When driving around Bali to locate my next research interview (yes, I now drive), there are some interesting sites in the streets. I also take the opportunity in between researching and writing to take some time out and learn more about Indonesia and its culture:
During Xmas, 2014 David and I drove to Lovina located at the northern tip of Bali, a journey which takes about 4 hours. It was 7 hours before we arrived, because we got lost a couple of times and the traffic was heavy due to the local people going to ceremonies. Lovina has a beautiful beach and a lot less traffic, so it is therefore more relaxing. If you get up early enough (around 6am), you can also see the porpoises playing in the ocean. We visited a Buddhist temple and went to the refreshing hot springs on a cool day and made some new young friends. Playful monkeys scamper along the streets, where tourists gather.
The Bali Bird Park is worth seeing. The exotic birds - black cockatoos, colourful parrots, hornbills are very used to tourists. They sit contentedly on your shoulders, nibbling at your hair. There is also a bird of prey show where large eagles swoop across a field, at call. We liked the owls too. David really liked the owls.
Visiting places like Lovina and taking a trip to Turtle Island help to inspire my writing. This is because I gain a deeper insight into the Indonesian culture and it is an opportunity to interact with the locals. For example, one of the expatriates I interviewed for DragonFlyers financially supports the conservation of turtles on Turtle Island, South of Bali near Benoa Harbour. Through visiting Turtle Island myself, I better understood the value of his contributions to this worthwhile venture. I always keep a detailed journal when travelling, but don't worry too much about it at home. Adelaide is where I settled down and write from a distance, drawing on the insights I have gained whilst away.