Saturday, December 21, 2013

Kuta, Bali and homemade liquor

They keep fuel in old vodka bottles.
It took us a hot minute to figure out what's with the racks of vodka at all the repair shops!
December 21st, 2013

I just had arak (liquor) with a group of local guys around the corner from our guesthouse. They were so sweet. We talked openly about their customs, the differences between the different regions of Indonesia, and of their want to go to America. They were fun, and funny. The youngest guy, 15, came up to us while we were playing cards on our porch and invited us over. We would have liked to go back out and see night clubs, but we decided to go the next day.

They make the liquor right there on their stove. It tasted like a mixture of white wine, vodka, and spice tea - not exactly good. But it wasn't horrible. It had a foggy, milky look to it. I was nervous to drink from their bottle. I let Angelo drink some...I pretended to drink (but didn't), let it go around the circle a couple times. Once I knew he was fine and we were all getting to know each other, I had some too. They also had local peanuts. They look similar to our peanuts, but larger. When you crack the shell, though, there's 3-4 peanuts in each shell and they don't split in half. They are also rounder, like a pine nut. Tastes the same though.

It was so interesting to learn the difference between Balinese and Javanese people from the locals. They see it so separate - like a different country entirely. The boys had lots of tattoos and wore regular modern clothes. Most of the people in Java dressed more conservatively, more Muslim. Hinduism is practiced by only 3% of the total population, but 92% is in Bali. As you walk through Kuta, you see small Hindu offerings on every porch, step, walkway. They are beautiful. It's just this little patch of color and life stuck randomly throughout their world. They place rice, flowers, grass, noodles in a perfectly woven grass basket or bouquet. It's truly an art they create every few hours. If it rains, they make a new one. So there's old offerings soggy in the streets and fresh ones near the house or business. Sometimes they have elaborate stands build to hold the offerings. It resembles a bird house, but usually with only a small or no roof - just the stand. They are carved from wood with relief sculpture and intricate designs.

These offerings are my favorite thing about Bali.