Location: Bali, Indonesia

Today was such a great day. Right after breakfast, we got free time to do pretty much whatever we wanted in Bali for our second day here. Claire, Kevin, Alec, Max, and I rented surfboards and just hung out in the waves for a couple of hours – it was awesome. One group explored a rice paddy and made some new Balinese friends, and another group went into Kuta and did some shopping. Shopping for sarongs and trying to get the best deal was definitely a highlight, as we used the excuse of needing new threads to be ready for our trip to the Monkey Temple later. The temple was about an hour away in Uluwatu, and it was so cool. When we got there the sun was close to setting, and it was beautiful, there were monkeys all over the place – you could tell where they were by all of the groups of people surrounding each one to get the best picture. After gawking at monkeys for a little bit, our group was ushered into a small stage area for the Kecak and Fire Dance. Kecak is a traditional dance that does not have an orchestra, but instead, 70 men vocalize all of the music and sounds. The story that was acted out was the famous Indian epic Ramayana, which briefly simplified goes that a demon king Rahwana kidnaps a beautiful woman, Sita. Her husband Rama and his brother Laksamana save her with the help of the white monkey Hanoman and his army. The performance was mesmerizing, a group of men of all ages did the chanting and singing that was what the rest of the story was based around, and the costumes were amazing. Kevin, Alec, and Zev got pulled onto the stage by some of the monkey actors and did some pretty fantastic dancing. The Monkey Temple was a really awesome way of seeing more of the local culture around Bali. After the performance, we all got back into our taxis and headed back to Kuta for a night out and some dinner. Most of us were pretty tired, so we ate dinner and just hung out, we were pretty excited to sleep after such an awesomely packed day.