April 2, 2017
The next day we woke up to a beautiful view of Mt. Agung. We had no idea the view would be so incredible when we arrived the night before. It really clears up in the morning. I had to take a quick swim in the pool. It was the perfect setting to take one of those “back” photos where you’re looking out and enjoying the scenery. I had a really hard time trying to explain this concept to my mom but she ended up taking a great photo anyway!
The hotel breakfast was simple and the best part was the juice. Bali’s tropical fruits are great for all sorts of juices and smoothies. I don’t think we ever had a bad one (other than that first coconut water).
As I got ready, our driver for the day pulled up. Wayan’s son was sick so we got someone else instead- Ketut. I was really disappointed. I think I had grown a bit attached to Wayan over the past two days and his ways. Ketut’s English was good but he wasn’t as good as Wayan in planning. I’m actually pretty bitter we missed the Kintamani volcano view because he didn’t realize we had to go there first thing in the morning (Wayan says you have to go before 1pm). But no big deal, we still had a good day.
To start, Ketut took us to Padang Bay so I could go snorkeling. We went with some random people who probably ripped us off (My mom complained about this to Wayan the next day and he says we could’ve rented our own snorkels and just swam out! -__- life without Wayan…) We walked through a little forested area to a little shack. I got on a tiny little boat driven by two little boys and they dropped my off in the middle of the ocean. These kids did not speak English so I just did my own thing. My snorkel fogged up too and by the time they realized this, we were called back to land. The corals and the fish were beautiful! The kids kept feeding the fish so they kept coming in schools. It was so fun to see all these little fishes gathered. There was one long fish with a trumpet mouth that we saw. All the other fish were just so colorful. I wish I had a waterproof camera to document this.
My mom can’t swim so she didn’t get on the boat. Instead, she apparently spent two hours chatting with Ketut. My mom sure can talk. She learned about his entire life story. When he was 26 (?), his mom past away and he realized he had been depending on her to survive his entire life, not doing a lick of work in his life. So two year ago, he found a job as soon as he could and eventually ended up as a tour guide for Bali Golden 6 months ago. He regretted not working or helping his mother when she was alive, but now he was driven to do well. He said it was really nice that I brought my mom to Bali and when he was younger, he never even thought of it. It was all about himself back then. My mom told him she grew up in a very similar lifestyle to his when he was young. She was lucky to have gone to the US to build a life. I obviously wasn’t there to hear all this but that was her summary of their two hour convo.
My mom was dying to get fresh fruits from the market. She sure knows and loves food, especially tropical fruits. As we were driving to our next destination, we passed Ketut’s village, Kamasan and he volunteered to take us to their market. This was such an amazing experience. We were clearly tourists in a very remote, local market place. People kept asking him who we were. Apparently he joked with Wayan that he was prepping for the the holiday with these two American ladies. It was a very busy day because people were preparing for celebration on April 5, in two days. Tomorrow was a day for cooking so today was a day for buying food at the market.
Look at the size of these peppers and veggies! The bok choy was over a foot long!
At the market, two kids came up to us asking for money and Ketut hands them some. My nosy mom, having lived in China for years, immediately tells him he shouldn’t give them money. She assumes they could have been kidnapped and forced to beg but Ketut explains to us that’s not really an issue in Bali. In the big cities of Indonesia maybe but not here, especially during times of celebration. They are a very giving people and they understand that these celebrations cost a lot of money, so families bring their children to the market during these festive times to ask for money. We felt pretty guilty for not giving money after that.
And then we were on the hunt for suckling pick for lunch at like 2pm. Some of the food apparently had run out by then. Ketut brought us to a real local lunch spot. With all my stomach problems, I was a little alarmed by the flies inside but the food was decent and really cheap. Most families and local shops in Bali cook all meals first thing in the morning and keep it out all day. They don’t reheat their food and just eat it cold. That was interesting to us. So our meal was cold which was ok because their hot sauces are good!
We then tried to see the Kintamani Volcano but it was covered in pure fog. You have to go before 1pm we learned from Wayan the next day and I’m really upset Ketut didn’t know that and had us going snorkeling first. No volcano and no hot springs…
So we headed to Busakih temple. The temple is built on a hill or mountain. It layout represents the caste system with the sutra at bottom. After reading all the negative reviews about the haggling and varied prices at the temple, I didn’t want to come here. But last month, in March 2017, the government apparently changed the ticketing/guide policy and enforced a fixed rate 60,000 for a guide and entrance. Tipping is optional. It was actually a very relaxing, calm experience. Definitely the right way to enjoy seeing and walking through a temple. We learned a lot of things. But some recurring themes were the black and white- good and bad again. The colors black, white, red, yellow represented earth, wind, destroyer, something else. And buildings can’t be higher than the local temple.
After our temple visit, we went on a food souvenir hunt. Ketut showed us all the popular hot sauces and noodles and we bought a bunch of stuff. Which I found out later that most of these noodles we bought are sold in the states!
Back to Sidemen
We ended the night at a restaurant across the road from our hotel, Warung Ida. Since it was so close by, we let Ketut heading home. The food was so good!
Our Sidemen hotel is literally in the middle of no where and at night, it’s incredibly quiet and relaxing. Of the hotels we stayed at in Bali, this was my favorite place to wind down. So far from the city, the noise, and people. Just peace calm quiet (ish- there were still that bat and crickets and whatever other insects).