Rainy Day in Bali

By: Kiera Mermejo-Varga

Due to weather conditions we had to make a change of plans to our schedule. Like everyday, we had a very delicious breakfast and talked to each other about our time in Bali. Then, after breakfast we all took a little time to rest for the day ahead.

In the morning, we went to the Art Museum, Arma. The museum was quite big so we all split up and took in all the beautiful art, gardens, sculptures, bridges, etc. I went in the contemporary and tradition/culture museum. It gave me the opportunity to look at different art pieces and see all the representation art has within the Balinese culture. Then, some of the group was shown photos of the visit Barack Obama took to Bali with his family.

After our time in the museum, we went to lunch at the Dian restaurant. Where we enjoyed sandwiches, mie goreng, kabobs and charcoal burgers. Once lunch was finished, the group went to Shadow Puppet class where we kept working on our shadow puppets. Everyone made a lot of progress on them.

When we got to the hotel after class, everyone relaxed and waited for dinner time. Once again, we ate at the Savannah Moon for dinner and came back to the hotel for a good night sleep. Another day in Bali has ended, and we are all excited for the trip ahead.

One Week!

By: Gabriel Alarcon Macias

Today we all woke up to a beautiful blue sky and a slight breeze. We separately took our daily walks and runs and came together for breakfast at 8 o’clock. We had our delicious meals as well as our sweet tea and coffee. We took some time to gather our things before we left for our classes for the day. One more day in Bali had begun!

We walked up to the bus stop where we waited for a few minutes and talked about some movies we enjoyed before coming to Bali. The bus finally arrived and we were on our way to our first class, Gamalan(Music). When we arrived, our four teachers welcomed us to the performance center and we quickly began playing. Once we got the hang of our instruments we have played for two days now, we decided to change instruments. Everyone seemed to quickly learn their new parts and it sounded beautiful.

After a while of playing, we headed towards lunch and went back to the restaurant we had the previous day. As we finished our meals, we got back in the bus to go to our afternoon classes. My group switched from puppet making yesterday, to painting today. Our experience painting was truly relaxing. We first sketched our pieces onto the canvas which took up the class due to the detail. Once finished for the day, on our way back to our hotel we got caught up in traffic due to a street ceremony and we then decided to walk home and watch. It was really amazing how much people were watching everywhere!

When we got the the hotel we hangout and talked with each other for awhile. Some of us played some badminton while others rested. We then went out for dinner later that afternoon. Our meals were particularly delicious tonight. I write this from the lobby area and everyone is mostly asleep. What a wonderful day today in Bali! We’ll see what tomorrow has in store for us!

Ps: Today we celebrate one week in this beautiful country! Cheers👏🏼

Puppets and painting

By Franki Maestas-Chavez

I was assistant of the day today, I wake everyone up at 6:15 a.m. My alarm went off and I had no problem getting up, however once I was done waking everyone up, I went straight back to bed and didn’t wake up till 7:40. Oops.

We had our usual breakfast and after we gathered the things we needed for the day and then we headed off to Gamelan class to improve our skills on the instruments.

After class we headed to lunch, a new restaurant, Mangga Madu was the name of the restaurant. The group was split into two groups and one group went to painting and another went to puppet making. I went to puppet making. We learned the history of the puppets and we were taught how to make them.

With a long day we had, we walked to the rice patties for some dinner. ‘‘Twas a day filled with learning new things.


By: Victoria Alarcon

In a new world, we started the day off with our usual morning walks. We feel like we are getting used to waking up around 6 to catch the beautiful weather early in the morning. The breakfast continues to taste delicious, while my favorite meal is still the sweet banana pancakes as well as a savory omelette. Lastly, a fresh mixed juice and teh (tea).

We all gathered around the table to discus our feelings and about our stay. Not long after we went to the rooms to grab our sarongs because we had been invited to a traditional ceremony after our music class. We walked to the bus stop and waited patiently through traffic.

Once we arrived to our music class, we quickly began and picked the instruments that captured our attention. Playing them felt like we were there for hours; and I can say for all of us, we still have the melody in our heads :D. After gamelan class we drove to Zenia’s and Gaylon’s favorite barbecue stop which was only a couple minutes away. When finished, we visited Nonik’s house to get ready for the ceremony.

Arriving at the ceremony we saw Anom give an offering with music and his puppet making. As well as traditional story telling masked men. It was incredibly fascinating to see so many people at the ceremony.

We finished the day off with dinner at the Savannah Moon Restaurant. And William was kind enough to take us for an amazing gelato, that we were deeply craving since the beginning of the trip. Today was a long day but it was very productive. I can’t wait for what tomorrow will bring.

Night, Night Bali.

Gamelan/ Music class

Time to Get Nakey

By: Savannah Palmer

Today we were allowed to sleep in until 6:20. We started the day with morning runs and walks. At an altitude of 1,986 feet, it is much easier to breathe. Once we finished our outdoor explorations, we united in the common room of the hotel. We had our banana pancakes, eggs, and fresh juices while we talked about the plans of the day.

Once we were finished with our meals, some of us played badminton while others relaxed. The group had reservations at Nur Salon and Spa, so we walked over to the beautiful area. For this massage, we had to get completely naked.

During this relaxing and luxurious time at Nur Salon and Spa, we were massaged, exfoliated, and we got into a bath with flower petals and warm water. The massagers were very attentive to our soreness. They got every nook and cranny they could find.

Once we were finished with our massages, we ate at Warung Biah Biah. We had eaten here before, and the food was just as delicious as the first time. Our relaxation made our eyelids very heavy during our meal. We headed back to the hotel to relax for awhile. Our gracious hotel manager, Wayan, and his wife helped us put on our sarongs. Sarongs are worn during ceremonies and celebrations. We wore ours to a 6 month olds birthday.

While we were at the ceremony, there was blessing given, food to eat, and people to talk to. While eating the food, many of us burned our mouths with spicy food. A couple students engaged in conversation with Balinese people. While talking to teenagers, we discovered that they like many of the same things we do. They watch many of the same films and listen to the same music. Their English was very impressive.

When the time to leave came, we gathered in a van for a short ride back to the hotel. The group split up either relaxing, talking, or swimming. As I’m writing this, we are talking to Iputu jero. He works at our hotel. Tomorrow will be his last day with us before he goes off to college. We are sad to see him go, but, we wish him the best.

Our First Busy Day!

By: Lauren G. Maestas-Chavez

With an early start to our day, which we will soon be accustomed to, everyone had their own opportunity to take a walk through the early morning streets/nature of Bali. After our morning walk, we gathered in the commons room to have breakfast. An early morning walk followed by a fulfilling breakfast is beginning to become a pleasant routine.

With breakfast out of the way, we are delighted to be informed of a kindergarten graduation in which we are invited. A brief walk across the street and up the stairs and we find ourselves surrounded by children formally dressed in their traditional regalia, ready to commence the ceremony. We are welcomed in and were able to witness the performance of the “Welcome Dance” by the young girls, and the “Warrior Dance” by the young boys. With a busy schedule ahead of us, we politely remove ourselves from the area and go to meet our bus down the street. We are to head off to the market in hopes of finding a sarong and sash belt that we will wear tomorrow at a birthday party.

The market is the place where the true test of our Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian Language) skills would come. We browsed, bargained, and settled on each of our own sarongs and belts that matched our preferences, a task that proved to be a challenge. With shopping done, we gather into the bus once more to travel to a hotel that we would later be staying at. There, we sat and enjoyed a meal with a beautiful view of a valley of greenery. And again, after our meal was over, we boarded the bus to visit another location that we would be staying at near the beach.

As we arrived at our destination, our driver finessed his way through the incredibly small roadways to deliver us to a pleasant surprise. We all looked at the small, but beautiful beach in awe. Happily, we walked onto the beach and into the water where we did not quite swim, but instead enjoyed the wonderful water. As time dwindled, we cleaned our feet of the sand and boarded the van for our bus driver to again, finesse his way out of the tight roadways and back onto the main road. We would return to our home stay while also enjoying the views along the way.

Upon arrival, we settled in and relaxed briefly and gathered in the commons room where we would then walk to dinner. With our third meal of the day complete, we returned back to our home stay. Ending the day, we arranged our orders for breakfast, said our goodnights, and parted for bed. Goodnight from Bali!

Waking Up in Bali

Kiera Mermejo-Varga

We started our day with a two mile walk through the jungle and the rice patty fields. While we were heading back to the hotel, Gaylon and I stopped by a restaurant and picked up some bread for the group. He told me different stories about the architecture in the Ubud community. Then once we got to the hotel, we ate our first breakfast there, having banana pancakes, omelets, fruit smoothies, tea and coffee. Everyone left the table feeling satisfied.

After breakfast, we had time to decompress and relax. Some took a nap, or went swimming. In order to kill some time before lunch, we played UNO and listened to music. By lunch time, we headed out into the town and explored. For lunch, we went to Warung Biah Biah and enjoyed Balinese cuisine. After we ate, Gaylon and Zenia took us to the public library, Pondok Pedak Library, where books are donated from tourists or residents.

When we came back from our busy afternoon, we rested more by taking naps or going for swim. Later on, some went to hangout with Madey and played badminton. Then, we all went out to dinner where we all shared stories.

Day 2

By: Franki Maestas-Chavez

We arrived in Taipei, Taiwan at 5:00 o’clock in the morning. Our next flight wasn’t until 9:00 a.m, as we found our gate and got settled in, some of the group went to explore the airport and some stayed to rest some more. When everyone came back, we played uno and talked about what we did/watched on our 14 hour flight we had just gotten off.

We boarded our plane and got ready for a quick 5 hour flight. We arrived in Bali around 3:15; we went through immigration and got our passports stamped. We got our luggage and went to find Wayan, the owner of our home stay.

As we drove to Ubud, an hour drive, we were all amazed by the buildings, the incredibly hectic traffic, and the environment that surrounded us. As we got to our home stay we met the workers and family and got settled into our rooms. We cleaned up and got ready to go out to dinner. We ate at Tutmak, all of us ordered fried noodles with chicken, while the adults ordered other things.

It was 9:00 pm when we got back home, we met friends of Zenia and Gaylon, they had fried bananas to give us. We then got ready for bed. It was a long day but we managed to pull through even though we were really tired.

The Adventure begins!

By: Gabriel Alarcon

The day began when our six travelers and their families headed towards the Albuquerque International Sunport Airport. As we arrived, we checked in as well as arranged our luggage. We said our final goodbyes, and shared our last hugs.

Our first flight was from Albuquerque to Phoenix, Arizona. We got to experience our first takeoff of the day, as well as our first glimpse of the beginning of a long and tiring trip. We arrived at Phoenix at approximately 5:30 and quickly made our way to our next flight to Ontario, California.

We peacefully arrived in California after a quick 50 minute flight and decided to walk to the next terminal instead of taking a shuttle; to lose some time. During our 1/2 a mile walk to the next terminal, we talked amongst ourselves about our feelings towards the trip and emotions of the upcoming 14 hour flight to Taipei, Taiwan.

Towards our last few hours in the U.S, a few of us enjoyed of a small restaurant across the terminal and and ate some delicious burgers, fries, and sandwiches. The end of our American lives are coming to closure, as we are now ready to embark on the beginning of this wonderful adventure towards the Balinese culture.