Girl Meets World
By Ginny Tonkin staff blogger
Girl Meets World is a multimedia look at the sights, sounds, and insights of experiencing a different culture through teaching English as a foreign language.   Read more about this blog.
Posted: February 18th, 2011
Smokin’ Bali

3, 2, 1, Happy New Year! Wait a sec… didn’t we just do that?

Gravity-defying rice terraces on Bali, Indonesia.

Gravity-defying rice terraces on Bali, Indonesia.

Tet, or Vietnamese Lunar New Year marks the arrival of spring. The most important holiday in Vietnam, Tet is a time for family, and most Vietnamese return to their hometown to celebrate the new year and to wish each other prosperity for the coming year. Pre-Tet there’s much celebrating, well-wishing, and much mucking around waiting for the holiday to come. It’s like our Christmas holiday. During Tet, not much is open, and for the first time, I saw streets on HCMC quiet.

Businesses give employees time off, and most go travel. With my free time, I went to Indonesia with a few friends, visiting Bali and Jakarta. Watch for updates soon, including photos, on this growing colossus, but until then, enjoy the uploaded videos on my YouTube channel. If you can’t see them, click on the link to GirlMeetsWorld2010 on the video player.

Mount Batur-Bali: Is a 2:30 am wake-up call ever worth it? Can you hike a volcano in flip-flops?

Morning peaking through the fog on Mount Batur, Bali.

Morning peaking through the fog on Mount Batur, Bali.

Yes, to both those answers.

Although sneakers would have been nice.

A friend and I braved an early-morning to hike to the top of a Mount Batur, a volcano, overlooking the largest lake in Bali, Lake Batur.

Flip-flops? Yes (hand-to-forehead), I wore my chaco flip-flops. While shopping around for the best deal on a hiking tour, one woman informed us that the climb would only be an hour, and that it was so easy, you could do it in flip-flops.

Only partially true. It was two hours long. And although you can do it in flip-flops, our guide, Wayan, was so shocked, he offered his own pair of hiking boots.

The sun-rise in the fog was well-worth the hike, although it was colder than we expected. After sweating from the long ascent, we sat in the cool morning air, as our now wet backs prevented us from staying warm. A thin sweater I brought on a whim and a mug of hot tea from make-shift shop at the top saved me from icicle status.

In the video, I reference the small tea shack, then turn to the heat emanating from the volcano. Wayan, our Balinese guide, sticks his cigarette at the opening, highlighting the heat coming from the earth.

On the dissent from the top, we discovered we’d been hiking through farms made fertile by the volcanic soil. Wayan taught us Bahasa Indonesian while we got a chance to look at the lava flows and pumice rocks that formed the landscape.

Motorbikin’ in Mui Ne and  Touch-me-nots: Long over-due videos from my vacation to the Vietnamese beach town of Mui Ne after my CELTA course finished.

Motorbikin’: Everyone, everywhere drives a motorbike in Vietnam, and this sleepy town was a great place to learn. An automatic is an easier vehicle to learn on, despite its heavier build than a manual.

Touch-me-nots: Although known for its beaches, Mui Ne also overs a hike through the Fairy Stream riverbed to end at a waterfall. Trudge through barefoot or with strappy chacos for the best experience. Along the way, you can see unique flora, like banana flowers in banana trees, coconuts on palms, and touch-me-nots that close to the touch. In the video, my friend Angela explains what they’re called in the Philippines.

Check back to GirlMeetsWorld for more pictures and updates on my Tet holiday to Jakarta and Bali!

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