Day 62 – Nyepi:
As Nyepi is, Nyepi does and this is not really one to spend a great deal of time except that ‘everything stops for (not for tea but) Nyepi! We stayed in at the hotel as we could not actually go anywhere else, Liz spent a bit of time at the pool but all in all there was very little else to do. We dined in on the provisions we had stocked up on yesterday, so pretty poor fare really but food. We both caught up on a bit of our writings – me on the blog and Liz her diary, though I could not post anything as the internet though not down was (useless) out for the count! Nyepi gives with one hand and the great festivities of yesterday and takes back with the other on the actual day so if you ever go to Bali around March 21st please bear this in mind!
Day 63 – A Tale of Two Temples
Today we had no idea of what to do so we decided to take a bit of a gamble and go and engage the services of one of the local taxi drivers to take us to see a couple of the big local temples – The Elephant Cave and The Water Palace – both were a bit of a short run from Ubud. The driver we picked seemed quite genuine and spoke good English to boot so off we went.
Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) was first up and the weather at this point of the day was very very hot and dry. We walked all the way round it and it was very interesting – to begin with to get in we had to get ‘saronged up’ to venture forth so we made quite a fashion statement when we entered. The place was very good to go round with a bit of everything really – a wee river, a cave, a few ponds, a tree with a curious looking root system and a lot of Hindu elephant imagery around everything – all you could ask for really.
As ever, an old old Hindu gave us a blessing at one of the smaller shrine areas – which came at a price – this was one of those where it did not look like he was extracting money until he had finished the blessing and then he lifted a portion of carpet, rock , whatever and there was his ‘stash’. I am not sure which came first the money or the religion or does one simply begat the other, answers please on a postcard. The place though was really worth a visit and the Hindu carvings as ever were both intricate and somewhat grotesque but still really fascinating.
The next stop was the Water Palace and by the time we got there the heavens were just starting to open up and in Indonesia when the heavens go for it you sure know about it! Our driver dropped us at the Water Palace and we waited for about twenty minutes at the entrance in order to wait for the rain to abate slightly but it was absolutely bucketing it down. We decided to give it a go and for our pains were given brollies upon getting inside.
However, inside though it felt quite apt to be visiting the temple when there were huge amounts of water dropping out of the skies. The temple itself had huge carvings made into the small cliff walls and a river running through the middle as well as a waterfall at the end – I cannot do it justice but it looked really impressive but very holy as well. All around the place there were rice fields as well, the perfect setting for the temple.
As we came out of the temple the rain had slowed somewhat and as our driver had offered to take us to a ‘freebie’ to see a particular brand of coffee the area was famous for we decided to give it a go. A clue should’ve been that the coffee in question was called ‘Cat-Poo-Chino’ and as we started the ‘tour’ the heavens opened up once more.
This meant that the staff there had to cover us with more umbrellas in order to go for the tasting of both the various coffees and fruit teas – one coffee being the infamous ‘Cat-Poo-Chino’ – the fruit teas were mostly very nice but the coffees were quite frankly horrible in particular the ‘Cat-Poo-Chino’ which turned out to be coffee beans eaten and crapped out by Civets – delightful bouquet eh! Hopefully more of the Chinos and less of the other two flavours! We were absolutely soaked had seen a couple of temples and drunk some stuff which tasted (and was) crap but all in all it was a day well spent.