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Monday, 2 April 2012


On a cliff at the south side of Bali sits the temple called Uluwatu, on the Nusa Dua peninsula. A more picturesque site could not have been chosen for this small temple. We left our hotel in the morning with Jan and Michelle as our companions in a taxi hailed from the entrance. The drive is not too long but it was hot and humid on this November day. When we arrived at the temple the taxi driver offered to wait for us to return us to our hotel, probably to avoid having to toil in the heat and take a welcome nap.

Friendly monkeys at Uluwatu

Note the Sarong and Sash

The Temple from the hiking trail
At the entrance there are the usual routines of having to rent a sarong (we already had several in our hotel room, but just could not remember to bring them along) and a sash and to buy some fruit for the monkeys. The monkey treats were soon devoured and we went for a walk along the cliff's edge. Placing the temple in the center you can walk along the cliff in either direction, viewing the Indian ocean below. The surf down there is one of the best for wave riders, and quite a few surfers hike down there for a day of fun.

Surf's up!

The Temple on the cliffside

We had a good look at the temple and decided to take a walk along the cliff's edge. Along the walk the heat and humidity really went to work on our unaccustomed bodies and we were properly soaked with sweat at the end of the trail. To our great surprise we found a couple of stalls selling refreshments and another selling costume jewelry. We bought a couple of bottles of water and Shelagh found some lovely eyeglass straps. When we returned to the starting point Shelagh poured the remainder of her water over her head to cool off. Back at the hotel we wasted no time and dove into the pool to loose the heat in our bodies. Dinner across the street was lovely, traditional Indonesian fare, followed by a night in the hotel lounge with new friends.

The next day we said goodbye to Jan and Michelle, their holiday was over. We have stayed in contact with Jan and she and her husband Jim have since visited us in Vancouver.

Bali was once a place of many micro kingdoms. When the Dutch took control of Indonesia, they put an end to that and formed a single government. The kings still remain, albeit quietly. One evening we went for a walk to one of these king's home, just around the block from our hotel. He now runs a modest bed and breakfast. We chose a palapa on the beach and soon a waitress walked up to take our drink order. She brought us two beers and warned us that the rain was coming soon and to take shelter in the bar. We stubbornly remained where we were and soon the rain came down, then the wind piped up and the rain became nearly horizontal soaking us to the skin. "I'm soaked and I can't open my eyes" said Shelagh, "Mine have been closed for nearly 10 minutes" I replied. So there we went defeated by mother nature off to the bar where some locals and some Aussies greeted us with big smiles. We lingered for quite a while chatting with the people and sharing stories.

Something to watch for on this island are the money changers. Other than bonafide banks, who will give you the lowest exchange rate, money can be exchanged at private businesses all over the island. Some will use slight of hand trickery to short change you while other have rigged calculators that will show your how many rupiahs you will receive. Always do the math yourself and re-count the money you have been handed. If you catch someone cheating you, they just shrug and smile, and they expect you to move on. Everybody tries to make a buck.

Bali is a lovely place and I recommend a holiday there, you will not regret it.

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