Just finished having my “Royal full body massage “ and finishing in time to catch “happy hour” at the poolside bar to enjoy my new favourite beverage.....an “Arak Madur”. The massage took 1 hour and 45 minutes and I have never felt better. Cost was a measly $57 so will likely do that again before we fly out next week.
Our favourite bartender, Budi, told us it is unusual for guests to stay for 2 weeks. It seems like all hotel staff have memorized our names and they check in regularly to see how our day has gone. I went down early for breakfast today and the waiter said “ good morning Mr. Brent....where is Missy Dianne?” We must be sure to tip them well in the next few days as everyone has gone out of their way to make us feel welcome. The other day I checked to see what the average salary was here in Bali. The latest figures were from 2015 and the “average“ was the equivalent of just over $200 Canadian per month. Our money goes so far here, food, services, clothing, etc. Is almost embarrassingly cheap.
I had a bank issue the other day
where my debit card was not working and I was needing to get more cash. I had to contact RBC as they had put a hold on my account for some reason. They released the account today and I was able to walk down the road a half mile or so to replenish my supply. While strolling down the road, I took some time to stop and look at some of the small local shops and restaurants and some of the homes that fronted the street. Even in this fairly well off area in Benoa, I was a bit dismayed by the level of poverty. The restaurants are small with 3 or 4 tables behind a screened off area . The menus are out front for all to see but patrons seem to be the local people as I have not seen many tourists in any of the establishments. It seems that the shop owners also live just behind their restaurants or shops. Young children are often playing on the sidewalk, riding bikes, etc. With the traffic whizzing by. It is so foreign to what we see in Canada.
Yesterday was another of our tour day outings. We joined
No paper...just wash up!
8 others folks to head off to visit the Monkey Forest and Tanah Lot Temple for sunset. The monkey forest was quite the experience. When we arrived, we were assigned to a guide that would accompany us through the forest. She carried a bamboo stick to ward off the monkeys as they can be aggressive. It was suggested that we not wear our glasses as the monkeys sometimes will jump on you and take the glasses off your face and run away. That didn’t happen to us but it did happen to a woman ahead of us. The monkey jumped on her shoulder and before she could say anything it grabbed her glasses and ran on top of a building. The guide tried to entice the monkey to come back with food but it didn’t work. Instead the monkey headed off into the forest. Our guide said it was unlikely they would get her glasses back. Part way through the forest, we came across a man who had a huge python in a basket. There was a family on tour and the son who was about 10 was sitting on a stool with the python wrapped around his neck and
his father was taking pictures! A little further on we came across a fruit bat colony with the biggest bats I have ever seen just hanging out! As we approached the other side of the forest our guide said we had to visit her “store” to look at her sale items. There were about 100 small stalls all locked up with mesh doors to keep out the monkeys. She unlocked her stall and we went inside to see some poor quality wooden carvings, some scarves, etc. I bought a small wooden monkey as it appeared she wasn’t going to take us back to the tour bus until we bought something. It was easier that fending off the monkeys!
After leaving our little furry friends we headed to visit another temple, the Tamar Ayun Temple. Legend has it that centuries ago a Holy man crossed the Java Straight in a pumpkin shell And built this temple. To this day the holy men of this temple do not eat pumpkin. Tamar Ayun temple means beautiful park. Inside this temple you find the “cock fighting arena”. Although cock fighting is illegal, this temple has special dispensation to conduct the fights to gather
Blood to be used in temple ceremonies. There were statues in the area depicting the fight but our guide told us that they actually use this arena for the real fights.
Afterward we drove to another “famous” temple, the Tanah Lot Temple where we stayed for sunset. In the Hindu Faith, Dang Hyang Nirartha, a high priest from the Majapahit Kingdom in East Java who travelled to Bali in 1489 to spread Hinduism, arrived at the beautiful area and established a site honouring the sea god, Baruna. Here, he shared his teachings to Beraban villagers, only to face opposition from the village chief who soon gathered his loyal followers to dispel Nirartha. The priest resisted, incredibly shifting a large rock he meditated upon out to sea while transforming his sashes into sea snakes to guard at its base. The rock’s original name, Tengah Lod, means ‘in the sea’.
Acknowledging Nirartha’s powers, the humbled chief vowed allegiance. Before setting off, Nirartha gifted him a holy kris dagger, which is now among the sanctified heirlooms of the Kediri royal palace. Pilgrims bring these relics each Kuningan day by foot on an 11km pilgrimage to the Luhur Pakendungan temple, the priest’s
Entrance to monkey forest
Over 2000 monkeys live here.
former meditational site.
After centuries of large waves persistently crashing at its rock base, Tanah Lot faced the constant threat of erosion, reaching a significant decline in 1980. The authorities carried out preservation efforts to Tanah Lot and other historical sites island-wide with aid from the Japanese government. Fully restored, a third of the present Tanah Lot is actually artificial rock.
At high tide, waves flood the causeways making it impossible to cross. At low tide, you may cross to view the rock base where the legendary ‘guardian’ sea snakes dwell in crevices around the Tirta Pabersihan fountain. We were there at low tide so saw a long line of people waiting to enter a dark cave where the guardian snake lives. Our guide told us that people who go in there and pet the python snake will be blessed with good fortune. We decided to take a pass on this wonderful opportunity. All of the other temples we have visited had a reverence about them but this was not the case at Tanah Lot. There were so many people visiting and folks hawking everything from post cards to cobs of corn, it took on a carnival atmosphere.
Look at those glasses!
To top it off, it was too cloudy to see the sunset. I have included a postcard photo of what it looks like on a good day. One other photo depicts the Bali toilets. They do not have toilet paper, but instead a bucket of water to clean yourself by using your “left hand”. That is why you must never reach out to take something or touch anyone with your left hand in Bali as it is considered to be dirty. Interesting!
We headed off for the 1 and 1/2 hour drive home at 6:30 and my only thought was I am “templed out”.
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