Monday, August 16, 1999

A Day of Adventure in Bali

Bali, Indonesia
Cockadoodle-doo! I was awakened by a rooster at 4:40 am. I slept in until 7 o'clock, got ready for today, then had breakfast before waiting to be picked up, right around 8:30 am. We picked up two American UCLA B-School grads, Anita and Linda, a guy from Manhattan Beach, CA and his Brazilian model wife. I forgot what time we finally arrived, but after we picked up our gear it was down the gorge to the Ayung river.

The whitewater was Class 3, but only in some areas. The scenery was amazing, with steep jungle hills on either side, with waterfalls everywhere. Near the end, the guide asked if anyone wanted to swim. The area was dark due to the overgrowth spanning between the 20 foot tall grey rock canyon walls. He didn't have to ask me twice. I tied my waterproof camera to my paddle and rolled in. Shortly after, we came to the end of the raft trip. Interesting tidbit from the guide that may or may not be true: The Ayung apparently is one of the few rivers hosting piranhas outside S. America. I think the guide was making a joke.
We had a leisurely buffet lunch with a view of the rice fields
After lunch, we picked up an Australian family and headed to the Elephant Safari Park. I rode a Sumatran (subspecies of Indian, smallest and lightest colored) elephant that stood about 2.5 meters tall. Even got to sit in the driver's seat--right behind the ears of the beast.

We were then on our way back to our respective hotels, but since I didn't have one, I asked the driver to drop me off at Ubud, which was nearby. As we pulled over to let me out, Anita asked me if this was my stop. I replied "Sure, why not?"

I had to walk for about 15 minutes to get to the heart of Ubud, but got to soak in the scenery. The time is not about 5 pm, and I didn't have a place to stay. I stopped by the Ubud Info office and discovered that they had Kecak and Fire dancing tonight at 7pm nearby, and a couple of tours. So I got a ticket to the dancing and a #5 Kintamani/Volcano tour for around Rp 45,000. I then walked down Monkey Forest Road and bought two nights at Puri Muwa Bungalows for Rp 40,000. Which included breakfast and a seemingly bottomless pot of tea. I dropped my stuff off and walked over to the Padangtegal Dance stage where I watched 100 singers provide the only music for the dancers. Handclaps, shouting, and chanting by firelight as ornate dancers told a story from the Ramayana. It was followed by a trance dance where two very young girls performed the same intricate dance routine with their eyes closed, like they were in a trance. This was followed by a guy dancing in fire.




I went back to my room and sat outside, talking to the old local man--I think his name was Cok Ngurah Mas, but i could barely read his writing--who gave me the room. He said he'd take me shopping in his hometown of Mas and look for all sorts of stuff after my tour tomorrow. Bedded down at 10pm.

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