Tuban, Indonesia, Asia
I had a great day touring Bali today! My tour guide, Bruce, picked me up at 8:30am, just after I said bye to Esther, and we headed north to see a traditional Barong dance. We arrived in Batubulan at 9:30am and had missed the first act of the dance, but it didn’t really matter. I was given a kind of playbill when I entered so I could recognize where they were in the dance, but I couldn’t understand anything they were saying (obviously) so I quickly lost grip of where we were in the story. The costumes were very extravagant and colorful and the music was typically Balinese. The actors and musicians looked less than interested in being there, but it was still interesting to see.
Our next couple of stops were a bit of a waste of time. We first stopped in Tohpati to see women “weaving” on cloth. It wasn’t really weaving, it was more like drawing with wax. It was an interesting process of melting the wax and putting it into a pen almost like a tattoo gun and using that to freehand designs on cloth. I watched for about two minutes, but then it became a bit boring. We moved on to a town called Celuk to see silver processing. It was kind of cool to see them creating jewelry by hand, but again, the interest only lasted a few minutes. At both places I had to walk through their galleries to look at their collections, but I knew before I ever walked in that I wasn’t going to buy anything, so that was a bit of a waste of time.
Then the real touring started. We drove over to Batuan Temple, the only Hindu temple on Bali that is open to the public. We had to get sarongs to wear when we went into the temple and it was a pretty cool place to see. It wasn’t what I expected at all. I thought it was going to be like a church or a mosque where there is one main area where everyone would pray or make offerings. Instead, this was completely outside and had a series of little shrines and huts where people could do their thing.
Our next stop was one of the coolest ones of the day. We drove to Tegalalang to see the rice paddies, and they were spectacular! These terraces were built into the hills and it was surrounded by rainforest. Everything was so green, it was just awesome. We didn’t hang around for long because the peddlers there are the most aggressive I’ve come along on the trip so far. I still got some good pictures and we headed up the mountain for lunch.
We got to Kintamani and stopped at a restaurant that had a spectacular view of a mountain and lake. The only bad thing was that Bruce and the driver (Gede) went to eat somewhere else, so I was left to eat there on my own. I didn’t really understand it, but whatever. Bruce said to meet them outside of the restaurant when I was finished and I stood there for about 25 minutes before they turned up. I was wondering at one point if they had just taken off and how much a taxi was going to cost to get back to Kuta. Luckily that was unnecessary.
Our next stop was at a coffee plantation in Kayuamba. They grow all kinds of plants in their beautiful rainforest-like garden. There was cocoa, vanilla, snake fruit (awesome!), pineapple, passion fruit and a coffee bean that is inside a berry. Apparently this is a very rare type of coffee because of the way it is harvested. There is an animal called a civit that eats the berries and passes the coffee beans through its digestive system. When they come out the other end (gross) they are picked off the forest floor and cleaned and brewed. I think this is the only island where the civit and the beans are found, so the coffee is ridiculous expensive. They were selling it at $500 per pound, for poop coffee. No thanks. I did try some ginger, cocoa and cocoa with ginger, they were all nice.
Our last stop was in Ubud at the Monkey Forest. Ubud looks like a great little town and I would definitely want to spend more time there if I ever make it back to Bali. The monkey forest was pretty awesome too. It was only $2 to enter and it is exactly as advertised. You walk through this forest and sanctuary where monkeys are running all around looking for anyone with a banana. The forest itself was beautiful enough, but it was made that much cooler seeing all the monkeys playing around.
Bruce and Gede dropped me off at Kuta Beach so I could watch one last sunset over the water and it was a pretty good one, but still not as awesome as I was hoping. Oh well, maybe I’ll get to see it in Borneo or the Philippines. I got one last Balinese massage before heading back to the hotel to pack everything up. I’m leaving in the morning at 4:30am to get to the airport for my 6am flight. Not too happy with it, but at least I’ll have a full day in Yogyakarta when I get there. I’m excited to see what the island of Java has to offer!