I was finally in Bali! And the surprises would not end. I was really
shocked, amazed, apprehensive to find this bouncer-like guy waiting for me, holding a paper with my name on it at the airport’s arrival area. He smiled uncertainly to me and asked me if I was “jay-chuh chai-roh”. I hid my shock, amazement, apprehension with a bright smile and trustingly gave him my luggage. One drawback to traveling alone and looking like teenage girl is that you keep expecting people to prey on you. You always keep your guard up. So although I had been wanting to pee since I got off the plane, I didn’t go to the restroom when he suggested it simply because he was holding my luggage and I don’t trust him yet. When we got to the car, I immediately asked him to have our photo together. I was thinking that I would immediately send the picture to Moche so that he knows how my driver looks. Just in case. Yes, I was that paranoid.
First on our itinerary was Tanah Lot, one of the most famous Bali temples. And on our way there, I chatted with him a lot, trying to diffuse my paranoia and sleepiness by asking him lots of questions about Bali. I learned that his name was “Kadek” because he was the second child in the family and that his nickname was “Alung” which means “necklace” because his umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck when he was born. I told him that I am a Kadek, too, the name can refer to both girls and boys, and that my nickname is “Jayce”, pronounced pretty much like “Jace”.
The Tanah Lot is actually what the rock formation was called, while the temple on top of it is “Pura Tanah Lot” (pura = temple). This temple is set on a rock in the middle of the sea and tourists are not allowed to go inside. According to Kadek, the temple is dedicated to Baruna, the manifestation of the god of the ocean.
There was a strip of beach below the cliffs and I saw some foreigners stripping off in their bathing suits and wanting to surf the waves.
Pura Luhur Batukaru
On our way to the next stop, we passed by a house where a wedding was going to be conducted. I learned that there are two ceremonies involved in tying the knot in Bali: one is very similar to our pamamanhikan where the guy will ask for his girlfriend’s hand in marriage from her parents, while the other ceremony is the actual wedding. The former was to be celebrated at the bride’s house while the latter at the groom’s. Wedding gifts are always rice, sugar, incense sticks or money.
And since it was already time to eat, we had our lunch at one of the Warungs en route to the Batukaru Temple, one of the nine directional Bali temples.
Before we got to the temple, Kadek briefed me on what to expect at the temple. Apparently, not everyone is welcome to go inside temples. For example, menstruating women are not allowed to go inside. Meanwhile, those who are allowed entry must attire themselves in sarong. The sarong was available for rent at 20,000 IDR. After preparations were done, we entered the temple grounds where we purified ourselves using holy water. We were lucky because there was just another couple of tourists around when we got there. But they were already on the way out. Then, at one point, Kadek asked me if I was feeling the energy. I paused for a while but I don’t think it was enough. I didn’t feel anything. So after telling me what the temple was all about, he left me to try to feel the energy one more time. Unfortunately, try as I might to still myself and my mind, I was not able to feel anything special. 🙁 It must be my ADHD mind working against me.
Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
From the temple, we drove a long time to see the Jatiluwih Rice Terraces. I was really excited to see them because I have never seen one before. It’s a real shame that up to now, I haven’t traveled north to see our very own Banaue Rice Terraces.
Ulun Danu Temple
Our next stop was another long ride away up in the mountains: the Ulun Danu Temple in Lake Bratan. Because the lake was up in the mountains, it was very cold! The entrance fee was 30,000 IDR.
Taman Ayun Temple
The Pura Taman Ayun is the Mengwi Royal Kingdom Temple, located across the royal palace. The temple complex is situated on an island in a river, symbolizing Mount Meru, the home of the gods.
The Royal Palace was our last stop and the day’s itinerary was done. It was time go to my hotel in Kuta, check in, shower, eat then rest. My hotel was almost two hours aways and since I was so tired, I slept most of the way. I woke up to find the bustling streets of Kuta, Bali where shops, hotels and tourists abound.
Watch out for the next installment of my Going Solo in Indonesia series.
Read the next part here.
Going Solo Note:
Bali Driver: Kadek “Alung” Suastika
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone number: +62 08174793556
August 22, 2013
***photos were taken using an iphone 5