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Indonesia, February 9, 1998

Rice, Rice, Everywhere!

Balinese grow rice better than anyone else on the planet!

Rice Everywhere!Rice is the staple crop of Bali. A thousand years ago the knowledge of how to farm rice in standing water came to Indonesia and Bali has gown it that way ever since. The rice paddies are everywhere, producing a surplus of rice for the two million Balinese.

An empty lot? Throw some rice on it!

The unique mixture of rich volcanic soil, slowly flowing water, wildlife, and organic fertilizer, allows the farmers to have a continuous crop in the patties, without the fallow time needed with other crops. On Bali there are two types of rice, six month rice and three month rice. The six month rice is better, but it takes twice as long to grow, and the price may not be twice as much as the three month rice. I saw both types, in all stages of growth.

With rice as a base for all of their foods, the Balinese got funky with the accompaniment. They catch some of the wildlife that lives off the rice paddies, fish in particular, and cook them in strange sauces.You figure out what I ate! The food is very spicy, though not so much in the tourist restaurants. The best places for good, spicy foods were the kiosks on back streets. There you would be presented with two shelves of sauces to add to your scoop f rice, all for about $0.50.

This is the choice I had in Jakarta, the capital city on the island of Java. Note the fish heads in different colors of sauces. Interesting eats!

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