Magical Blue Flames of Kawah Ijen

A Beautiful and Dangerous Landscape

Sitting on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia is dominated by volcanos. These volcanos are a defining feature of the country. As we traveled around Indonesia, volcanos were not hard to spot. On the island of Java, there was one volcano in particular that stood out to us for its beauty and danger, Kawah Ijen. One of the more extraordinary sights in Java. The crater of Kawah Ijen is home to three amazing things we wanted to see up close: blue flames, sulfur mining, and a beautiful turquoise volcanic crater lake. It is a dangerous place to visit but we decided the adventure was worth the risk. A hike up the mountain and deep down into the crater is the highlight of any visit.

Kawah Ijen danger crater
Kawah Ijen during sunrise

Kawah Ijen danger crater
A warning sign of the dangerous Ijen caldera

Getting to the Crater

In order to see blue flames, we had to get an early 1 am start for the hike up to the crater. Our guesthouse helped us book a car to take us to Ijen since we were not part of a tour group. Arriving at the trailhead, we paid our entrance fee (15,000 IDR) and began our hike up the mountain under the stars. The 4 km trek starts off at a steep climb for about the first 1 km but then seemed to level off after that. Needing to take several breaks, we were glad got an early start. Getting to the flames required us to climb for about two hours to reach the rim of the crater. Followed by a 45-minute hike down to the bank of the crater lake.

Once we got to the top of the crater and could see the blue flames in the distance. Our excitement rose and we eagerly made our way down into the crater. Scrambling on boulders as we made our way down we came across numerous sulfur miners returning from the bottom of the crater carrying baskets of their sulfur loot. Some of these sulfur miners stopped to show us their beautifully carved sulfur keepsakes which can be used as soap or for decor.

Kawah Ijen warning crater
We decided to ignore the sign.

Kawah Ijen trail crater
The descent down into the crater scrambling through boulders in near darkness

Electric Blue Flames of Sulfuric Gas

What drew us to Ijen was the electric-blue fire that can be seen in the crater at night. The glow is not really from a fire but from the combustion of sulfuric gas. Emerging from cracks at both high pressure and at temperatures up to 1,112°F (600°C). Sulfuric gasses ignite on contact with air resulting in flames that can be as high as 16 feet. Even though the flames burn day and night, they are only visible during darkness.

What makes seeing these flames up close so dangerous is the toxic gas, including sulfur dioxide that rises from vents in the crater. It is advisable to wear a gas mask if you are going to see the flames up close. We didn’t bring any and it was not the smartest thing we did. We were lucky that the gas was blowing away from us most of the time. But when the wind changed direction and the gas surrounded us, it was almost impossible to breathe even with a scarf as a makeshift mask.

If you are going to go down in the crater to get up close to the blue flames:

  • Wear a respirator or protective face mask. The more effective it filters the air the better off you will be. When we were hiking down into the crater there were a couple of visitors who were affected by the sulfur dioxide gas. We were lucky but I wouldn’t take the chance again.
  • Bring some tiger balm, balm or nasal inhaler with menthol notes to sniff when you feel uncomfortable.
  • You will be scrambling over rocks so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and you may even consider gloves to help.
  • Use a headlamp to keep your hands free.

Kawah Ijen blue flames
A river of blue flames in the crater of Kawah Ijen

Kawah Ijen flames
Blue flames soaring high in the crater of Kawah Ijen

Kawah Ijen flames
Blue flames in the crater of Kawah Ijen

Kawah Ijen blue flames and sulfur
Sulfur dioxide gas and blue flames from a distance

Sulfur Mining

One of more interesting activities taking place in the crater of Kawah Ijen is sulfur mining. For over 40 years sulfur has been mined from the crater of Kawah Ijen in conditions that can be described as hellish. Sulfur deposits form as the sulfuric gasses cool. These cooling gasses condense into liquid sulfur that eventually solidifies. Near the edge of the lake, ceramic pipes have been installed on an active vent that helps to speed up the formation of the sulfur. These pipes route the gasses down the vent’s sloping mound where the liquid sulfur drips from the pipes to form hard sulfur mats after solidifying. Sulfur is a versatile element which is most often turned into sulfuric acid. This is used in a variety of products such as fertilizers, pesticides, beauty products, detergents and cleaners, preservatives, gunpowder, steel, and rubber.

Kawah Ijen sulfur tubes
Liquid Sulfur Drips Out of the Tubes

Kawah Ijen sulfur
Sulfur in the crater of Ijen volcano. Two baskets of mined sulfur are visible (very small) in the lower left.

Hard Work

Miners break up the sulfur mats and haul the chunks of sulfur out of the crater in baskets they carry on their shoulders. Carrying loads of 60 to 80 kilos once a day or twice a day they earn 900-1000 Indonesian Rupiah per kilo for about $5 a basket or $10 a day. In order to get paid, miners have to haul their loads to the nearby Paltuding Valley. This means they not only do they have to haul their loads up and out of the crater but then they carry them 3 km down the mountain road.

While hiking down into the crater we met a very friendly miner (pictured below) who sold us a beautifully carved sulfur flower. We were happy to have purchased such a unique item from him after talking to him about the difficult job he had. As we were making our way up towards the crater rim he was heading down on his third round-trip journey. He intended on going back a few more times. It is extremely hard work. Miners don’t always have the right protective equipment and are underpaid for their hard labor. Selling tourists souvenirs helps to supplement their small wages.

Kawah Ijen sulfur basket
A basket of sulfur is waiting to be hauled out of Ijen crater and then down the mountain

Kawah Ijen sulfur basket
The sulfur miner we met on the trail several times

Kawah Ijen sulfur souvenier
Carved sulfur we bought from the miner. We ended up having to leave behind in another country because it broke.

Kawah Ijen: World’s Largest Hydrochloric Lake

Kawah Ijen Crater Lake is the world’s largest body of water filled with hydrochloric acid. This acid gives the 1 km wide lake a turquoise color and results in a pH of almost 0. Sitting at an elevation of 2148 meters above sea level it is a beautiful site to see. Hydrogen chloride gas emitted from the volcano reacts with the water of the lake to form highly condensed hydrochloric acid.

Kawah Ijen
Gasses rise above the green hydrochloric lake in the caldera of Kawah Ijen

Witnessing an Erupting Volcano

One volcano, Mount Raung, located directly across from Kawah Ijen spewed volcanic ash cloud that shut down airports and left thousands stranded from delayed flights out of Bali. From the top of the crater rim, we got a clear view of nature at work.

Kawah Ijen
Kawah Ijen’s erupting neighbor, Gunung Ruang. The same volcano that spewed ash for a week and delaying flights from Bali leaving almost 200,000 people stranded.

Kawah Ijen
Up above the clouds on Kawah Ijen

Where to Stay

We stayed at the Arabika Homestay which is on a coffee plantation. They were able to book us a car and driver to take us to Kawah Ijen. If you want to stay close to Kawah Ijen there are not many options. Another nearby option is the Catimore Guesthouse which also on a coffee plantation.

Kawah Ijen arabica guesthouse
Arabika Guesthouse

Kawah Ijen arabica guesthouse
Kawah Ijen viewed from Arabika Guesthouse

How to Get to Kawah Ijen

With the right guide, it can be easy to go independent of a tour group. We followed this detailed blog post to guide us. Coming from the island of Flores we flew to Bali and traveled overland on a bemo bus from Denpasar to Gilimanuk, then took a ferry to Java. Once we arrived at Banyuwagi on Java, we hired a bemo bus to take us up the guesthouse. We stopped at Catimore guesthouse first but it was booked up so we then went over to Arabika. Our plan was to continue on to Bondowoso and then Cemoro Lawang to see Mt. Bromo. But traveling on the largest holiday celebrated throughout Indonesia posed a challenge and altered our plans slightly.

Be Aware of Holidays

What we didn’t realize was that traveling during the Eid al-Fitr holiday would change our plans. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and many Indonesians travel back to their hometowns. Due to Eid al-Fitr, we were informed by our guesthouse that the normal public transit to Bondowoso would not be running for a couple of days. We hooked up with three French travelers who also needed a ride. Together we managed to find a ride back to Banyuwangi thanks to the guesthouse manager. Once our driver arrived, we crammed into his SUV with one person sitting in the trunk surrounded by all of our backpacks. It was quite an adventure but one of the most memorable parts of our journey. From Banyuwangi we took a train to Surabaya so we could get to our next destination, Mt. Bromo.

If you are traveling during Eid al-Fitr it is wise to book tickets ahead of time. Train and air transportation tend to sell out. We were able to get tickets to Surabaya easily. Our French friend who was traveling to Mt Bromo via Jember had to change his plans and go to Surabaya with us. He would have had to wait two weeks if he wanted to go to Jember.

Beleraghi Village – An Overnight Stay, Off The Beaten Path on Flores

Beleraghi – Off the Beaten Path

When we were doing research for the island of Flores, we knew we wanted to stay in and visit traditional villages. Beleraghi Village was on our way to Bajawa and made for a good place to stop and stay overnight after traveling from Ruteng. With Flores being a very mountainous island, getting from one town to next usually took all day. The roads were narrow, curvy, and the locals call it the “snake.” Finding Beleraghi is not easy, as it is not on the tourist route and you would have to be either traveling by motorbike or hire a private driver to reach it since it is on the other side of the mountains from Bajawa. After spending the day traveling from Ruteng, our driver turned off of the Trans-Flores highway when we neared the town of Aimere. He could only take us to a certain point, after which we would have to hike the rest of the way to the village. Once our guide arrived, we headed up the trail towards the village. Having hiked up the very steep and strenuous 9 km trail to Wae Rebo Village a couple of days before, this 3 km trail seemed much easier by comparison. The beautiful landscape surrounding us made it even easier by constantly keeping us distracted.

view of the ocean beleraghi
A view of the ocean and horse grazing the field on the way to Beleraghi Village.

village elder beleraghi
The village elder heads to Beleraghi Village.

Chewing bettlenut beleraghi
A woman rests while chewing betelnut on the way to Beleraghi Village.

Traditional Ngada village

Once we finished hiking the trail, we were greeted with a warm welcome as we entered the village. Having ridden in the car all day, we were a little tired, but as the hidden village came into view, our weariness went away and we felt like we had discovered a hidden treasure on the island. The village consists of sixteen beautiful traditional houses, located in a forest clearing which gave the village a feeling of being in harmony with its surroundings. Sitting in parallel rows, the houses are renovated on a regular basis so the villagers can ensure that their culture values are well maintained. Five of the sixteen houses are sao pu’u, first or original houses, indicated by a miniature house on the roof. Another five distinct houses are sao lobo, last houses. These have a miniature human figure on the roof. There are five clans that live in the village at the present time. Each clan has its own sao pu’u or sao lobo.

The traditional houses of Beleraghi Village.

Ngada people refer to their village as Nua in the local language. A Nua consists of traditional houses which are owned by different clans. Along with the houses, each clan also owns a pair of ancestral shrines ngadhu and bhaga which are located in the center of the Nua. Arrangements of megaliths are located to the shrines. Ngada people do not consider the house as just a place of residence. The houses are differentiated between ordinary buildings and ceremonial houses. A ceremonial “great” house, or sa’o meze, is linked with one clan and named along with the clan’s place of origin. This is where a clan gathers for ceremonies and ritual occasions.

One of the first or original houses called a sao pu’u as indicated by a miniature house on the roof.

A sao lobo or last house symbolized by a man on top of the roof.

Detail shot of a sao lobo symbol.

The sa’o meze is divided into three parts. The outer veranda is a public place where daily activities are done, such as weaving. The inner veranda is a private space and where guests sleep. That was where we would be sleeping. The spiritual center and most sacred of a ceremonial house of the is the hearth which is separated from the inner veranda by a small door and stairs. Not only is the hearth considered to be the resting place for the ancestors, it is also where a woman gives birth, ritual performances are conducted, and sacred objects are stored. These objects include swords, digging sticks, woven cloth, and palm wine.

woman waling in beleraghi
A woman walks in front of ngadhu and bhaga shrines in Beleraghi village.

shrines in beleraghi
ngadhu and bhaga shrines

Traditional Welcome Ceremony

When we arrived in Beleraghi near dusk and were told we would be guests later that night at a bamboo flute concert put on by the villagers. But first, we needed to have a traditional welcoming ceremony, ti’i ka ebu nusi for guests and eat dinner. To the Ngada people, foreigners are considered guests and not tourists. Ti’i ka ebu nusi, ‘give food to the ancestors’, is about introducing guests to the ancestors, to ask for their blessings so no obsticles would come in our way. We were not the only guests at the village, a Dutch family was also staying in the village for the night. Our welcome ceremony took place in sao one, the most sacred inside part of a Ngada house.

Gathering around the hearth in the sao one, our ceremony began with the sacrificing of a chicken. I have never ever seen a chicken killed before, so it was a very interesting experience. It began with a chanting ceremony and the chicken’s beak was sliced open allowing blood to drip onto a pan. We each had to dip a finger in the blood and then smear it on our palms. Chicken blood was then put on all four corners of the room as a blessing to the four spirits. After the chicken had been slightly roasted above an open fire, it was plucked and later given to the village elder, or mosalaki, who split open the chicken to look at its intestines. He read the condition of the intestines, seeing if there had been any incidents on the way to the village and making a prediction about the continuation of our journey. I am not sure if he found what he was looking for since he did spend quite some time examining it. I ended up in the hospital a couple of days later, needing to pass a kidney stone. After examining the intestines, the chicken then became part of a traditional dinner.  After dinner, we would go see a concert.

sacrificed chicken
The chicken that was sacrificed for us.

sacrificed chicken intestine
Examining the chicken intestine.

Bamboo Flute Concert

We were lucky that night, coming to the village on a night they would perform a suling concert using traditional bamboo flutes. Sitting there listening to them play under the stars was a special treat. After the concert, we each explained a little about ourselves, giving them an idea of what our lives and culture is like. They were all surprised by the fact that I lived on a ship that jets took off and landed on, never hearing of or seeing an aircraft carrier before. After the concert, we went to sleep the same way they have slept, on wooden floors with a thin mat, feeling very lucky to be staying in the village.

Flute concert
Villagers playing on bombadoms, trombone-sounding bamboo instruments.

Flute concert
Playing bamboo flute instruments hand-made by villagers.

Flute concert
A woman from Belaraghi village playing the bamboo flute.

Exploring Beleraghi Village

Waking up before dawn, we set out to explore the village before breakfast. It was very quiet in the morning, even after breakfast. Unlike Wae Rebo, there were not a lot of people who lived in the village. Most of the villagers lived near the beginning of the trail and sent their children to school in the nearby town. With very little activity going on, we spent time dressing up in traditional outfits and just took in the surroundings.

Village family
Mom and her son and daughter hanging out in front of their house.

Dogs playing
Puppies playing in front of a traditional house with symbolic wood carvings.

Dress up
Dressing up in the traditional clothes of Beleraghi village with our guide Rainy.

Villager cleaning cassava leaves, a locally grown vegetable for dinner in front of her house.

Carvings in Beleraghi Village

Having many meanings, carvings are an important element of Ngada buildings in Beleraghi. They can be found on the outside and inside of houses. The horse, or jara, which is featured prominatly, symbolizes transportation, trading, and hunting. The chicken, or manu jawa, is a symbol for the continuation of life and is the smallest animal offering. During construction of houses, offerings are required at every step. The snake, or sawa ba’a, is the protector of the house and ancestral spirits, which are thought to reside in the house. These carvings can be easily found on the bhaga style houses called loka. One belonging to each clan.

Carving detail
Carving detail on a bhaga, the entrance to a temple.

Getting to Beleraghi Village

The easiest way to get to Beleraghi village is by hiking the 3km trail that starts at Paukate village. This trail goes through wide-open gasslands with great views of the Aimere coast. From Bajawa, take the Trans-Flores highway towards Aimere. At about 2.5km, take a right turn at the Ende-Aimere junction. After around 35km, at the Keligejo junction, drive to Pauleni village to register in the guestbook and continue on to Paukate.

Seminyak – Visiting Temples and Feeling like a kid again

Surf, Sun, and Temple Fun

Sunset at Uluwatu
Sunset at Uluwatu Temple

Having spent some time exploring Ubud we decided to head down to Kerobokan and then Seminyak to get a taste of the side of Bali while we waited for our visa extension. We would need to go to the immigration office near the airport to get our photo taken and fingerprints scanned. With May needing some rest to recover from her strep throat, we booked a room at Pandawa All Suites Hotel in Kerobokan. It was little more secluded than we imagined, but it gave us some peace and quiet. Maybe it was little too much peace and quiet; we couldn’t wait to get to the beach after a week of isolation in Kerobokan. Having gotten all of the relaxing we needed, and with her throat feeling better we decided it was time to head for the beach and have some fun. So we got a hotel room down the street from Double-Six beach in Seminyak. Time to enjoy some sun and fun, playing in the surf, and check out a couple of temples.

Seminyak and Double-Six Beach

This ended up being our favorite place in Bali, not as crowded and without as many touts as Kuta Beach, so we could just relax and play in the surf. It was so much fun to jump in the ocean, dive into the waves and feel like a kid again, not having a care in the world. After playing in the ocean, we lounged in the cabana area provided by our hotel, Hotel Horison, eating some delicious food and soaking the sun. At night, the restaurants at the beach set out beanbag chairs and set up stages for live music, which we really enjoyed. Sitting down, enjoying a cold beer while listening to music, we reflected on how lucky we were to be there, enjoying life. We were just beginning our second month on the road and it still didn’t seem real. Looking at the stars, absorbing the vibrations of the music, and feeling the energy of the ocean truly made Double-Six beach a special place for us. Watching people light lanterns and letting them drift up to the sky was an enjoyable experience. As they floated farther away, becoming a little light moving across the night sky, and finally resembling star as the last flicker of light faded away was a great sight to take in. Making the beach all the more fun. Having taken in the beach, we decided it was time to go temple visiting.

Tanah Lot

Stars start to shine after sunset at Tanah Lot Temple
Stars start to shine after sunset at Tanah Lot Temple

Tanah Lot temple, built on a rock just offshore, is an important directional temple on Bali and one of seven sea temples on Bali. In Balinese, the name Tanah Lot means “Land (in the) Sea.” The temple is built to honor Dewa Baruna, a sea god in the Hindu religion. The ocean tide continuously shapes the rock and is only accessible during low tide. Due to erosion, the temple underwent a restoration in the 1990’s with one-third on the “rock” being very  cleverly disguised artificial rock. Sunset is when it is at it’s most beautiful. We hopped in a cab, negotiating with him to take us there and back; we headed to Tanah Lot to see the sunset. Once you enter the temple grounds you have to walk through a maze of souvenir stalls before you actually get to the temple. It was a little more touristy than I prefer, the stalls selling the standard tourist items found in the markets around Bali. After walking through the stalls, we made our way down towards the temple.

It was low tide so we were able to wander down to the beach and over to the rock that the temple sat on. Unable to enter the temple grounds since it wasn’t open yet, so we walked around and scouted for a good location to view the sunset. At first we headed back up to the cliff that overlooked the temple but thought that the beach would give us a better vantage point, so we made our way back down to the beach. Finally finding a spot, setting up my tripod, we waited for the sunset to begin setting when we noticed people going up to the temple. A rush of disappointment set in, we had missed our chance to explore the temple, but we had found a good place to view what we hoped would be a beautiful sunset. We were not disappointed.

Stars start to shine after sunset at Tanah Lot Temple
Getting ready for sunset pictures

Standing in the surf for the sunset was very fun. The tide slowly began to rise, the waves hitting my legs at a steadily rising rate as the sun steadily descended towards the horizon, the sky ablaze with an orange glow. As the ocean got higher I had to keep moving closer to shore until I found safe ground, darkness was beginning to set in, the sky became brilliant blue and purple, bringing joy to our eyes. At the end of the shoot, walking along the shore with our headlamps guiding us, we both felt happy to have seen such a pretty sunset.

Asian Palm Civet
Tanah Lot Temple Sunset

Tanah Lot is located about a 40-minute drive from Seminyak. There is not much transportation there so most visitors are part of a tour or hire a taxi or motorbike.  Make sure you have some return transportation arranged or may get stuck there or pay a high price to get back to your lodging.

Uluwatu Temple

Uluwatu Temple Sitting on the Cliff Edge
Uluwatu Temple Sitting on the Cliff Edge

After going North for sunset at Tanah Lot, we decided to head South to other main Hindu temple on Bali, Uluwatu. Uluwatu, located 70 meters above the sea on a cliff is another great place to sit and enjoy the sunset. It, along with Tanah Lot, is one of the six temples believed to be spiritual pillars of Bali and an important directional temple. These temples are believed to protect against evil. Not only can you get spectacular views of the ocean from the cliff it sits on, it also hosts a nightly Kecak dance. Not being satisfied with just seeing the sunset, we decided to take in the Kecak fire dance. Since its location is on the Bukit peninsula, the most Southern part of Bali, we hired a driver to take us there and back.

SBeautiful Sunset at Uluwatu Temple
Beautiful Sunset at Uluwatu Temple

Sitting on the edge of a cliff, it gives way to beautiful views of the ocean and the waves crashing below. Pura Luhur Uluwatu in Balinese means “something of divine origin (at the) lands end rock.” We walked along the cliff edge trail to different vantage points, taking the beauty of the area and stopping to look at a Chinese couple getting their wedding pictures taken. Our driver accompanied us, making sure we didn’t have any trouble with monkeys that live at the temple. They are known for taking things such as sunglasses from tourists. As the sun began to descend towards the horizon, we made our way towards the stands that surround the stage where we would watch the Kecak fire dance. We picked our seats and had enough time before the dance started to enjoy the beautiful sunset.

Wedding Couple
Wedding Couple

Uluwatu Temple Sitting on the Cliff Edge
Uluwatu Temple Sitting on the Cliff Edge

Ubud, Bali – Penis Bottle Openers, Monkeys, and Learning to Cook Indonesian Foood

Ubud – Our Starting Point

Ubud market
Flower vendor at the Ubud market

Having learned during our research that the Kuta area was very touristy, we made our first destination Ubud which is labeled the spiritual center of Bali. With the cost of travel in Australia expensive, we ended up traveling quickly through the country. Wanting to do things a little slower than in Australia, we decided we would spend a week there so we wouldn’t have to rush through the sites. The laid back appeal of Ubud sounded enticing. Five location changes in less than a month left us feeling a little worn out. When we arrived on Bali we decided to take it easy in Ubud.

Whether you have a week or a month, we recommend you make the effort to visit Ubud. There are many things to do in and around Ubud. No matter whether you are doing independent exploration or with a tour you will find something that suits your interest. Ubud makes a great base for many activities. Because of its location, there seemed to be endless options for things to do. Activities include everything from hiking a volcano to riding bikes through the rice fields. For those who are not seeking adventure but a holistic experience, you can take advantage of the many spas, masseuses, and yoga facilities. Some of the activities we did while staying Ubud were seeing traditional dances, learning to cook, and taking a leisurely walk through the monkey forest. Most hotels will help arrange activities or you can join a tour. There are several tour organizers in town.

Getting to Ubud

There are several options for getting to Ubud. To get to Ubud, you can take the Kura-Kura Bus, hire a driver, or rent a motorbike and drive yourself. Since we were going to Ubud directly from the airport we hired a driver. There are several options but check all their prices and bargain. Bali is notorious for traffic, especially during commute hours, which is when we arrived, so we had to put our excitement of exploring Ubud on hold. Following a three-hour drive, even with our skilled driver Wayan weaving in and out of traffic, we arrived at Y Resort and were greeted with a welcome drink by the friendly staff. It was a pleasant drive, first going through the city and then the countryside so we were able to see a little bit of everything on the way.

Learning a New Culture

Ubud market
Kecak Fire Dance

We would learn during our time on the island that the people of Bali are very spiritual. Bali is almost entirely Balinese Hindu and we felt this most in Ubud. It seemed that everything was celebrated on Bali. The receptionist of our hotel would be celebrating the full moon later in the evening of our check-in. Everyday offerings are given to the gods, placed in front of nearly every business, several were placed around the hotel grounds. If you go to the market, the first sale is considered lucky so you may be able to get a better bargain.

The next day we decided to get a massage so we could begin to work out the stress we had built up over the years of our lives and begin healing our body and soul. After getting traditional Balinese massages, (where they massage your chests or breasts), we then caught the free shuttle from the hotel to downtown. We were dropped off in front of the old royal palace and when we tried to cross the street we were a little shocked by all the motorbikes that passed in front us. What got our attention was how much many people or goods were packed on the bikes. It is not uncommon to see four or five people packed on a motorbike. It seemed there was could be no limit to the volume of people or goods that could fit on a motorbike. I would have never thought an entire family could fit on a bike – mom, dad, and as many as three kids. But we would see it every day to our amazement. More amazing was the age of some of the drivers. Due to lack of public transit we would see elementary school age kids driving them around which was a little shocking since we would never see that back home. By the end of the two months, this would just seem normal.

penis bottle openers
Penis bottle openers are sold in Ubud, and everywhere on Bali

The main drop-off and pick-up point in the town center is in front of the old Royal Palace. If you are staying in a hotel outside the city, this will become a familiar with this location. Most things are within walking distance from here or you can hire one of the many taxi drivers to take you to another location. Wanting to visit the visitor center located across from the old Royal Palace in central Ubud, we crossed the street as soon we saw a break in traffic. With all the motorbikes whizzing by, it was a little intimidating to just step out into the street and not worry about being hit. We would get used to this way of crossing the street very quickly.

After the visitor center, we went to explore the market located next to it. Walking through the market and just wandering around was a fun experience, how could it not be, when there were penis bottle openers everywhere. Who doesn’t want to own a penis bottle opener? Besides the penis bottle opener, the market is bursting with art, from woodcarvings to paintings. It was fun to window shop, I felt like buying everything. It seemed like we were walking through an open air art gallery, making the temptation to buy a painting hard to resist, but I just couldn’t see lugging one around the world with us. Well, if we ever do stop and settle in the region, we know where to pick up some art at. Having fully enjoyed the market, we headed back to the hotel so we could soak in the fact we were no longer in the comforts of the developed world and things here would be a lot different than what we were used to. For me, this would be the beginning of letting go of the customs and rituals that defined our daily routine of life in the U.S. and starting the process of growing as individuals and citizens of the world.

Sacred Monkey Forest

Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest
Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest

Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest
Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest

After resting for a couple of days, I headed to the Sacred Monkey Forest while May was getting acupuncture done at Taksu Spa. This was a fun visit; wandering the trails and just observing the monkeys interact with each other. Having learned that the monkeys can become aggressive if you have food, so I passed on buying the bananas that the vendors were selling. I knew that I made a good decision when I saw a girl run by me screaming and throwing the bananas she bought because a monkey was trying to take them; I had to laugh because I thought it was a little funny to watch. It was very peaceful just stand but and watching as the baby monkeys would play with each other, scampering up a tree and jumping from branch to branch while playfully chasing each other. While wandering on one of the trails, I stopped to watch a monkey play and as I stood there I felt the weight of a monkey jump on my back. This made me a little nervous since I didn’t know what it was doing and I didn’t want to make it mad. It was nice that I was able to make a new friend in the forest, but it got bored with me, jumped off and I was free to continue wandering the forest, a little sad my friend had left though. It was a good place to visit for a couple of hours.

Paon Cooking Class

Cooking class in Ubud
All the yummy Balinese food we learned to cook and eat!

Before we started the trip we decided we would take cooking classes in the different places we visited, so when we return home, we can share what we learned while traveling. I know I could definitely use the help learning to cook as well. So we chose to take some cooking lessons at Paon Cooking Class in Ubud. On the morning of the class, we headed to the market; located near central Ubud, where the locals would typically go and learned about the different ingredients we would need for the dishes we would be learning to make. Popular ingredients sold here specific to the Ubud region are candlenuts (similar to macadamia nuts, but a bit drier), cinnamon sticks (so long), vanilla beans, and various spices. The market was an interesting place to tour with all the different fruits, vegetables, and spices that was offered along with the activity of people going about their business.

Wayan explaining rice cultivation in Ubud
Wayan explaining rice cultivation in Ubud

After the market, we were taken to rice fields located on the edge of Ubud where we met up with another Wayan. He explained how each household was provided land by the government so that every member of the family can plant and harvest rice three times a year. Enough to feed the members of the household and maybe a little bit more to sell. Some households, like the one across from where Wayan lived, would have as many as 18 people living in it. In his case, there were only 2. Wayan continued to explain that there are three types of rice that are grown in Bali – white, brown, and red. We then headed to his house where he explained how a traditional family house was set up. Each and every house in Bali would have their own temple and the placement of the rooms is laid out the same. Based on the direction of the entryway placement. He later introduced to us to his “his ex-girlfriend” or now wife Puspa, who would lead the cooking lessons.

Ubud cooking class
Left: Joshua learning to cook, Right: Our instructor Puspa

Tempe Me Goreng from ubud cooking class
Tempe Me Goreng

We learned how to make Sate Siap, Tempe Me Goreng, Kacang Me Santok, Kuah Wong, Base Gede, Be Siap Mesanten, Jukut Urab, Peoesan Be Pasih, and Kolak Biu. It was fun to get some quality lessons on how to cook. Even though we learned to cook, did not do any cooking after that since we didn’t have a kitchen, and the food was inexpensive at restaurants. There are so many good options for eating that there was no need to prepare our own food.

Kecak and Barong Dances

Barong Dance Ubud
Barong Dance

At the visitor center, we got a schedule of all the traditional and cultural dances that are performed in Ubud. The schedule lists the time and location of all the dances. You can either buy tickets for the dances at the visitor center, from a reseller on the street, or at the venue itself. Legong dance and Kecak Fire dance are the most popular dances performed in Ubud. We originally chose just to see the Kecak Fire dance but ended up also watching the Barong dance during a day trip tour. The plots for both of these dances centered on two different battles of good vs evil. We enjoyed the Kecak Fire dance, it was a little more unique than the Barong dance, but both were entertaining. Taking in the traditional dances in Ubud happened to be one of our favorite activities on Bali

Bali – Our First Taste of Southeast Asia

Arriving in Bali – Our First Taste of Southeast Asia

After spending nearly a month in Australia, we left Perth and headed to Bali to begin a two-month trip through Indonesia. Though Australia was on the other side of the Pacific Ocean from California, it sometimes felt like we had never left the U.S. since everyone spoke English and the cities had a similar feel to San Francisco. The only difference was that they spoke with a funny accent. As we disembarked from the airplane, we felt like our trip had just begun. We didn’t quite know what to expect of Bali. Beaches and “Eat, Pray, Love” were all that we knew about the island, but we had been told by several people we knew before we left that it was their favorite place so we were very excited to finally arrive. As we exited the plane and stepped on the tarmac, feeling the warm tropical air hit us, we both smiled knowing that we had finally reached Southeast Asia and a new adventure awaited us.


Though Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim country, the 3.8 million population of Bali practices Balinese Hindu. When we arrived, we had to walk through a temple at the airport and could immediately tell Bali had a special spirituality to it. We arrived during the full moon. The power of the moon were quite powerful and special as it created some of the most lucid dreams I have ever experienced in my life.

It is simple to remember the names of people we met since the males are named after their birth order. We met a lot of Wayan (first born, pronounced why-anh) and Made (second, pronounced mah-day), but Nyoman (third, pronounced just as it’s read) and Ketut (fourth, pronounced keh-tut) were a bit more scarce. The fifth child’s name would start over at Wayan. But not everyone goes by their birth-order name because it would be confusing because you would start to be unsure of which Wayan would be referred to. Usually nicknames are given to them from friends or selected themselves. Rama was a special case. He was our extremely informative and chatty tour guide we met at the Kecak Dance at the Desa Pakraman Taman Kaja community near central Ubud.

Rama our Tour Guide
Us with Rama our driver, tour guide, and friend with his wife

Arriving during the high travel season, the island seemed to be overrun with tourists as 40% of Indonesia’s foreign tourists go to Bali. At times we just wanted to lay low and have some peace, so we spent our time in a couple different areas of Bali that offered us a little of everything. Here you can hike volcanoes, drink the second most expensive coffee in the world (Kopi Luwak or coffee made from cat poop), see traditional Balinese dances, visit some of Bali’s most spiritual temples, and enjoy amazing sunsets.

Ubud – Bali’s Spiritual Capital

Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest
Titra Empul Water Temple

Ubud is located in the mountains of Bali, making it a little cooler than Kuta or Seminyak. It is a good location for starting many adventures on the island or experiencing the traditional side of Bali. Many of the traditional dances on Bali are performed in or around Ubud. During our stay, we saw the Kecak Dance and Barong dance. Needing a little pampering we took full advantage of the spas to work out the stress we had built up in our bodies. As you wander around you may stumble across various celebrations, there seemed to be a reason to celebrate everything. While driving around, we were able to see a couple of wedding processions. Giving offerings to the Gods is very important so noticed them in front of every store, and placed all over the hotel we stayed at, Y Resort. Our first stop was the tourist information center for the latest schedule of dances. Across from the center is the market where you can wander for souvenirs and art.

Since we didn’t have a motorbike, we decided to hire a driver for a tour of the sites near Ubud – watch a Barong dance, view Mount Batur and lake while feasting on a lunch buffet, woodcarving center, Tirta Empul water temple, and rice terraces. Learning to cook Indonesian cuisine at the Paon Cooking Class was one of our favorite activities. From walking in Sacred Monkey Forest to learning to cook, we learned there are plenty of things to do in Ubud.

Kerokoban – Peace and Quiet

For some peace and quiet, we spent some time in Kerokaban. Staying at Pandawa All Suites Hotel gave us some time to reflect and re-energize. The resort was located a bit far from the main attractions in the area so we just advantage of it and rested. If you are seeking to get away from what can seem like the hectic pace of Bali then this is a good place to stop and rest.

Seminyak – The Beach and Temples Call for Us

Sunset at Uluwatu
Sunset at Uluwatu Temple

Needing to feel the ocean on our bodies we made our way to Double Six Beach, staying at the Hotel Horison. Located just a short walk down the street from the beach, with their own cabana section, we spend a day playing in the surf. When night comes, the restaurants on the beach are great for sitting down, having a drink and enjoying live music. Being out of the mountains and getting the rest we direly needed, it was time to visit temples. Two of the most famous temples on Bali, Tanah Lot and Uluwatu are great places to visit during the sunset. Tanah Lot, known for it sunsets, is one of the most popular temples on Bali. It is built on a rock and can only be visited on foot during low tide. Taking advantage of the low tide, we ventured out in the ocean for sunset photos. The other famous temple on Bali is Uluwatu Temple. Located on a cliff, it provides great views of the ocean and there is a daily performance of the Kecak Dance. It was hard for us to sit still and wait for the Kecak dance to start with such a pretty sunset, but we managed. Watching the sun turns the sky beautiful pastel colors were amazing at both these temples.

Asian Palm Civet
Tanah Lot Temple Sunset

Extending Our Visa

When we arrived we were only granted a 30-day visa on arrival so we went to Highway Bali Consulting Services to start our paperwork for extending our visa another 30 days. The process should only suppose to take 5-7 days, but in our case it took longer. After filling out the paperwork, we handed over our passports and were told we should get a call for when we would need to go to the immigration office for fingerprinting and getting our photo taken, in about 3 days. Since we would need to go to the Kuta area we decide to head down to Seminyak to enjoy the beach and finish our visa extension, then head back to Ubud for some more exploration. Instead of 5-7 days it took us 14 days to actually get our visa extension. The most annoying part of the experience was when we went to the immigration office at our scheduled appointment time the first time, we were told we had to come back in two days because their computers crashed. If you are planning on extending your visa in Bali give yourself extra time.

Fremantle Prison – Breaking in and Going Under – A Journey Through The Tunnels

UNESCO Site #11
Australian Convict Sites (Fremantle Prison)

Fremantle Prison

Fremantle Prison is a UNESCO Heritage Site, part of Australia’s convict prison sites and the only building listed in Western Australia. Being the most intact convict-built prison in Australia, it was in continuous use for almost 140 years until 1991. Opting for a more adventurous tour, we decided on the tunnel tour. Slipping into our coveralls and putting on our hard-hats, we had to descend down a 22-meter ladder where we would eventually go under the walls of the prison and underneath the city Fremantle itself.

Fremantle Prison
May and Josh giving their thumbs up at the end of the tour.

A Brief History

The tunnel system began in 1888 with prisoners completing the system in 1894. Used as a catchment area for water draining through the limestone formation to provide water for the commercial and domestic needs of the city of Fremantle in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1910, the prison and Fremantle were connected to the metropolitan water scheme and the tunnels were no longer needed to supply water for the prison or city of Fremantle. They were still used to provide water for the lawn and gardens of the prison though.

The Tunnel Tour

Fremantle Prison
Descending down the ladder. Photo credit: Fremantle Prison.

This has to be one of the funniest tours we have been on. There was no photography allowed, due to safety precautions, so we can only share the photos Fremantle Prison has. Descending down the ladder was a bit scary at first but we both made it down with ease. It was reassuring that we were connected to the ladder with a safety harness. When we reached the bottom of the ladder, the first thing we were shown were the fossils of shellfish, indicated that we were standing on the bottom of the ocean. Well, what used to be the bottom of the ocean. As we were led down dry sections of tunnel, we noticed what looked like roots hanging down from the top of the tunnel. Indeed, they were from the trees growing outside the walls of the prison. We were now outside the prison, we had escaped, or so we thought. The tunnel system only had entrances and exits inside the prison, but it stretched out from the prison and under the city, there was no escaping the prison from the tunnels. After reaching the end of one of the tunnels we made our way to the few tunnels that had water in them, boarding our replica convict punts. This was the best part of the tour.

Fremantle Prison
Paddling down the tunnels. Photo credit: Fremantle Prison.

Paddling down the knee-deep water of the narrow tunnel was a fun and exciting challenge. Keeping the punt from hitting the walls the hardest part, we both had to continuously put our hands out to brace ourselves and keep the punt from hitting and damaging the walls. The commentary from the other members of the tour had us laughing the whole time, especially when we floated under a beam with cockroaches on it and one lady started to freak out. Our guide told us that there were no officially reported deaths while the convicts constructed the tunnel, but it is hard to believe no one died in the construction of the tunnels. As we paddled our way down the tunnels we were aided by modern lights helping us to guide our way, but when he had the lights turned down to the level of what the convicts would have been working under, we could see very little. We think the reason no one was reported to have died was that officials did not want the general public to know that there were dead people contaminating their source of drinking water. At one point, we stopped the punts and could hear noise coming from above. It was hard to tell what the source was and we all guessed wrong as to the source. We happened to be under the main road in the city and heard cars driving by. Once again we had left the prison but could not escape. After paddling our way through the tunnel system, we had to go up the way we came down. This time, it was much easier going up than going down, concluding our being convicts for a day. A video of the tour by Destination WA.

Prison Art Gallery

Afterward, we toured the prisoner gallery which included art from the various prisons around Western Australia.

Prisoner Art at Fremantle Prison
Prisoner Art at Fremantle Prison

Prisoner Art at Fremantle Prison
Prisoner Art at Fremantle Prison

Prisoner Art at Fremantle Prison
Prisoner Art at Fremantle Prison

Prisoner Art at Fremantle Prison
Prisoner Art at Fremantle Prison

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is known as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, and is also Queensland’s state icon. We went on a snorkel and discovery scuba diving trip with Passions of Paradise, a catamaran that took us to two sites, Paradise Reef and then Michaelmas Cay. We rented an underwater camera from Passions because our GoPro Hero4 Black decided to not work when we tried to power it on for the second time ever.

Passions of Paradise catamaran cruise company. Photos above courtesy of Passions of Paradise.

May snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef
May snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef

Josh in the middle, on his first discovery scuba dive session at the Great Barrier Reef

Fish and coral in the Great Barrier Reef
A blue and white striped angelfish and a striped surgeonfish and coral in the Great Barrier Reef

School of fish swimming around to find coral to eat
School of black fish swimming around to find coral to feast on

Hard coral at the Great Barrier Reef
Hard coral at the Great Barrier Reef

Giant clam

Giant fish Josh saw at Michaelmas Cay when he jumped off the boat

Hello and New Friends in Fiji

Walking along the beach, enjoying the setting sun on our last night in Fiji, a man named Dunedin, sitting on a log with his friend says “hello” and calls us over for a chat. A new friend was made and on a wonderful night I’ll never forget, began.

One simple word can open many doors and bring people into your life like no other I know of. Along this journey we have met many people and had some great conversations that would have never happened without first saying hello. When we first began the trip, we were both nervous when it came to meeting new people, our busy lives before felt like we had little time to venture out of our comfort zones as it took all our energy to cope with the grind of the 9 to 5 routine, so approaching strangers and overcoming our fear of the unknown was something we would have to get used to and get used to fast. Part of it was from fear instilled from news media, but most of it was from the isolated lifestyle we lead while enduring the rat race and catering to unending to-do lists.


The First Hellos

Staying at the Mango Bay Resort in the Coral Coast for the first part of the trip was an easy way to begin opening up and talking to new people since we had to introduce ourselves during group activities, but this was done in a safe and fun environment. It was during our trip to the town of Sigatoka that we would have to put our fear of meeting strangers behind us. After eating lunch at the local Krishna temple we began to make our way back to the main part of town and to the pick up point for our ride back to the resort. As we walked down the road from the temple and began to pass by some houses, we hear “hello” come from the other side of a fence. A little hesitant, we took a couple more steps before we heard “hello” again as a man stepped out of the opening of a yard and then asked if we would like to join him and his buddies for a drink and some snacks. Even though we were both a little nervous and apprehensive, we decided to accept the offer and followed him into the yard and sat down next to a small open fire where him and his coworkers were cooking some food after a days work. It turned out that we were at his bosses house and he would soon came out to join us. After a having a glass of Fiji Gold, the beer of the island, and some snacks, we began to talk about where we were from and they explained that they had just finished work and this was there Saturday routine after finishing their 6 day work shift. It is interesting how small of a world it can be as the boss told he had a daughter who lived in Milpitas, California, a city near where we used to live, and we talked about the places he had visited during his trips to California. Though we couldn’t stay long as we had to be at the pick up point soon or we would miss our ride back to the resort, it was a good experience that helped us begin to overcome some of our fears. This was something I was grateful for a few days later when I would meet Dunedin.


Dunedin’s Welcome

Dunedin, our new friend, and third generation Indo-Fijian slave.

When Dunedin called us over to talk as we spent our last night in Fiji walking along the beach, I had no idea we were in for one of the more interesting conversations we have had so far on this journey. Dunedin immediately got my interest when he said he was a third generation descendent from slaves. Fiji is comprised of two main ethnic groups, native Fijians and Indo-Fijians who were brought to the islands as indentured servants by the British to work in extremely bad conditions on the sugar cane plantations. I had been curious to learn the Indo-Fijian perspective of life knowing that they been a persecuted minority. He invited us to join him for some Kava and dinner. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity so we walked over to the house where he was staying with his uncle, Mr. Ahmad and his family. Their house was one of the few houses located away from the other residents without light pollution, near the beach.

Upon arriving at the house, he showed us the boat that his uncle was building. As we looked at the partially completed hull he explained that when it was finished, they would use it to take tourists out for fishing trips or ferry them to resort islands. It was impressive to see a boat being built by hand. The family was in the business of repairing boats and motors all over the island.

Sitting outside in the yard, we chatted and enjoyed a bowl of Kava, Dunedin told us of his life. Dunedin didn’t have much to his name and didn’t need nor desire much, other than to fulfil his one goal in life. He slept in a shed consisting of nothing other than the four sheet metals propping another sheet metal roof over his head and a piece of plywood as the door to prevent the wild dogs from devouring him while he slept, he said had everything he needed. Shelter, food fresh from the ocean, clothing, and income he received while he worked on maintaining his uncle’s boats to achieve his dreams was enough to satisfy him. His possessions were meagre and only consisted of a backpack which held his prized binocular, a National Geographic magazine featuring China’s people, and a few other books he had acquired from people he befriended in a similar manner he did with us. Dunedin explained his main goal is to save up enough money to get to China and to meet a wife while there and if he didn’t find one there, he would go to Mongolia.


Captivating Conversations

When the Kava was finished we hopped in his cousins car and proceeded to head to the store to get more Kava powder and the ingredients for that nights dinner, which we decided would be chicken curry with rice. As his cousin drove us to the store we were amazed that he seemed to know so many people, and would shout hello to people walking and even some driving while operating a vehicle. When we returned from the store, his uncle was outside sitting down waiting for us so he could talk.

May was directed into the house by Dunedin to help with the cooking (she thought that was kind of sexist) but from what she said, she shared an equally delightful conversation with the women who lived on the property. While the men stayed outside, started a fire to keep warm under the trees, smoked, drank Coke and snacked on cheese, they enjoyed another bowl of Kava all while conversing about many topics.


Mr. Ahmad

Mr. Ahmad and his wife (left) and daughter (right).

Dunedin’s uncle, Mr. Ahmad is an interesting man who had many things to talk about. My conversation with him quickly turned to politics, discussing current events such as Iraq and he asked if I thought the country was better off now or under Saddam Hussein’s rule. This question I have often asked myself since I was involved in the invasion of the country in 2003 during my time in the Navy. I explained that I don’t think it is better off and the war should have never been started. He said that Saddam was bad but what has now replaced him is much worse. He felt that there needed to be sensible people in government and when there wasn’t people, bad decisions are made. After politics we turned to discussing life and spirituality. We both seemed to agree that God is nature, Earth. To me it is our mother and that all living creatures are manifestations of her. There is an energy that flows through us all and binds us together. At this point May came out to join us and the conversation turned towards Indo-Fijian history.


Indo-Fijian Slavery

USS Leonidas is the first ship that arrived in Fiji on 14 May, 1879 with 497 indentured labourers (Girmitiyas). Source: Fiji Pundit

During the period of 1879-1919, 60,965 Indian indentured laborers were brought in from all parts of India to Fiji to not only work on the sugar cane plantations but also the rice paddies, with many dying on the ship during the journey from India. The slave system was brutal, forcing men and women to work the fields even if the women were pregnant and to live in squalid and degrading conditions in the camps. The workers were generally illiterate and the system came to be known as ‘Girmit’ (derived from the word ‘agreement’), and later were known to be called ‘Girmitiyas.’ The system required them to work for five years with little or no pay at which point they had the option to return to India or stay. Many stayed since they couldn’t afford to return to India. The ratio of men to women at this time was 5:1 which made things difficult on the plantations. This is why so many people knew each other, they had to share the same women, he explained. Due to these conditions, many different castes lived together and made the caste system obsolete with people changing religions. After independence, life for Indo-Fijians was not easy and the tensions between the native Fijians and Indo-Fijians has resulted in three military coups that either sought to reduce or increase the rights of Indo-Fijians which still continues today. The situation, he said, seems to be getting ever so slightly better as the government tries make all citizens equal. The Indo-Fijian experience comes from a complicated history and I tell from our conversation there are still many tensions underneath the surface of Fijian society.


World’s Largest Diamond Stolen from India

Left to right: Queen Victoria wearing the Koh-i-Noor as her brooch; Queen Alexandra wearing the Koh-i-Noor set front and center on the Royal Crown; The Royal Crown on display along with the other British Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.

Tavernier’s illustration of the Koh-i-Noor under different angles.

One of the more interesting parts of the night’s conversation was his explaining British history in regards to India. When the British came to India they took as much gold as they could and shipped it back to England just like they did with every colony. Because of this, England has the most reserves of gold in the world and the reason the British Pound is the most valuable currency in the world. Not only did they take gold from India but they also took what was once known as the largest diamond in the world from India called the Koh-i-Noor or ‘The Mountain of Light.” Legend says that the emperor Shāh Jahān positioned the Koh-i-Noor near a window on the Tāj Mahal, so he could see it by looking at its reflection in the stone. This diamond had been stolen many times, but ultimately was stolen and cut down from 793 carats uncut, to 186 1/16 carats (37.21 g) and then again to its current 105.602 carats (21.61 g) and placed in Queen Victoria’s brooch, and later the Royal Crown. Dunedin mentioned that the diamonds were divided into nine pieces. From an uncut 793 carats to 105 carats, we’re not sure where the rest of the diamond went. We hope to visit the Tāj Mahal to see where the Koh-i-Noor was once placed.


Three Things in Life

At the end of the night Mr. Ahmad asked us three important questions, which I found to be pretty clever with the answers below.

1. What is the tastiest thing on Earth?
2. What is the worst thing anyone must endure?
3. What is the most comfortable?

After eating a delicious meal, we headed back to our hostel and got ready for our early morning flight to Australia. I’m glad we stopped and walked over to Dunedin when he said hello otherwise we would not have met his Uncle and family or had gotten to learn what is like to live in Fiji if only for one night. Meeting local people is one of the best ways to experience a culture where you can learn what the daily issues they face and that even though we come from different places we all seem to have similar dreams, to love and be loved while also having a sense of belonging.

1. Salt
2. Stomach, because it drives us to do everything, good or bad, because we need to eat
3. A bed because nothing beats laying down after a hard days work or when you are sick