Welcome back to Gadling’s newest series, Dreaming of Bali. Visiting the exotic Indonesian island of Bali is truly a feast for the senses. First time visitors and expats alike frequently remark on this island’s rich tapestry of exotic stimuli: the brilliant orange glow of a sunset as it slides gently into the sea; the wafting scent of kerosene and crushed chilis at a roadside food stall; the soft vibration of a gong as it’s struck in a temple. These are sensory experiences that bury themselves in your subconscious, sticking in your mind long after your return from a journey – they are ultimately the impressions that help to crystallize our understanding of our travels.
Words are only one way to tell a story. Borrowing an idea from Gadling blogger Stephen Greenwood, I’ve tried to capture my impressions of Indonesia through the medium of sound. Embedded below are four “soundscapes” from my recent visit to Bali and the nearby island of Java. Click on play, close your eyes, and prepare to be transported far away to the islands of Indonesia:
Sitting on the beach at dusk, listening to waves crash on the beach – a symphony of frogs croak at the onset of dark:
A group of musicians practices their Gamelan performance at a temple in Ubud:
Walking inside Ubud’s morning produce market:
Most of Indonesia, with the exception of Bali, is muslim. Here’s the afternoon call to prayer in Yogyakarta, Indonesia:
It’s absolutely amazing what you find on the net: just the other day I was trawling around some safe-for-work soft core sites when I happened upon the Mike & Alex Show. Thinking I’d already seen that one, I just clicked onward. Later, however (while carefully deleting my browser’s history), I realized that no, no, this was the MIke & Alex TRAVEL Show. “OH!” I laughed out loud, then sat down for the most thrilling half-hour of my life.
The podcast genre was long overdue for a kick in the pants and these two boys promise to do just that. For starters, both of their last names start with the letter “B”, as in brilliant. Mike Barish and Alex(ander) Basek use their show to discuss everyday travel issues but without any of the soft-serve mollycoddling for which “podcast” has become synonymous. Also, these are funny guys who say funny things about travel stuff. In their very first audio issue, Mike & Alex take on Amsterdam’s coffee shops and airplane movies and you’ll agree with them 100%.
Honestly, I was hoping the show would sound less professional and more like emotionally-disturbed children taking razor blades to the Washington Post’s travel section (there’s still hope). I really have no idea who these two clowns are but ouch, my funny bone is hurting. Imagine your most hilarious guy friends sitting at the bar talking travel. In fact–Come to think of it, Mike Barish is the name of this guy I know who writes for Gadling.
Yeah, so a few things that might make the podcast funnier: some heavy-handed laugh tracks, more rubber chickens and perhaps a little tasteful post-racial repartee. Also, maybe they could play 30Rock really loud in the background?
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I lived in Bangkok briefly back in the mid-90s and remember the city as a buzzing, cacophonous, traffic-clogged metropolis where anything went. That is, as I once put it to a fiend: Bangkok is not a city for the undisciplined. I spent many an hour walking Bangkok’s dirty-foul smelling streets and wandering down blind alleys in search of interesting things to see and, well, to eat. Needless to say, I found many of each on every little expedition.
Now, it seems, given the benefits of technology, my meanderings would be somewhat enhanced…depending on how you look at it. A company has put together Bangkok walking tours called Siam Soundtrek that take you along historical, cultural and musical ambles through the city’s streets. The music helps carry along the narrative, which goes impressively deep. Now, you’re not going to meet a lot of interesting people if you walk around the city with headphones on, but these tours might be a nice way to start out in the city or for tourists who just want to get acquainted with the city in a short period of time.