8 March 2014
The clear morning was perfect to take a quick walk around the gardens and enjoy this picturesque mountain area. With the clarity we could again see Mt. Agung as well as much of the island including the sea in some places.
But since it was our last day on the island, we had plans to take in a few sites as we made our way from Bedugul to a hotel close to the airport (for our 6:00am flight the next day), so we didn’t linger around for too long.
Our first stop of the day, after a very windy trek on very narrow roads was the Jatiluwih Rice Fields. As we gained our first glimpse of these fields it simply took your breath away as there were rice fields and terraces that seemed like they went on forever. Once to a spot where we could park, we jumped out of the car and took off on a hike through the rice fields. It truly was an impressive site as the immensity of the rice fields seemed to grow the deeper you got into them. We hiked for about 90 minutes trying to take in as many vantage points as possible and after thoroughly exhausting ourselves in the midday heat (and getting a super sweet farmers tan) we headed back to our car and onto the next destination the Bali Butterfly Park.
As we walked thru the butterfly park, we came across the area where the cocoons were stored and one employee who was eager to share the lifecycle of the butterflies. During our lesson for the day we learned that these butterflies live for two months in the cocoon, two weeks as a butterfly and for the bigger ones only 5 days. And of course he wanted to make sure I had an up close experience so he gently placed one of the larger ones on my hand for a Kodak moment. While taking a photo I think the butterfly realized I was kinda freaked out by it walking up my hand, so it decided to give me a real reason to be freaked out and pooped on my hand. He then gave us a quick tour of the park including the various other bugs on display and gave us butterfly sex-ed course when showing us where they usually find the cocoons in the park.
In the last few days as we drove thru various towns and especially today I noticed that in the middle of many temples there were huge, creepy looking statues being created that looked like something from nightmares or Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Turns out these statues were being created for New Year’s day celebrations. On New Year’s the town’s young people will carry the newly created statue thru town then it is burned it is burned at the end of the celebration. And as the guy at the post office told us, our driver told us again that the next day the 29th it is silent, no cars, nothing is open and people stay at home to celebrate the new year.
Another thing that stood out on today’s drive was all of the kids out and about all dress in what is usually worn for temple celebrations. Our ever informative driver told us that today’s big temple celebration was for education, hence why all the kids in every town we drove thru were dressed in their traditional attire and not school uniforms. Plus it was a day off of school which is why they seemed to be everywhere even taking in many of the tourist sites.
After driving thru many small towns we could tell we were getting closer to the populated regions on the island as we made our way thru Tabanan, where for the first time on the island we saw a car dealership and were back once again in good old traffic. It wasn’t much longer before we were turning off the main road to Tanah Lot one of the 7 Sea temples in Bali and probably the most famous, especially for sunset pictures. And just like all the guide book says it is a must visit with beautiful waves crashing along the rugged coastline and the temples standing out on the rocks. It was also the first time I was asked to take a picture with a family. I tried not to laugh too hard when asked and happily smiled along as it was first just two family members than slowly it was the whole damn family in the picture with me and the temple in the background. Too bad Adam was off in the distance taking pictures and I didn’t want to be rude and yell out his name across the crowd to also capture the taking a picture with the tall white girl moment. I just hope I make it on to the families New Year’s card.
I have to say Bali was everything I could have imagined and much, much more. From the lovely people to the beautiful sites, tasty food, the rich cultural heritage and easy relaxation, there is something for every mood and whim. It has definitely made the list of places to revisit on our second retirement!
Today’s Travel: We left the northern end of the island and headed down towards the western coastline
Accommodations: Aston Inn Tuban. An average hotel that could use some love, but the room was big and clean and for a 6am flight it was great to be 2.5km away from the airport.