Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bali Trip - Day 3 - Central and Eastern Bali

After a glorious day yesterday, we were fully excited about the day ahead,  although it was a couple of temples that we had planned to visit. Based on Internet reviews, we had selected Pura Saraswathi in Ubud and Tirtha Empul in Tampaksering.  Tiirta Ganga in Candidasa was dropped as it would have been a
stretch to cover in one day. Ubud is a hilly region, so the drive was beautiful with lovely canyons and twisty narrow roads,  although since they use a mixture of volcanic soil,  the roads are in good condition. Near the monkey forest,  we realised that there is only a hotel called Puri Saraswathi and no temple.

So we de-toured into the Monkey forest,  and glad we did that.  I have never seen so many monkeys before! And they were extremely comfortable with people and even aggressive if we don't give them any food items we carry.  My kid was sooper excited and didn't want to go away at all! One of the local visitor even got his hand bitten trying to defend his infant's milk bottle, but chose to salute the monkey god for his kindness in not taking away the milk. Such is the  faith of these Balinese Hindus in the Muslim majority country.

A one hour drive ahead brought us to Tirtha empul, which was the site where Sage Agasthya was requested to come and bless the parched land and bring water. After 14 days tapas, he tapped the land with his stick and out poured water into this thirsty land. Even now,  Balinese from all over the Island come to this place to bath in the holy water and wash off their sins.  We managed to witness one such prayer.

We then travelled down east to Candidasa, a beach resort on the eastern shores. The 2 hour scenic drive with mountains on one side and sea on the other brought us to the small town of Candidasa where there was an array of beach resorts and villas. We were staying at the Bali Palm resort which came highly recommended from a friends friend. First impressions were good with an apartment in the style of a villa right on the edge of the beach with a full size swimming pool overlooking the Lombok strait. However once inside, it all went pear shaped. It can't get worse than a mosquito infested house with a toilet that stinks and a flush that doesn't err flush!

We went for a walk to get some fresh air and saw a cliffy beach where we sampled the local coconut. We might have been a bit more adventurous with the local food stall if not for the kid. On the way,  one of the local drivers was checking about a trip tomorrow, so we jumped at the opportunity to negotiate a good price for the Northern Bali trip, which was half what the hotel guys were charging. We sampled the customized vegetarian dishes from the restaurant watching the sea do its thing. We fell asleep sooner than on any other day mainly because we were fed up.

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