We boarded the Bali Hai II (a 3-level catamaran) which was our tender into Benoa Port at Bali, and had a very pleasant 30 minute trip across the water. We were in group/bus 2 and our guide was Alex, an older gentleman. We drove past many volcanic rock sculpture businesses, people taking their kites to the competitions, rice paddies and all sorts of interesting things, but the bus didn't stop, it went on and on and on…Alex had originally said that the destination was about 20 minutes drive, but it took 3 hours to get to the village of Penglipuran.
|Kites for a festival|
Of course, on arrival, many of us desperately required the toilet, and Alex wasn't entirely clear about where the facilities were and we headed off down a road. People along the road were inviting us into their housing compounds, which we declined, but it turned out that it was where we were to use the toilets. They were squatties, and you had to provide your own toilet paper (which of course I had in my backpack), and the flushing system was a scoop of water from a tank. Darryl said some of the others emerged quite flustered, but although I was fine, I felt bad as they then wanted me to look at their stall, but I had no money so couldn't. The housing compounds are very interesting, with an elaborate temple at the front seeming to have the most money spent on them. The kitchen was quite primitive, but I did notice another area with a small gas stove. Fighting cocks in wicker cages are popular, and nearly everyone has a bird in a cage. Everyone loves the tropical flowers which grow everywhere, and the guide explained that they need these to make their temple offerings each day.
The village also had a WWII memorial. Jackfruit were growing everywhere – I had never seen them growing before – and they were full of fruit. The wood is used for household furniture and is a yellowish colour.
Next stop was a huge Besakih Hindu temple going up the side of a mountain. There was a week-long festival in progress, and it was full of people worshipping. There are main temples and then family name temples and they have to start at the main ones. We all, even the men, had to wear sarongs to enter the precinct. I am actually quite surprised by the amount of rubbish everywhere, but was even more surprised to see the market stalls at the top of the temples selling carved wooden phallic keyrings!
Our lunch destination was Mahagiri Restaurant and Resort, which was hidden in the forest down a narrow track and the buffet offering was quite delicious. The view was stupendous, overlooking terraced rice paddies was a huge volcanic mountain (I believe Mt Agung).
In town, we visited a richly decorated ancient site (Kertha Gosa Palace) which was for the mayor to greet other dignitaries, and a neighbouring museum. Outside I did a good bargain for some batik sarongs and paid (again) in Australian Dollars.
The cruise ship was supposed to be refueled by a tanker at Bali but due to the incompetence of the tankers crew, (they were late arriving, and we were almost rammed forcing our Captain to take evasive action), so there was not enough time for us to fill up with the low-grade oil needed for the rest of cruise to Sydney. This would mean the cruise ship was forced to conserve the low-grade fuel for the engines and use expensive thinner fuel in a different electrical generator.
After dinner, we went to the Show and then to see a comedian. The show was very funny with an English performer who really seemed to be hyperactive, but I am really pleased we weren't in the front row as he had sweat coming off him all over the place. The comedian was an old-style one, and most of the jokes were ones we have heard or seen on the 'net.