Day: October 19, 2017
Exploring West Bali: Day 1
For a whopping $260, Teresa and her two boys, and me with 5 of my creatures, hired a 15 passenger mini bus with a driver, to explore the north west side of Bali for 3 days. Made (Ma-day) was our driver, and our chariot was huge, with plenty of room for everyone to stretch out and enjoy the sights.
We told Made that we had some places picked out to see but wanted to just drive and pull off at spots that caught our eye. We each packed a back pack, some snorkel gear, and cameras, and set out on our adventure.
Made suggested we make a couple stops – the first being in Gianyar at the Batik Factory. We were shown how women use a pencil and trace a print onto white fabric,
then use gold paint to outline the pattern,
followed by various layers of dye and wax.
Sometimes stamps are made by carving intricate designs into wood, then dipped into paint and stamped onto the fabric in a pattern.
In the end when the fabric is immersed in hot water and all the wax is melted off, the wax can be reused for the next batik. The factory was full of beautiful fabrics,
silk scarves, ties and other clothing.
They also had a large loom where a woman was weaving cloth.
The thread was first laid out so a pattern could be designed. On the left the different colored thread that make up the pattern are not in place yet, where as on the right they are.
Once the pattern is determined, the thread is unraveled and prepared for the loom, then slowly woven into place. It’s an amazing process.
Made’s second suggestion took us to the UC Silver Factory. We were first led through an area that reminded me of a sweat shop of sorts.
Small desks each outfitted with a lamp where workers sat, hammering, filing, heating and shining pieces of silver,
It was so hot in there and I could not imagine doing such tedious work hour after hour under a lamp – day after day.
Each employee is searched when they exit the room. This woman was making the tiny 4mm rings that one would slide a chain through and place pendant on, on a necklace. One tiny ring at a time…
We walked over to the showroom, where more jewelry is displayed than I’ve ever seen in one place in my life. My sister would love it! So many over priced silver rings, bracelets, necklaces, pendants and brooches galore! We weren’t allowed to take photos inside, but it’s impressive. Th exterior of the building is covered in sculptures of dragonflies,
and more frogs!
We continued north on our journey, passing through many small villages, rice paddies and forests. Looking down off a tall bridge, made Jude a little nervous, but the view was beautiful
Close by, farmers carried bundles of freshly hand cut weeds for animals to consume, while others worked in the fields.
We stopped down the road to look out over the foggy valley and Aidan spotted an abandoned hotel that he so badly wants to go back to and explore.
Driving past mountain sides with large patches of cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, tomatoes and chillies, made me want to design and create a quilt.
We arrived at Kebun Raya Bali (Botanical Gardens), which is in the mountainous regions of Bedugul. The gardens were established in 1959 and are filled with gorgeous tall trees,
amazing tree top fun (which we didn’t do because it was pretty expensive),
and a Karate Kid look alike!
Jude climbed up on the same little perch and told me she was “stumped” (so full of puns). The gardens were divided up into many areas – each with a different kind of flower. Most of the orchids were not in bloom, but those that were, were so beautiful.
I’m convinced that orchids and octopus are somehow distantly related…
Each blossom has such a unique little face. I think it’s sticking its tongue out at the ant.
As we approached the cactus house we could see mischief in the works. A barrel of monkeys had dumped garbage all over and were rummaging through it.
Gorgeous blooms spread out from thick green cactus,
strange sci-fi looking pods and
tiny flowers nestled deep inside the mother plant, all caught my attention, holding me hostage as I studied them in awe.
I had seen them all before but never tire of their beauty.
Outside, beds filled with bright red lilies stood tall and proud.
Emma found a flower on the ground and decorated her face…
We walked and explored and sat and talked, enjoying the cool mountain air.
All of us noticed the huge difference in air quality between the southern, more populated part of the island, to here where cars and scooters by the 1000’s aren’t polluting the air.
We felt like we wanted to take huge breaths of air and feel the clean coolness through our bodies.
After leaving the botanical gardens we stopped by a farmers market on the way to the water temple.
Delicious fresh fruit lay beautifully on display and vegetables looked so clean and orderly.
We tried some of the dried food that was so neatly packed up for sale, and were surprised by the delicious taste of the spinach.
After meandering through the market place,
we once again loaded up and set out for Pure Ulun Danu Beratan.
This temple is on the shores of Lake Bratan at 1200 m above sea level, and is used for offerings to the water, lake and river Goddess, Dewi Danu.
The 11 story pelinggih meru in the complex, is dedicated to Shiva (a Supreme Being) and Parvathi (the Goddess of fertility).
The grounds surrounding the area are beautiful, with bright flowers,
and majestic entry ways.
While there we heard music and saw a procession of Hindu’s, carrying offerings and making their way to the temple for ceremony – all led by a priest in a black and white checkered sarong, representing good and evil – ying and yang.
Woman carried baskets of fruit and flowers on their heads,
men carried incense, banners and offerings,
and everyone was happy and united.
A beautiful older woman stood off to the side, and I couldn’t help but notice the wisdom in her eyes.
Our final excursion for the day took us to Gitgit Waterfall, which is close to the old island capital, Singaraja.
These beautiful falls emit a soothing cool spray which is incredibly inviting after the walk down many stairs from the main road.
The boys climbed around for a bit while Teresa and I relaxed and watched the heavy flow cascading down.
The bathroom facility at the falls has the prettiest walkway over stepping stones in water…
When we finally reached our bungalows for the night, we were thoroughly exhausted. Our bodies felt wonderful in the large swimming pool outside our door, then after a shower and some ice cream, I believe I melted onto the sheets without another word.