What is it?? Round VI – Official Results

This week’s congratulations goes out to Bob! It’s a sand-crab hole. Unfortunately, the judges have reason to believe that more than one “Bob” may be following this blog and thus they have requested a last name or other identifying information to ensure tallies are properly recorded.

We’d also like to recognize Dani for the research she posted related to these sand-crabs. We were positively fascinated by the patterns these little animals create. Our first half-hour on the beach was spent hunched over the sand inspecting these and trying to figure out what exactly they were. We knew that if we posted to the blog someone would help out with that task.

For further proof, here is a shot of one of the many resident sand-crabs.

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Travel Status Update:
We are in Bangkok right now, delighting in the frenetic energy, hot/dirty air, and ample street food. We are getting up at 5:30a.m. tomorrow to watch the election returns roll in from a restaurant where we hear other Americans are gathering. Our votes are in. Our hopes are high. Expect a more detailed Bangkok post soon.

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Bali and the art of motorbike loading

See our gallery of photos tagged with “bali”.

As I mentioned in our post from Ubud, we were struck by the swarms of motorbikes in Bali, as well as the way said bikes were used to carry people, animals, and random objects in need of transport. On the people front, it was incredibly common to see a motorbike carrying four people at once. The set-up was this: one child in the front typically standing in front of the handlebars, next was the parent who was driving, third was the second child, and finally the second parent at the end of the seat. Most striking about this arrangement was that almost invariably the driver would wear a helmet, but all others (including the kids) would not.

We never snapped a foursome, but here is a typical threesome:

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It was also quite common to see women riding side-saddle:

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Aside from people, we saw all sorts of objects being carried around town by motorbike. Among those we saw but were not quick enough to capture on camera were the following: crates of live chickens, a pile of used tires, a full-height ladder, and at least seven empty water jugs on one bike. Here are a few things we did capture:

Functioning restaurant:

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Substantial greenery (my personal favorite):

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Surfboards — many bikes had a special contraption for carting these around:

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And the petrol? Why drive all the way to the gas station when it’s sold in used alcohol bottles all around town.

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Absolut Petrol

And finally, here is a brief video that captures what it’s actually like to drive on the roads of Bali. This was shot during our day tour from Ubud. The greenery that you see on the dashboard is an offering that was given to our driver at what was basically a roadblock for blessings near the Besakih temple complex. It did its job, as we returned home safe and sound.

http://www.flickr.com/apps/video/stewart.swf?v=61761

Kuta Beach

See our gallery of photos tagged with “kuta”.

No visit to Bali would be complete without a few days on the beach, and Kuta is the most popular place on the island for this. The area consists of three sections which more or less blend together along about three miles of built-up beach front: Kuta, Legain, and Seminyak. The entire area is crowded with a mind-boggling number of guesthouses, shops, restaurants, nightclubs, motorcycles, taxi cabs, and people trying to sell you things. Accommodation ranges from $6/night guesthouses to $400/night exclusive resorts. We chose something in the middle (closer to the low end).

Our days in Kuta were all about relaxing on the beach and watching the waves crash in front of us. It’s official: we’re 100% relaxed now. No stress, no worries. It feels kind of strange to be so relaxed when so much is going on at home, but we’re enjoying it for now and will deal with the real world again soon.

Here are a few pictures we took during our peaceful break:

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Our hotel

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Surfers

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Typical side street

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Sunset