Tuesday, August 17, 1999

A tour of Bali

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
More roosters, and it sounds like it's been raining for a while. It's cool outside, and the shower was cold. I woke up at 7am, had breakfast at 8. It was just toast and fruit salad (papaya, banana, watermelon, lime). I walked over to the tour company, and we left twenty minutes late after waiting for some people who, after driving to their hotel, told us they decided to cancel. So it was me and a Belgian couple on a temple/volcano tour.
First stop was Goa Gajah--the elephant cave temple--but sarongs were required for entry. So I bought one, for $6, way more than I should have paid, simply because I was tired of haggling. From there we hit Pura Penataran Sasih, where there is a drum that's about 2000 years old.
Neither of these places were very memorable, and both were pretty barren. Ganung Kawi was verdent and had these large, white stone memorials, three on either side of a river valley that was fed by a waterfall that you could see by walking over rice paddies.
 We then went to Tampaksiring (Holy Spring) and Tirta Empul, the temple there. Some of the locals were washing themselves in the water from the spring.

We then went up to Penelokan and saw Mt. Batur and Lake Batur. It's a good thing we had the car, because walking or biking would have been exhausting. We ate lunch on the volcano crater rim.

The view at lunch
 I don't know why, but no one at the restaurant asked me to pay, I guess it's included in the tour. I walked up to the cashier and he waved me farewell. One of the dishes was "sweet and sour frog", which when said with an Indonesian accent, sounds like "sweet and sour pork". It was okay either way. We were pretty templed out at this point, but we had one left to go. Ulun Danuat Kintamani. But I realized only after we got to the temple--rebuilt on the rim after a 1926 eruption consumed it--that I wanted to see the Ulun Danu at Bedugal, which was right on the lake. Bah.
I slept intermittently on the way back. At around 4pm, the old guy took me around on the back of his motorbike. I picked up some silver in Celuk and some woodcarving in Mas. The ride was fun, but the prices were too upmarket for my taste. I did get a necklace and a sandalwood dolphin for more than it should have cost. And the necklace turned my neck green a month later. I like the non-bargaining, price-is-as-is, American market.
Wicker motorcycles
There were some amazing carvings, but I can't imagine them selling to anyone. Especially for the couple thousand dollar asking price. The average Balinese makes $1 USD a day.


I had marinated prawn at Mumbuls Cafe. Wow. Spicy and good. At around 7:30 pm, the old guy came back to my room with two sarongs, a sash, and headdress. For me. All decked out, I rode sidesaddle for 1 km or so, no helmet (the headdress), at night, in a skirt (more or less). When we arrived, I could hear the gamelan (orchestra) playing while the masses prayed.
There were many dances: legong (with 3, 2, and 1 dancers)--the one with the highly choreographed eye/finger movement; barong--which is a big, two person beast with acted kind of like a dog. It had the weirdest sense for a wooden mask, because it looked like its expression changed with the movements and actions of the dancers. I was sitting next to a California local government worker, and between acts we talked.

Apparently, of the two temples (volcano vs. lake) I had visited the more interesting one. I think I went to sleep around 11pm. There were literally dozens of dogs roaming the streets and I was lucky to only have a few growl at me.
An activist protesting cock-fighting
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