Day 3: A day to shop, experience culture and dine by the beach
Bali Travel Blog› entry 3 of 4 › view all entries
My initial itinerary for day 3 was to relax until it was time to check out and head to the guesthouse in Kuta, where I initially made reservations to stay for a night. Since I decided not to leave Ron's little sanctuary, I called Patricia to ask her what her plans were for today, but she had none. So we both planned to do a little shopping in Seminyak, not too far from Kuta.
As I was enjoying my breakfast by the pool, Barney came over and introduced me to his tour guide (I forgot his name, I swear!) who was to take him, Heather and Wally (whom by now, I found out, had a crush on me! :P) up north of the island on Sunday and asked if I wanted to come along.
So an hour later, at 10am, the guide picks me up and we head to Kuta to pick up Patricia and go to the Geneva handicraft mall. This mall is four storeys high and one can find all sorts of souvenirs and crafts - from bags, jewelry boxes, place mats to pewter, bronze, wooden and even ivory carvings. The prices ranged from as little as USD0.50 up to USD100 and maybe more for antiques. I got a few items for my family and friends, while Patricia couldn't find much of anything that was representative of Bali, and I don't blame her. The carvings that were for sale were either heavy or antique, and I'm not much of antique enthusiast to bother spending so much on something old.
We were done in an hour, found our guide waiting for us outside the store, who then took us back to Kuta for lunch. He dropped us in front of the art market, or Pasar Seni, where we agreed to wait for him after two hours. Then we frantically went looking for a place to eat as Patricia was feeling weak from dehydration and hunger. Walking thru a mall in the area and exiting over the other side, we chanced upon Dulang cafe. Dulang had a similar menu to Made's Warung, but somehow the food just tasted better. After our lunch of chicken salad (for Pat) and Nasi Goreng (for me), we went looking for coffee and found a Coffee Bean franchise just next door. Yippee!! I missed my dose of ice-blended coffee topped with yummy, fattening cream, and just had to have a big plastic glass of it! Once coffee was done, we walked back to the art market where we got a few items like souvenir t-shirts and a wood carving of a ceremonial cremation scene that Pat picked up for USD10, we were ready to head out to Uluwatu.
The drive took a half hour as we had to drive up a hill of windy roads. One of the things that I noticed about Bali is this "gateway" that welcomes visitors to a home, business establishment as well as temples. The gateway has a carved face of a demon on each side that is said to keep out unwanted guests and evil doers, which I found to be absolutely cool!! While some were simple in design, there were more intricate designs, and sadly, I hadn't the opportunity to capture them with my cam! :(
So, half an hour later, we arrive at the assembly point in Uluwatu and the first order of business is to pay IDR1000 for vehicle entrance, which I think was a parking fee. We drive up a further 100meters to find a parking spot and just before we get out of the van, our guide warned us about not wearing much jewelry and not to carry any kind of food as the monkeys, or the "guardians of the temple" as I like to call them, will take anything they can quickly cart away, from your bag, hands as well as ears!! And they do it fast! So I stripped off my earrings and only carried my camera with me, while Patricia insisted on carrying her bottle of water, although she was discouraged from doing so, and was sure the monkeys would not want her bottle of water! He he, she would soon find out how wrong she was! ;)
The first thing we needed to do was pay an entrance fee per person to enter the temple grounds, which cost IDR3000 (about USD1) and collect our sarung as well as a sash to hold it together.
Anyways, after "covering" ourselves, we followed our guide, first downhill then up again towards the temple grounds. We were expecting to catch a glimpse of the temple's "guardians" - the infamous monkeys, known to terrorise tourists for their food and steal sunglasses as well as jewelry while they were at it. At least that's what I read about in countless blogs!! :P But we hadn't seen any. Even our guide was surprised that none were around. We stopped about ten feet from the foot of the steps tht was at least two storeys high, as our guide gave us a history of the temple and the temples of Bali in general, as well as the type of celebrations that go on throughout the year.
When we reached the top, we were informed that we weren't allowed into the main prayer area as it was sacred and only Hindus who wanted to make offerings and offer up prayers were allowed to enter. At this time, there was a family that walked through the gates and stopped just after entering to make their offerings to the gods, oblivious to the many tourists lingering around.
We then made our way around the temple ground and found ourselves on a cliff that looked simply breathtaking, especially since the sun was about to set, and stayed for a few minutes before making our way down and across to the open stage where the Kecak dance was to begin.
Making our way across, we finally see them! The monkeys!! They were seated on the walls that surrounded the temple grounds (falling off would mean the death of you!), enjoying pieces of fruit that some of the tourists had purchased at the entrance to feed them. I was careful not to walk too close to them when I hear a squeak behind me... it was Patricia! She had a monkey holding on to her sarung as she walked. Looking at me helpless and a little nervous, I told her that he probably wanted the bottle of water she had in her hands and asked her to give it to him, unless she wanted it pried out of her hands!! :O So she hands the bottle over and walks over as quickly as she could, relieved and amused at the thought of a monkey capable of opening the the bottle to have a drink!! LOL!
We find our seats in the colloseum-like arena, and enjoy the sunset as more and more tourists start packing in before the show had started at 7pm.
It got chilly on our way back down to the parking lot to meet with our guide, where our next stop was Jimbaran Bay for seafood dinner by the beach. To make his commission, our guide brought us to his assigned seafood restaurant, and I've forgotten the name as I was just to hungry to observe much else but the expectation of our food. The restaurant was one of many along the Jimbaran coastline. There was entertainment with a four-piece band that played cover songs with just a guitar, a bass and a set of bongos! They didn't do too bad either.
With the minimal amount of money we had left, Patricia and ordered dinner set for two which set us back IDR300,000. The dinner consisted of rice served with fried beans and a seafood platter of shrimp, mussels, fish and squid, all grilled with similar spices! We actually thought that it wouldn't take too long for the restaurant to prepare a dinner set meal, but we waited for 20 long minutes, and it was obvious that they had forgotten about our order, as the only thing that was served warm was the rice! I was ticked off, but too hungry to bother complaining about it. So we stuff ourselves and enjoyed the complimentary glass of watermelon juice (which came as part of the dinner set) as well as cut fruits for dessert.
An hour later we headed back, and I said goodbye to Patricia as we dropped her off near her hotel.
Fifteen minutes later, I arrive at my hotel and thank my guide, promising to recommend him to future travellers headed to Bali (watch this space for his name and telephone no.). As I walk back to my room, I find a bunch of bougainvillas in a beer bottle, which looked like they'd been plucked from one of Ron's trees and a note outside my door. I carry the flower-filled booze bottle and unlock my door, close it behind me and sit down on my bed as I read the note, which came from my "neighbor", Wally, who thanked me for my company and hopes to say goodbye before I leave in the morning. I walked over to his room to thank him, but looked in his room window to find the television on, watching him sleep! :P So I walk over to ROn and Irma, who were discussing business matters over a simple meal of instant noodles, which Ron explains is something he and Irma have on a regular basis as they hardly ever eat (Ron's physique is attributed to the numerous bottles of Bintang beer he has for break, lunch and dinner, I was told! :P).
I was sincerely amazed and walked back to my room to get the money to pay him, plus the transport for the airport transfers. As I was short of local currency, it was a good thing I had Malaysian currency to pay him with but still felt it was a little short, as I hadn't expected to pay for the other incidentals when I had gone to Uluwatu. I explained this as I paid him but offered to pay him in full with my credit card, which he earlier said he would arrange to have me paid that way.
I would miss Bali. The people, the places, they all made my stay truly memorable. I only wish I played the proper tourist and took more pictures!!