After scouring the net for a hotel at a reasonable price, we decided on Ani's Villas, because they are located very near Rumah Baca, where most of the children's workshops were held. My parents put up at Sri Ratih Cottages , which was more expensive, but lovelier and more suitable for the elderly.
Across Ani's Villa is a very large temple. (Photo above.) The sun here rises earlier than in Malaysia, and on the first morning there, I was woken early, (5:30am!) by sounds of gamelan music coming from the temple. I didn't mind it at all, afterall, I was there to experience the culture. While hubby and the children continued sleeping, I sat and watched the preparation and all the early morning bustle happening at the temple.
When the rest of the brood got up, we booked a driver for the day and did a day tour of some touristy spots. Taxi there is cheap, ranging from 200,000 to 450,000 per day. By the way, most drivers/men here will introduce themselves to you as wayan, made, putu or ketut depending on their position in the family. So when you get their name card, it's wise to note their given name. Saying from experience because by the second day, I had a stack of taxi cards mostly with the name Wayan, and I made several phone calls before I found the Wayan I was looking for!
Some pictures from our first day.
1) Tirta Empul Temple (Holy Water Spring). Very huge temple grounds. While we were there, they were preparing for a major festival. The temple was a hive of activity with devotees preparing all sorts of offerings from weaving baskets and decoration to preparing food.
|Devotees bathing to purify themselves|
|Preparing offerings for a major prayer celebration. Lots of weaving going on.|
|Shaping swans out of dough, which is then deep fried and used as offering.|
|Offering baskets consisting of fruits, herbs and deep fried dough.|
2) Kintamani Batur Lake and Volcano (Stunning scenery!) My husband, brother and nephews did a cycling tour here. They cycled 40km, mostly downhill, with stops in between to look at padi fields and farms.
3) Terraced Rice Fields. To me, this is a must see. Just so beautiful. You can take a walking tour through the rice fields and make friends with locals. Balinese are extremely friendly and hospitable people.
|Canang Sari. Offerings of flowers, made daily for their gods.|
|Smelling dried herbs.|
|I really loved the Lemon Grass Tea!! Oh so refreshing!|
|Our local guide showing us the difference between regular coffee beans and Kopi Luwak (coffee from the poop of civets.) They claim that they no longer keep civets in cages to produce coffee, but look for droppings of wild civets. Hmm...|
|Kids got a go at frying coffee beans, pounding, sieving etc.|
|This guy learnt the art of wood carving at the age of 10. He's been carving ever since. He said that the art of wood carving is best learnt young, and knowledge is passed down within the family.|
To be continued...