2011 South East Asia

2011 South East Asia #3 Bali – Sight seeing

I over slept! I turned off the alarm on the phone! Then some other phone started to ring. The one in the hotel room. It was the lobby calling me to remind me that I had an excursion today. The driver was there too. I grabbed some clothes and more or less got dressed on my way down to the lobby. And there he was, the man I had struck a deal with the day before. Even though I was late he was smiling and very nice, I apologized and explained I had been drinking a bit the day before and he was okay with that. We we’re not that late and besides, he said, some of the places where better to see not to early in the morning anyway. Well, I don’t know, I have nothing to compare with. On the way I grabbed some food and off we went. The driver presented himself as Madée, or Madé, which was a quite common name on Bali obviously. The restaurant owner i  Sanur was also named Madé. I might be wrong on the spelling here.

The first top was a place called Mandala Suci Wenara Wana, maybe more commonly known as Ubud Monkey forest. Madé got me some mini bananas that I could feed to the monkeys which were quite cheeky and rather stole bananas than waited for them to be handed over. The temple it self was pretty cool. Built in lava stone some 1500+ years ago most of it was covered by green moss it was a quite spectacular sight to see. I tried to get some good pictures at some kind of bridge but found a tourist woman trying to sneak into all of my pictures there. Hrmf!

After have spent some time at the temple grounds we continued our trip through Bali. We went to see the famous rice terraces, or some of the famous rice terraces at least. They look more spectacular on the pictures I’ve seen, the same pictures that made me to want to go there. In reality they were not so great. Well, they look cool but not that cool. And the locals around where quite annoying trying to sell souvenirs to me at all costs. We left that place quite quickly. On our way away from the rice terraces we got stuck in one of Balis infamous “police controls”. My driver however managed to convince the officers that there was no point in doing this today, not at least with just one person in the car. And soon enough a large bus came around a corner and the police became very busy and let us go.

We made a stop in some village where there was a silver smith making very small and delicate silver jewelry. This was obvious a place meant for me to do some shopping but I did not really find anything to buy. But I got a nice guided tour of the jewelry shop. Next stop was a coffee & tea plantation which sparked my interest. First a small guided tour of the tea/coffee and spice garden, then some sampling of the various products they had. I think I tried something like 4 different kinds of coffee of which included coffee with chocolate in it. Then some different kinds of tea as well. After that, they took me to a cage where they had a Luwak (or Asian palm civet). Some kind of animal that eats coffee beans and poops them out. Then people collect their poop and makes the worlds most expensive coffee from it, Kopi Luwak. Needless to say, I bought a small jar of Kopi Luwak to impress my family with!

Next stop was not planned. But we passed through a village where there was a funeral going on. It meant that all people in the village followed the deceased to the grave yard in a long procession. Madé told me about their traditions during our wait. When the road was clear we drove towards the huge volcano that lurked in the distance. I don’t remember how long it took to drive there, but when we finally arrived at the so called view point for the volcano I realized it was just one of these places where you have to pay for a good spot to take a picture. What I mean is, there was a lof of restaurants built along the ledge of the mountain we were at and all restaurants had a great view of the volcano from their terraces. Well, I had a coke and enjoyed the view for a while before I decided it was time to leave the place. Obviously it is possible to walk to the volcano and climb to the summit and look down in the crater but that would take a full day and I’ve already spent half day so far.

Madé wanted to show me the Uluwatu temple so we started to go south again. Finally we arrived at the site and before entering I had to get a sarong so I would not offend the people worshiping in the temple. Luckily there was “sarongs-for-rent” just outside. I think I spent about an hour just walking around looking at stuff before Madé told me it was time to go to the amphitheatre for a show. It was not what I was used to, I can honestly say that. It was kind of noisy and a lot of screaming and drumming. A small pamphlet explained the story. During the show it was getting darker and soon it was pitch black. After the show Madé drove me to a beach where there was a lot of restaurants. I have no clue on where this was, but it wasn’t so far away from the hotel I think. Anyway, I had a very nice BBQ’ed seafood dinner there. This day kind of concluded what I wanted from Bali so back at the hotel I booked both a flight and a hotel on the next destination.

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