Asia | South East Asia | Indonesia | Nusa Tenggara | Bali – A Southwestern Exploration
I had a driver and visited Taman Ayun, Kedaton and Tanah Lot. Great driver/guide named Krisna. He had a lot of questions about U.S. government and thought our policy of presidential term limits is a great idea.
Due to the holiday there were few tourists at the places I visited but many Balinese families and Muslim visitors from other parts of Indo (especially at Tanah Lot). We passed a lot of festival revellers in the streets, mini-parades with masks and the 2-person beast costume.
The first stop was Mengwi. This is an impressive temple complex surrounded by fountains and ponds on vast grounds. Just outside the entrance there was a bit of a flea market for locals featuring clothes, toys, handbags thus answering the question of where do the Balinese go shopping? There were a lot of beverage sellers featuring local treats of box flavored milk, juice in a bag and mini-cokes.
At the Kedaton Monkey Forest I got suckered into the tour guide who happens to own a store scam. Didn’t see it coming. The monkey forest was extremely crowded with Balinese families and their very excited kids. There’s a few trails (but not much atmosphere). The trails were crowded and slow. There’s no actual temple here. After the ‘tour’ the ‘guide’ asked me to stop in her store. I was a little pissed as Krisna had told me to use her as a tour guide. I was in no mood until I saw the handmade lace tops she was selling. I bought two. Ok, point, set, match for the shopkeeper
On the way to Tanah Lot it comes up that I can ask Krisna to get me on a day tour cheaper than what the hotel charges me if I arrange it directly through him. We discuss a North Bali itinerary for tomorrow.
Tanah Lot – what can I say. I can certainly see why this temple is SO famous. Its complex is extensive and it’s located on the water. There were tons of Muslim tourists from Bali and other islands visiting. And of course more Balinese families. The main worship area is actually across the water and must be waded to. There were religious processions going back and forth with their offerings. I took lots of pictures. There were more statues dressed up in cloth.
Krisna mentioned he has 2 kids in college. I’m not sure where. I don’t believe there’s an colleges on Bali and only a handful in Indo at all. Even K – 12 has high tuition since there are no income taxes to cover these expenses. A lot of kids don’t go to school at all. None of the kids at the homestay in Ubud appeared to go to school.
Back in Sanur I got some lunch. The best sate in Bali is found at Made’s restaurant. They bring a miniture grill to your table still flaming the meat. Their gado gado is great too.
After lunch I went to the pool. It was already late afternoon — and that’s when I met Colin, Peter, Clem and Jo. I was battling with my lounge chair and Colin offered to help. Which started off our conversation.
Cocktails before dinner with my new Kiwi friends. That night we went out for a great meal at Swastika I. This is a celeb restaurant for Sanur. It’s long-established and well-known. They opened a second Swastika closer to the Griya which features dancing. However, due to the holiday it was closed. A lot of places in Sanur feature dances but they didn’t run their performances due to poor tourist turnout. Some restaurants on the beach have feeble attempts at live western music.
At Swastika I had this special nasi goreng. This is actually the first nasi goreng I ordered in Bali even though it’s the staple of the Balinese diet. Generally there are too many exciting things on a menu for me to resort to simple chicken fried rice. This portion came with fried chicken and a sate stick on the side. And there was fried egg on the rice and krupuk. I didn’t like the krupuk until Peter explained to me that you’re supposed to use it as a scoop for the rice and eat it at the same time. Aha! I’d been eating it plain and found it too fishy and salty. Jo & Clem had risstoefl (pronounced ‘rice table’). Very much like the one at Ketut’s homestay but his was more extensive. I had some Bintang beer but skipped dessert. Met later on Col & Jo’s patio for coffee. There room is across from mine.