Life and Death Under the Volcano for the Bali Aga

North of the market town of Ubud, Bali’s tourist resorts and handicraft markets give way to small villages like Trunyan, pop. 300, that belong to a mountain people called the Bali Aga. Unlike Balinese Hindus elsewhere, the Bali Aga do not memorialize the dead with elaborate cremations. Instead, they place their deceased kinsmen beneath a large tree and let nature reclaim the bodies. In my imagination, Trunyan seemed both dreadful and exotic at the same time.

Cycling Ireland’s Backroads Past Churches, Castles, Sheep Farms and Pubs

Cycling the lightly traveled backroads of West Ireland affords time to intimately experience the country, its people and their history. Until recently, only experienced cyclists even attempted such a ride. Motorists would fly past as brightly colored cyclists peddled laboriously up hills, their bikes burdened with panniers filled with clothes and heavy equipment. Cycling seemed more exhausting than enjoyable. But with the advent of ebikes and specialized cycling tours, beautiful and fascinating areas now are accessible to nearly anyone. And one of the most bike-friendly places to take such a tour is along the west coast of Ireland.

What makes this type of tour so satisfying is the pace (avg. speed 11 mph) and proximity of being so close to the land and the people you meet along the way. You can stop whenever you like to appreciate an historic marker, a beautiful garden or scenic overlook when traveling on a bicycle. There’s something about the physical exertion necessary to get from place to place that connects a rider with the land more deeply than if he arrives by bus, train or car.

Come from Away to Discover Newfoundland, Canada’s Colorful Rock

The taxi driver greets me with, “How’s she gettin’ on?” (How are you?), then introduces himself, “Call me Andy, m’luv.” Firm friendship established, Andy and I cheerfully chat on the way in from the airport at Deer Lake, Newfoundland. When a comment of mine evokes a great belly laugh, he sputters, “I dies at you,” (you’re funny).

This is Newfoundland English, affectionately called Newfinese. A wonderfully expressive patois, it has its own dictionary and a wide variety of expressions to challenge the most agile mind. Someone who is upset might have a ‘face like a boiled boot’ and a muggy, foggy day is ‘mauzy’. Hungry? In Newfinese, you’re ‘gut-foundered’. Lost? You might be told to “stay where you’re at ‘til I comes where you’re to.”
The people of Newfoundland, with their distinctive blend of West Country English/Irish/French accent, are charming. The Blarney Stone’s effects clearly are imbedded in the Irish genes. Their friendliness is legendary, welcoming each ‘come from away’ (someone not from Newfoundland) with warmth and good humor.