The Bag: Bali

Thoughtfully-selected over the course of our recent trip to Bali, the following eight items are souvenirs we treasure and want to share with you as part of our new “What’s in the bag?” travel feature to shed a different insight about the places we visit. In a way too, they summarize some of the key highlights of our trip and things we discovered along the way.

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Daily Offerings

Canangs are daily offerings for the spirits of Bali that express gratitude towards good Gods while warding off evil ones. You’ll come across these curious little hand-woven baskets made of banana leaves throughout the island. Their content includes an assortment of coloured flowers, rice and incense, but it’s not uncommon to find in them money, candy, biscuits and even cigarettes too. Every day new baskets with fresh flowers and gifts replace yesterday’s offerings.

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Coconut Oil and Chilli

Balinese cooking is deeply weaved into local traditions and customs. Food plays a major role in Balinese ceremonies and offerings too so it should be no surprise the amount of care and attention that goes into preparing a meal. Spices are carefully selected to add flavour to even the most ordinary of ingredients and traditional cookware (such as volcanic mortar and pestle for grinding) are still preferred over modern appliances.

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Morning Market

When we were in Bali last April, we signed up for a cooking class that included a morning market visit with Casa Luna in Ubud. Casa Luna is run by Janet de Neefe, an Australian writer and entrepreneur who fell in love with a Balinese man following her second visit to Bali in the early 80s and has since moved there, started a family and launched several business ventures. Alongside Casa Luna, a restaurant and bakery, she also runs a guesthouse (which she also lives in). While for most Australians hers is a household name, we only recently got to know about her through the workshop and the books she’s published that include a beautiful Balinese cookbook.

The morning of the class, we walked over to Casa Luna to meet with the other fellow travellers who had signed up for her class (the majority of which were from Australia and New Zealand, but there was also a nice couple from Mexico on honeymoon and an American family of four). Once everyone had arrived, we all walked over to the market a few blocks away.

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Diving with Buddha

Before getting married, John and I got Open Water certified (NISD). We love scuba diving when we travel and tend to scope out the different dive sites available when we visit somewhere new. Besides Lebanon, we have so far dived in Mauritius, Naxos and Bali.

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