Saturday, October 29, 2016

Walking Through Rice

Exploring Bali






The Nefatari Villas, where we were staying outside of Ubud, border the rice fields.  I had been itching for days to take a closer look at them so one morning our hostess pointed us in the right direction and off we went.  As we were walking, a local farmer approached us and asked if we would like a private tour.  I have learned to jump at these chances.  It's a win-win for both parties.  Our guide would make a little money and we would get an up-close personal view of a fascinating place.

Plus, we would have gotten completely lost without him.  And possibly fallen into a trench!
  Because green is my favorite color, I must have taken close to a hundred pictures of these grassy, verdant fields.  I could not get over the bright, almost phosphorescent color.  So rich.  Fresh.  So green!  In my opinion, Bali is in the running with Ireland for the title, "Emerald Isle."

Because our guide was a rice farmer, he was a fount of knowledge.  We couldn't help but comment on the ducks swimming in the water channels.  They provide fertilizer for the fields and help keep the weeds at bay.  They rarely use chemicals in their farming, he said.

He went on to explain the rice-growing process and the importance of crop rotation to keep the soil healthy.  I didn't know that potatoes and corn are alternate crops in Bali.
Potatoes


Being as I have only seen rice packaged in plastic bags, it was fun to see the grains up close.  He pulled some stalks for us and told us the rice in these fields aren't quite ready yet.  It's not white when it's ripe, but a golden yellow.  Later, we saw piles of rice drying in the sun.
We met other farmers along the way.   I love how the locals have been able to hold on to their land despite a trend towards large global agricultural conglomerations.  I know it's hard work but these men and women not only feed their families, but the people of their country and beyond.  Indonesia is the third largest producer of rice in the world. (China and India are the top two.)

We ended our tour with a walk through the village of Sayan.  Our guide took us to a lovely garden restaurant overlooking the Ayung River where we watched several rafts floating down the gentle rapids.  We called our driver at Nefatari to come pick us up and our guide (and neighbor) rode back with us.

I think we ate rice for dinner every night we were in Bali.  (And sometimes for breakfast.)  Because of this walk through the fields, I have gained a better appreciation and understanding of what it takes to grow this vital food source.  I am in awe.  And extremely thankful. 

Rice feeds the world.















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