April 1, 2017
Today ended up being one of my favorite days in Bali. We checked out of the hotel after we enjoyed the best breakfast ever and were picked up by Wayan to head east.
Our first stop was Campuhan Ridge (since we had missed it on our Ubud day). There is a beautiful old bridge here and if we had time, I would’ve loved to trek through the rice fields.
Some passing sights…Good and bad…
Daging Wood Carving Studio
We headed to a wood carving shop next because my mom and I love this kind of art. My parents have ridiculous wood carvings throughout our house and from day one in Bali, my mom couldn’t stop talking about how special the wood in Bali was. I apparently grew up to develop the same fascination with wood carvings.
At the studio Wayan brought us to, we watched people carving wood and learned all about the different types of wood in Bali: crocodile wood, hibiscus wood- red, hibiscus wood – yellow flower, ebony wood, sandalwood, allaway wood (?), and Kapallen wood. So many trees.
After our 5 minute lesson, we went inside to shop. After shopping, bargaining, and debating back and forth whether to buy for over an hour (these are tough bargainers), I ended up walking out with a sandalwood statue of Ganesha, an elephant god that stands for wisdom and is known for protecting homes. The carvings are so detailed! They are incredible. I’m glad my mom was there and she’s been buying wood carvings all her life and she said the price we bargained down to was okay but it’s not like we’d find the same thing any where else.
Bat Cave Temple (Goa Lawah)
The bat cave is an interesting temple. Apparently at the bottom of the cave are snakes and it’s said that if the bats do bad things, they’ll fall and get eaten by these snakes. Another example of the balance of good and bad.
The bats are said to have been here for centuries and somewhere during this time, the Balinese built a temple inside the bat cave. I can’t comprehend how they were able to accomplish such a feat but they did it. The cave smells and the bats make loud squeaking noises. However, Wayan says that when they have ceremonies here, the bats keep quiet.
This reminded me of the stories my mom used to tell me about her Buddhist temple is San Jose. I remember going there as a little kid and there were always peacocks and rabbits running around. She used to tell us that during their ceremonies (which I rarely attended), the rabbits would go down the aisle and bow down too. I suppose there is definitely some relation between these creatures and religion. Maybe it’s just the peace and calm created by these temples that attract these animals. Or maybe it is the gods. Who knows.
Next, we headed to Teganang Village, a traditional Balinese village. The lifestyle here is the same as Bali traditions from years ago. There are hundreds of families in the village that live in little huts lined up in rows. Every few homes make up a small group which in its entirety make up the community. If a man outside of the village wanted to marry a woman within the village, he would have to give the entire village an ox and enough rice to feed all 200+ families. A very expensive cost! The village depends primarily on farming but it clearly also depends on tourism.
As we walked through the village, we saw many stalls of palm leaf art carved with burnt macadamia nut. One old man’s carvings was so intriguing, my mother ended up paying $30 for a piece of his work. He had explained to us the entire process and he let me try carving my name (it’s really hard!). His carvings were really much more detailed than the few other ones we’d seen. My mom was obsessed with Barong(?) the goddess since she saw her at the wood carving studio and this man had a beautiful piece that my mom loved. He had spent a week creating it so I felt really bad bargaining for it. I told my mom to just pay the price stated. It’s just so much to them and really not that much for us.
Along the way to our next stop, we passed the Candidasa Beach. There were only 3 other people there when we stopped by. Feels more like a port than a relaxing beach. Nice short stop to enjoy some coastal views.
Ujung Water Palace
This water palace was my favorite place in all of Bali. It had such a calm and peaceful feel throughout the entire place. This was originally made for royalty, kind of a summer home for the royal family at one point. It’s been well kept over time and it’s almost a park for the local people. There were lots of people jogging and strolling through. With such amazing ocean views at a historical site, the Water Palace is the perfect place to spend your time.
Look at all the beautiful flowers and plants in the palace too!
Tirta Gangga park
We headed to another water palace for a quick 30 minute stop. This park was a lot smaller and it was also really beautiful. Also very peaceful and serene.
We headed toward our hotel Giri Carik after our long day out to check in. I realized late check in was at 7pm so luckily we made it just in time. Sidemen is considered pretty country. Wayan asked us why we would consider staying out there. Food wasn’t accessible and it’s very quiet. And the quiet was exactly what we wanted. Just to get away and relax. As we approached, we realized it was literally in the middle of no where. The skies were cloudy when we arrived and it was kind of unimpressive. Our room was a little open air and we freaked out about mosquitos. I had already been bit pretty badly during the last few days. My mom demanded repellent and they immediately set up bug repellent burners for us. My mom even wanted to change rooms to a less airy room but realized all the villas had openings so we stayed put. I am so glad we didn’t move because the views in the morning were INCREDIBLE. One of the most beautiful views I’ve ever woken up to. Anyway, getting ahead of myself.
Once we were settled in our hotel room, Wayan took us to his friend’s restaurant nearby. He recommended some great dishes and it was so good! One of our favorite meals.
Wayan dropped us off back to our hotel and we relaxed on the patio outside of our room. The temperatures had dropped significantly and it was actually cool and comfortable. We could hear everything going on around us: the frogs, the crickets, and whatever unidentifiable insects. There was definitely a bat that kept flying in and out of the patio too. I was a little nervous about it at first and eventually got used to it. The wifi was also really slow but we loved being out there. It was actually kind of like glamping! My mom kept saying this was exactly what it was like growing up in Taiwan. It was kind of cool experiencing this with her.