, where we got to see first hand how the Balinese live outside the tourist areas.
Our guide gave us some interesting facts that we were not aware of like if there is a roof over the entrance that means it is someone's home but if there is no roof and only two sides to the entrance then it is a temple.

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He also told us how the census for the island is kept by marking down how many people live in the compound on a board outside. Using this they can determine how many families are living here and how many men, women and children.

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In the centre of the compound is the family temple which is raised off the ground and an important focus point for all important ceremonies, like marriages and funerals. When someone dies they are embalmed and laid in this area for up to a month whilst a wooden animal is constructed, once it is period of mourning is complete the body is put with the wooden animal and burned. The ashes are then collected and put in a shrine along. You will often see many of these shrines as the families tend to live in the same place for generations and so are always with their ancestors.

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The elders in the family live in a separate house which is slightly higher off the ground than the rest of the family buildings as a mark of respect. When there is a marriage the elders give up their room to the couple for their wedding night, which is seen as a great honour. Also when there is a birth in the family the placenta is buried outside this room, boys on the right and girls on the left, and marked with a stone. Offerings are made to ward off evil spirits and protect the child.

Much like the many of the countries we have visited in Asia, a lot of people make their living using natural materials to build items such as baskets and weave mats.

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And of course the petrol was sold in similar deceiving bottles.

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We were taken through the compound and shown the kitchen and were told that Balinese don't have breakfast, lunch & dinner, you just eat when you're hungry. One of the local specialties is sambal, a spicey sauce made of chilli, pepper and salt. This is made with a large pestle and mortar and superstition means that these can never be cleaned, and it is believed that the spicey sea of the chilli will kill any germs.

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This family specialised in making things from bamboo and we were shown how it is split and that different parts would be used for walls and others for ceilings. Sarah also like some beautiful batik she spotted hanging up to dry.

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After the compound we zoomed down the hill passing young kids and adults who all liked to shout 'hello' as we rolled passed. Lots of smiles and waving. We stopped off at a rice paddie field and were allowed to take a walk through whilst the guide told about the two types of rice that is grown. A new type of rice has been introduced to the island which is genetically modified. He also told us about how the men and women split up the duties of cultivating the rice with the men taking the job of planting and the women take the role of harvesting. Both back breaking jobs!

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We came across a snake skin, which made us think we are a little vulnerable standing out here.

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After the rice field we moved on and our guide stopped us to show us a HUGE spider from the side of the road. It was pretty big but seemed harmless as he let it go up his arm. He then beckoned me over and I thought why not. It was very creepy and its legs felt very strong as it climbed around my arm. Sarah was beside herself.

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Then Mikis decided he would take on the challenge of letting it walk over his face!! Eh...I drew the line there!

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The next stop was by a huge banyan tree that is sacred but as we got there I got a bit distracted by some kids playing footie and my inner kid went to go join them. Subsequently I didn't hear about the tree.

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But we scored a goal to the delight of the younger kids I teamed up with who were playing the older kid.

We rolled on and stopped off quite soon to go and have a look at what the local women do to collect the rice. The method is pretty simple, you just grab a clump and bash it on a board releasing the rice! So we all had a go.

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Some of us took it a bit too far!

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The rest of the trip was a nice windy roll passing villages and fields and it seemed us though we were on a bit of mission to move on which I subsequently found out was because Tabia was trying to get her flight later in the day. Unfortunately it meant that our guide was not very good at communicating this desire to get to the end of the bike ride and I was a bit bemused because I was expecting to be given the option to give the harder cycle to the finish a go, but it had been decided that we wouldn't be doing this. Thankfully, Sarah egged me on to question it as we had paid money too and should get the experience we want and so I got my chance to give it a go once we dropped off the rest of group.

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I changed guides and riding solo with him we tackled the route. I was definitely glad I gave it a go because I wanted to test my fitness but I wasn't aware that we would essentially be riding on a much busier road than the tour had been on. My London riding held me in good stead to not be too phased but in the heat with the constant incline of the hill that we went up it was tough and I was pleased to make it in good time to have our scrumptious lunch with famous Bali smoked duck. Yum Yum!!

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During lunch we arranged with everyone who could to meet up with us at the Shisha Lounge bar in Ubud that night. It ended up being just Samantha and Adnan who joined us which turned out to be better as we all got on really well and it was nice to hear about their lives and talk about their plans for the rest of the their trip. It turns out that they were going to Gili Islands for a few days and would be coming back to Jimbaran bay in Bali to stay at the Intercontinental. They generously offered us to come and visit them at their hotel in a few days which would give us a chance to ask them about the Gili's and also through their recommendation we would be able to tie in going to see a Kecak dance in Uluwatu which was performed in a Open theatre looking out to sea!

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Stay tuned for more tales

Dan

Posted by doyledan 04:36 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Volunteering at BAWA

Our week volunteering at BAWA was a whirlwind that we got completely swept up in. It is definitely up there with some most challenging and rewarding weeks of our travels so far and had a big effect on us. It was a massive eye opener into animal welfare, the frustrations of limited resources and difficulty in changing attitudes, but most of all we saw how compassion and perseverance can make such a difference. At times it was overwhelming, so many animals needing help, so many stories of suffering and not all with happy endings, but then you see a wagging tail or an animal being re homed and know it is all worthwhile.

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As we had no transport of our own and the clinic is a bit out of the centre of Ubud we would be making use of the BAWA shuttle service from their shop in the morning and back in the afternoon. We were starting on a Thursday and as the shuttle only runs on weekdays, we would have a break on the weekend which Dan will tell you about in the next blog. This one will focus just on our time with BAWA.

We would be volunteering for 5 days in total from around 9am - 4.30pm. Visiting the clinic beforehand meant we had an idea of what we had let ourselves in for, it was going to be intense but we were ready!

As a volunteer we would be involved in feeding, cleaning, laundry (and lots of it), walking the dogs, socialising the animals, helping the vets and any other random task that might come to mind to help. Dan turned into the BAWA handy man, and there was plenty of tasks such as coming up with a solution for draining the bins with soiled towels and bedding.

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We also would be an extra pair of eyes to help notice any changes in the animals, had one just been sick, which one was not eating that morning, etc so we could alert the vets. There were several times when it was things we had spotted that alerted the vets to a bigger problem, it was good to be able to help. With about 120 dogs & cats to take care of it was all hands on deck!

We got stuck in helping Laurina with the morning feeding and cleaning of the cages in the quarantine area of the clinic. This is where the sick animals and young puppies are and also lead through to the office and operating area. As people walk through here all the time more eyes can keep a check on them throughout the day.

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There was a constant need to change soiled bedding in the cages and refill water bowls, and you could pretty much guarantee once you did it someone would poop or knock the water over so you had to do it all again! (If you cant handle the sight and smell of a lot of poo this is not for you!) This is why the washing machine is constantly on the go and at times it was hard to keep up to have enough dry towels to replace them. It was lovely when you had a clean warm towel from the drier to put in as you could almost see the joy on the puppies faces as they snuggled down into it. Particularly the poorly ones that needed extra comfort.

BAWA is dependant on the generosity of others not only for volunteers but for donations. Whilst we were there we witnessed the random kindness of a couple on their holiday who came to the clinic in the morning and asked for a list of things the clinic needed. In the afternoon they were back with a car load of food and medicines for the animals. It was really inspiring to see. BAWA are always in need of essential supplies and have a wishlist you can check out here

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Laurina has been volunteering for BAWA for several years dedicating months at a time to helping the animals here. The following day we would also meet Barb another long term volunteer and her friend Marilyn who had come over to give her time for a couple of weeks. These 3 wonderful ladies from Australia were a real inspiration. Volunteering is very hands on and they were right in the thick of it. There was no way they were going to go passed an animal in the street they were concerned about without doing something about it and would have no qualms about speaking to the owner and telling them to give their chained dog water or to move the cage out of the sun, and if that didn't change things then these ladies would just do it themselves anyway! On hearing some of their tales and being in the car when we pulled over on one of these saving missions I nicknamed them BAWAs (Charlie's) Angels!

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We had such a great time with these girls and shared the ups and downs of life at the clinic together.

One day when Dan was hosing down some towels in the front yard he heard sounds coming from down the side of one of the buildings near the drain, and found a puppy! This is little Robin...turns out she was one of five puppies which had turned up in the last couple of days, one was even found in a cupboard.

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It was not a happy ending for all of these though, on the second to last day I noticed one of them wasn't as lively as the others and when I picked it up I could feel a rattle in its chest. I told one of the vets and helped out giving the puppy medicine to open its airways.

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The next morning we found out one had passed away. With suspected Canine Distemper being the cause, which is very contagious the rest were moved into isolation and I hear they are doing well, and fortunately there have been no more cases. This was the beginning of our final day at BAWA which was to be the most difficult with several animals passing away. With nowhere to store or dispose of dead animals we soon had several small bundles put out with the rest of the rubbish. This was hard to take as you would like them to have dignity but again with limited resources this is the only option.

In the late morning a man brought these beautiful puppies to the clinic.

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I overheard bits of his story about how he had found the mother whilst walking his own dog, he thought she had been poisoned and as she was suffering he had 'no choice' but to drown her and bring the puppies here! Now like I said I didn't hear it all but clearly these puppies were well fed and not street dogs, if the mother was in distress why would you kill it by drowning rather than tell the owner or bring the poor dog to BAWA for help. Something was not adding up...but at least the puppies were at BAWA and luckily for them as they were healthy and old enough they were re homed later that same day. This does highlight though the difference in how people view non Bali dogs...there are plenty of gorgeous puppies waiting for homes but as these were 'breed' dogs they were snapped up whilst the others (like these guys) are overlooked.

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It is not only dogs BAWA helps but cats and other animals in need too. On our first day a box of tiny kittens was brought in without a mother. Where possible these were fostered out as they need constant supervision and regular feedings.

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Mid afternoon is more peaceful time at the clinic as all the dogs would have a siesta after their afternoon feeding. This was when I would get a chance to go in with the cats and have some kitten cuddles!

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As much as I would love to take credit for this gorgeous photo I can't...its one of Dans!

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Its hard to sum up everything in a blog but here are some of the stories that touched us during our time here...

I mentioned Atlas the Golden Retriever in our last BAWA blog, who was found in a gutter all skin and bones.

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He would not have survived down in the main large dog run with the other adult Bali dogs and so was kept in a large cage in the yard during his recovery. Cooped up all day he loved to be let out of his cage but would get so excited that being big and jumping all over the place made him hard to handle. Dan took this challenge on and took great pleasure in walking this lovely boy.

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On our very last day at the clinic we saw him being taken to his new home, and it was so wonderful to be shown photos of him with his new family and in the space he needed. Well done Atlas!

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This is Damien, another legend who is such a cute character and a joy to walk, strutting along with a cool attitude.

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He still needs a home and if we were living in Bali would ve taken him in a heartbeat.

We nicknamed this little one 'Houdini', as she was always squeezing through the bars trying to come find us all for a cuddle.

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She had been lovingly hand reared by Laurina and there were several times where this little one scared us all by escaping and squeezing under the gate into the large dog enclosure. One morning she wasn't in her cage and she definitely wasn't in with the other puppies so we all feared the worst as it was likely that the older dogs would kill her. Miraculously she had managed to go from one side of their enclosure to the other and found safety behind the gate to the small garden area on the other side. It looked like she had taken a bite to the head as her eye was a bit swollen but it could have been worse and was almost better by the time we left. Dan and some of the guys took on the task of 'Houdini proofing' the run she was in. Attaching extra metal grids to the gate so she wouldn't be able to squeeze through.

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It was definitely hard for me to leave this little one, who had got 'come hug me, don't leave me' puppy dog eyes down to perfection. I hope she finds a loving home, Dan wouldn't allow me to put her in my backpack!

Another escape artist is Kampil, the dog rescued from the meat trade I mentioned in previous post on BAWA.

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He is such a beautiful dog and although big and can bark when he wants to, he would still come up for a stroke and could be surprisingly gentle despite the way he had been treated previously. One day we were walking back from lunch when I saw a dog that looked remarkably like him coming out of the paddy field next to the clinic, straight out to the busy road. I shouted to Laurina who was on the other side of the road "Is that one of ours!' and she leapt into action. Fortunately he came to her when she called his name and she expertly grabbed him, picked him up despite his size and took him back to the clinic.

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How had he got out? Well he had found the drain at the corner of the large dog run and worked out that he could dig down, move rocks etc to squeeze his way through to the outside. If we had been a couple of seconds later he would have been gone! Yet again we put Dan to good use to try and make it Kampil proof. He spent some time hammering long poles in the ground so he could not dig them up although it was made difficult as Kampil insisted on standing right next to him, watching everything Dan was doing. You just knew he was trying to work out how to undo it all.

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And sure enough he had ago straight away! So far its held up.

This is little ViVi.

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Such a little darling, I was so scared to pick her up at the beginning in case I hurt her as she is sooo skinny. She loved being cuddled and despite being weak would always try to get up to have one. Even though lack of calcium had meant that her front feet were deformed she loved to have a little run around.

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She was so poorly though, hardly eating and what she did eat she couldn't keep down. Despite all the best efforts of the vets and volunteers at BAWA we found out shortly after we left Ubud that the decision was taken to put her to sleep so she is not suffering anymore. Sleep well little ViVi :(

On a happier note this is the gorgeous Michelle, who is always smiling.

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She would run round the clinic like a loon despite having a cast on her leg and was always wanting attention. The cast came off just before we left and I am so pleased to tell you that since then she has been adopted :)

This is Bella, the new love of Dans life, and who can blame him!

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This little girl was always crying out for attention, awake when all the other puppies were asleep. I think she must have learnt how to call for Dan specifically as there were plenty of times I would walk in on them having a cuddle. She is still causing mischief.

This is just the tip of the iceberg! There are so many others all with their own story.

If you have been touched by any of the above and wish to help you can donate here

If you have some time you can give to this worthy cause you can find out more about volunteering on their website too. Just remember not to wear your best clothes as you ll get mucky and maybe chewed :)

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I would like to take a moment to say a huge thank you to everyone at BAWA, particulalry...

Laurina, Barb, Marilyn, Aron, Debs & Kim

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Thank you for making our time volunteering at the clinic so memorable, for sharing your passion, dedication and laughter with us. For showing us places to go for lunch, how to hitch a ride in Ubud, enlightening us about how some people dress up as animals, dancing and sharing a few bintangs...or a Margherita or 4!

Hope we can come back to Ubud in the future or catch some of you down under!

The Rabbits xxxx

Posted by doyledan 00:29 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

Mischievous Macaques

Monkey Forest temple in Ubud, Bali.

Our week of Yoga had been pretty regimented in terms of schedule as we wanted to immerse ourselves in it as well as slow down a bit during our downtime. It wasn't till the last few days that we ventured out and about more to see what Ubud had to offer. Having seen BAWA clinic in action and deciding to take on volunteering we wanted to make sure where the office was for pick up. And conviently it was on the road called Monkey Forest, which meant we could fit in some culture by visiting the temple that is situated within the forest. The other attraction, which I kind of understand, is to see the vast amounts of Long Tailed Macaques who roam free around the grounds.

Before we headed to the grounds we stopped off at this idyllic restaurant called Tropical View which offered a fantastic view of the rice fields. And the meal was pretty damn good too!

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The temple grounds itself is quite cool, in that like Ta Prohm temple within Angkor Wat the jungle and the stone carvings have moulded together over time to create a mystical imagery. Indiana Jones fans would be in their element! Within the grounds there is a Balinese Hindu temple that is very sacred to the Balinese people. The walk from the entrance to the temple is a nice one and as you meander along the paths you instantly see the second attraction at work.

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As soon as we entered a macaque ran up to a pram and stole the food from the bottom ....cheeky bugger ! But to be honest if your dumb enough to leave it there you deserve it really. It clearly states that the monkeys will find whatever food you have, even if its in your pocket.

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This one had stolen someone's ticket!

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What I didn't count on was one of the Macaques being interested in my water bottle which I let drop to the floor because it said to do so in the guidelines, probably because they could become dangerous if refused what they are going after. I've seen some wildlife program's where these types of monkeys flip out and bite people and consequently transmit a disease, so I wasn't going to tempt fate by keeping hold of my plastic bottle.

It was a bit funny watching it figure out there was water in it and pouring it everywhere other than in its mouth.

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I think it is good that these monkeys are allowed to roam free but the problem is that people are more often quite stupid and have this narrow idea of how to interact with a wild animal, making it potentially dangerous in some cases. There were a few times when we saw parents allowing their small child to run around without keeping an eye on them, as they were too engrossed in trying to take a photo of monkey scratching its butt for all I know. One toddler was running straight towards a big male! Sarah and I both were on edge at that moment.

We made our way down some steps to another area and it was there that we got a glimpse of what the Komodos will look like when we make it too Flores! I hope they re not this big!

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It was in this area that you got the real Indiana Jones feel to it all. I was thinking where was the secret passage to the golden shrine!!

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Walking onwards to the temple we had to pass more and more Macaques and watching them steal or clean each other was quite fun but to be honest I was a bit wary of them to enjoy it at times.

The temple itself was true to Balinese design with beautiful stone carvings. Before we entered we had put on traditional Balinese attire and were given sarongs so as to cover the lower part of our body as a mark of respect. As we walked in the Macaques were doing their thing. Some even licking the walls which I can only imagine was for the water in the stone or getting nutrients from the moss.

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As we looked around the small area I did end up watching one Macaque search for water out of the tap whilst defending it from the others which was quite funny.

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I also got a picture of this pretty thing as well.

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After walking around we headed back to the entranced not before encountering this small fella being fed...

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It was a nice experience to see the area and I think we felt better for taking the time to venture out from the shops/cafes/resturants of central Ubud.

The next day would be our first day at BAWA clinic....

Stay tuned for more tales

Dan

Posted by doyledan 01:34 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Discovering BAWA

As mentioned previously we were keen to do some volunteering in this last leg of our travels. I think that after travelling for so long both of us were missing that sense of being part of something, rather than move from one tourist photo opportunity to the next. The frustrating thing was that the volunteer projects we were finding online would cost us more than our budget would allow, we had the time and enthusiasm but not the cash to get involved. We hoped we would stumble on something locally and try to help...

Whilst browsing on trip advisor for things we could do around Ubud whilst we did our yoga I was surprised to see that that BAWA (Bali Animal Welfare Association) clinic was coming up top as a place to visit. I think BAWA was coming up so highly rated because people really believe in the work being done to help the animals. This is not a 'tourist attraction' but by tapping into this area and building awareness of the problems and need for help BAWA hopefully can get the donations and support they need. After reading several people's accounts of the great work being done at the clinic I wanted to find out more and whether we could help.

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I checked out their website www.bawabali.com and found that there was opportunity to volunteer if you can commit to a minimum of a week and it would also cost us nothing but our time and hard work. BAWA were upfront about how being at the clinic could be quite difficult and upsetting for some people, and to be prepared that the standards of the clinic are not comparable with vet clinics back at home due to lack of resources etc... Now being an animal lover and given that I can't watch Marley & Me without turning into a blubbering wreck, I needed to make sure I could handle the situation to be able to help rather than be a hindrance. Dan too was unsure if he wanted to see animals who were suffering, even if we were there to help, so we organised to visit the clinic first.

The clinic was an assault on the senses! As we pulled up in a bemo outside the noise of all the barking was incessant, and then as we walked through the gates we were hit by the smell too. With so many animals to look after there was a lot of poop being made faster than it can be cleared away. Volunteers and staff were rushing around doing their morning feedings and cleaning and we were introduced to Kim who took us around the clinic and told us more about BAWA.

It was talking to Kim that really brought home the issues of animal welfare in Bali and in particular the problems this creates for Bali dogs.

As soon as we got to Bali we saw dogs everywhere, roaming the streets. Bali dogs are a hardy breed that know how to look after themselves on the street. A lot of these dogs are actually owned by people but they are allowed to free roam the area and without being neutered results in more and more puppies. As we stood in the yard we could see several puppies in cages that had been abandoned at the clinic overnight, which we found out was a regular occurrence.

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We were told how there is a cultural difference in how animals are seen and treated in Bali. With animal sacrifice part of the culture here, children see animals killed from a young age. In particular dogs with this type of colouring are used in sacrifitial ceremonies.

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Kim explained that this does not mean to say that the people in Bali do not love their animals but there is a difference in what is deemed acceptable in terms of how to look after animals, with seemingly simple things such as don't keep them in a cage in the sun, make sure they have water etc... being overlooked. As well as looking after and rehabilitating animals it was impressive to hear that BAWA also works to educate local people about animal welfare too including programmes with local schools.

BAWA will only take an animal in if it is really ill, had its life threatened or in the case of puppies unable to fend for themselves. They try where possible to treat Bali dogs on the street, going back for repeat treatments and feeding as necessary. The reason for this is that Bali dogs are very territorial with a patch of about 3km and if they are out of that area for too long then they will lose it. If a dog needs to be brought into the clinic, then there is a 10 day window before it loses its territory. Dogs that they can't take back they work to rehabilitate and re home. If a dog becomes or is seen to be a nuisance it is not uncommon for them to experience violence, and BAWA sees many dogs with horrific machete injuries and has even helped dogs that have had their throats deliberately slashed! Volunteers play a big part in helping to socialise traumatised animals so they learn not all humans will hurt them so they can find a new home.

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I was surprised to find out that Rabies had come to Bali as recently as 2008, which resulted in a mass cull of dogs. If your dog wasn't collared and chained up the government had ordered it would be killed. This resulted in dogs being tied up in the wrong way and BAWA sees many dogs with appalling neck injuries from chains/collars that have not been made larger as the dog has grown and so become embedded in their neck. There was an immunisation programme so if you see dogs with the yellow collar like this guy or a red one then they have been vaccinated for rabies.

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We had to show that we had had our rabies vaccinations before we could volunteer at the clinic, and would be trained how to deal with bites if this was to happen. The only way to definitively test for rabies is by examining the brain after the animal has died. As the clinic does not have the resources to do these tests they need to send the brain off for analysis and the only way for them to do this is to cut the dead dogs head off so we were warned that if a dog with suspected rabies died at the clinic whilst we were there that there was a possibility we could see this. Not very pleasant but with limited resources this is their only option.

Whilst walking around the runs downstairs full of puppies and dogs, we told the story of one of them, Kampil, who had been rescued from the dog meat trade! He was found outside the clinic trussed up in a sack with tape around his muzzle which is how traders normally bind them, looks like someone tried to save him by leaving him at the clinic (he was to become one of my favourites). Now we had heard of people eating dog in Vietnam and have posted previously about some of the methods used and people's pets being stolen for the trade etc but I did not realise this was an issue here too and BAWA try to rescue these dogs where they can.

Another problem in Bali is 'breed' dogs, such as golden retrievers and huskies, which are seen as a status symbol. These dogs are not made for the Bali climate and so are prone to skin diseases, resulting in fur loss. This could be simply treated but instead of doing this the trend is the dump the now 'ugly' dog and get a new one. Another problem is that many people do not have the money to be able to look after these larger dogs, they are innately not as streetwise as the Bali dog either to fend for themselves properly, becoming malnourished. This is the lovely Atlas who was found in a gutter practically a skeleton and after 6 weeks of care he has made an amazing recovery.

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It was a lot to take in but after seeing the animals and hearing about the problems they faced we knew we wanted to help.

I had particularly fallen for this little escape artist...

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It would be a tough environment to be in and I could see us getting emotionally involved but we decided to put any reservations aside. Any discomfort or upset we would feel seemed insignificant compared to some of the suffering we had seen/heard about.

We decided we would extend our stay in Ubud after we finished yoga so we could commit to a week volunteering and help where we could. We were prepared for mucking in and mucking out!

More of our time at BAWA is to come but if you have been touched by any of the above and wish to help you can donate here

BAWA are always in need of essential supplies and have a wishlist you can check out here

We miss Merlot and Alfie our family dogs at home!!

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Sxxx

Posted by doyledan 03:17 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

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