Why do people travel? You have to wonder sometimes. Some people travel because they think it is something they should do. They spend their time shopping. Others look for diversions they cannot find at home or is cheaper. And others look for culture, art, and history.
There is no right or wrong reason to travel. I think any time you travel it should expand your world. I am not sure it does for everyone. For me travel is an amazing experience. I love to connect with other cultures which includes the people, art, and history.
I have always liked things that were different. Travel gives me the ability to expand my desire to see different things. I only wish that I had more money to travel whenever and where ever I like. The world is so big and there is still so much to see.
One of the things I like most when I travel is to meet people. I don't think you can really know a place until you meet and talk to the people that live there. I have been fortunate here in Bali to meet people and learn more about their culture. The Balineese are a beautiful people. They are very peaceful, respectful, and outwardly happy.
After being here a couple of days I wanted to eat something. Most of the restaurants I was encountering were tourist oriented. Places with names like "Taco House", "Pizza and Pasta and More" and others with Italian names. Even the Balinese restaurants had full western menus.
As I walked I noticed a place that said "Sulewasi Kitchen." This looked a little more promising. The staff welcomed me like an old friend. This is normal for Balinese. Well at least in my experience. I selected a fish dish and told them spicy was OK. The array of fresh juices is dizzying. This is one thing I really love about Bali. Amazing fresh fruit juices for a cost of about $1.50 USD or less.
First I was brought fish chips and a sauce. I am not supposed to eat the fish chips being celiac. I could not resist. I wanted to taste the sauce. It was a burst of flavor that is almost impossible to describe - sweet, sour, spicy. The manager came over to ask me how I was. I told him the sauce was delicious. He asked if I cooked. I told him yes.
Then they brought my main dish. This was spectacular. Perfectly cut squares of fish swimming in a yellow sauce with vegetables. It was not a typical curry. The flavor was amazing. Delicate but intense. I know there was tumeric and maybe cumin, but I am not sure what else. I could eat this dish every day.
When I finished the manager came over to talk to me. He asked if he could sit down. Balinese are very polite. He asked where I was from. What my life was like. We talked for maybe 2 hours. In the end he asked where I was going in Bali. He offered his brother to take me anywhere I wanted. He called him and they set up a tour for a couple days at a very reasonable price. Not traditional tourist prices.
Last night the restaurant had a grand opening. They had a free buffet. It was advertised in front of the restaurant. You only had to buy your drinks. The restaurant was full of Balinese. I was the only one who was not Balinese. The food was spectacular. There was all these amazing dishes I cannot begin to describe.
The owner Eve who I met the other day was thrilled to see me. She brought me things that were not on the buffet. I was so stuffed it was uncomfortable. It would be impolite to say no, so I had to try everything she brought me. The array of dishes - glutinous rice filled with tuna wrapped in a banana leaf or a chocolate rice dessert was to die for.
Across the road Taco Casa was filled with foreign tourists eating Mexican food made by Balinese. Go figure. You come all the way to Bali to eat Mexican food made by Balinese? I don't get it. Why would you do that? Or Pizza at the place next door? What is wrong with these people? In Mexico the same people eat at Dennys. Buah!
During dinner Scooby (or Camu is his Indonesian name) my driver friend came by on his motorcycle with a friend. He was all dressed up Indonesian style with a sarong and turban. He is a big guy and he and his friend looked a little scary. I thought he was kidding, but later his brother confirmed, he is responsible for security of the village. He joked with me as he ate. Tomorrow is my last tour with him and the guy I call "Good Driver." I am not sure where we will go. I have some ideas.
As I walk back to my guesthouse several people call to me. Not to buy tours, or taxis, but to say good night. They say when you come to Bali you are already planning your next trip. I completely understand why.