Thursday, September 18, 2014

(Budget) Eat, Pray, LOVE (Part 2 of 2)

[edited by ecym]

On Day 5, where we started our day at Goa Gajah (Rp15k/adult), or Elephant Cave, which was built in the 9th century, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Cultural) since 1995. Upon arrival though, one would have thought it was a Cat Cave instead, because the entrance was overrun by families of them. The site consisted of a bathing temple, which was probably used to purify one's wrongdoings (like the Tirta Empul on our 2nd day), and the temple itself, where an Elephant was supposedly carved into the rock facade (but don't ask me, I couldn't find any slight resemblance to any elephant anywhere). We were also lucky to have caught a staff with the daily offerings to the monuments. Lunch was next, and since we only had an evening view the last time, Toto decided to bring us back to Sawah Indah, for our meal amid the padi fields. It was such a relaxing atmosphere, with the staff taking their time, mid day breeze cooling us under the shelter of thatched huts, ponds surrounding those huts, and being away from the bustle of tourists, I highly recommend a meal, or five, here.

That, of course, was in sharp contrast to our next destination, the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary (Rp30k/adult), where the pesky macaques were given top billing (and where they even have other animals [deer] to gawk at). They look exactly the same as those I'd seen at Bukit Timah, but the problem was, we were encouraged to feed them (bananas on sale) as well as treat them with reverence (for some people are here to pay respect to them). We were in a constant state of fear; will they snatch my glasses? Or, my wig? Are they eyeing my porno VCD? Luckily, by strictly following the guidelines, we left largely unscathed, and had an unexpectedly fun time watching them go about their normal lives doing silly stuff. A short visit to the Ubud Palace, where most rooms were closed to visitors, and we were off to another iconic site, Tanah Lot. This was quite a destination as there were a few more temples other than Tanah Lot to visit, along with a sunset view, a rock concert seemingly held for hippies with their classic cars, inter-tidal pools where we could catch our own seafood buffet (crabs, gobies, and even seaweed for roughage), and a temple procession with the tide in our favour. Oh yes, a memorable day made even better with a real seafood meal at a warung.

And now, to our other highlight of the trip: the Turtle Conservation and Education Centre, where they have a proper 'adoption' program where one can free the turtlets (that's what baby turtles are called, right?) for Rp100k, and also where they take in injured turtles for rehabilitation before they might be put out to sea again. We spent some time there; those among us with maternal instincts choosing turtlets that seemed most lively, so that they may have a better chance of survival in the hungry sea. We were transported to the nearest beach, and bade a teary farewell to 3 turtlets, as well as wished them all the luck in the next step of their journey. Lunch was resolved at Naughty Nuri's, where they had 'wicked ribs and brutal martinis'. I can vouch for the ribs; as for the martinis, you might want to check with my daughter.

A relaxing afternoon for the family was next on the agenda, with the 4 of them staying back at the hotel while Eliss & I looked for sleazy massage. Unable to find any, we settled for the legitimate ones. It was an enjoyable affair, except for the Teochew Singaporean Aunties (It's a small world after all, was the song that kept looping in my head) in the next room who kept gossiping with each other. Yes, I couldn't help but practise my rusty Teochew, shouting for them to tone down. I was still stewing a little after that, but nothing so serious that a meal at our favourite Chinese eatery Taipan can't solve.

The only thing in common I had with Julia Roberts, was that our adventures for the year ended in Bali. While she found love there, I had mine with me the whole trip. Ok, I know; enough of the mushy stuff, and on to our itinerary:

Given that it was our last day, we decided to have it finally, and REALLY, free and easy, and that meant heading to the beach (yet again). Sanur beach, with beachside masseuse, as well as rental of kayaks (Rp7k/hour), was our destination. Lonesome me, with no one willing to accompany, foolishly paddled out to deeper waters excitedly to capture the marine life. Coincidentally, those 'sea walking' groups - akin to those aquanauts of decades past - were in the midst of their activity at this time, and I decided to 'hitch a ride'. Their Staff were extremely helpful and told this lone kayaker where to get the best view of the marine flora/fauna. I happily jumped into the water upon finding the spot. Wait a minute, how do I get back up the kayak again? Crash! Came the relentless waves, and somehow dislodged my Fujifilm underwater camera from my arm. 1 of the staff helpfully dived in, and helped me retrieve it. Alas, it was all in vain as the camera eventually disappeared before our flight. R.I.P. Fujifilm (our only consolation was that insurance was bought and S$150 was successfully claimed).

Meanwhile, on shore, Eliss and gang chanced upon a turtlet. Looking a little distressed, and knowing that the Turtle Conservation and Education Centre that we visited yesterday was just minutes away, we decided to give the 'lil fella a chance, and send it back there for some rehab. Toto then sent us to another ribs house, Iiga Warung for our mid day snack (feedback: Naughty Nuri's was better). A restful afternoon in the hotel later, I decided we must relax by the beach, and hurried to Kuta beach for the always reliable sunset show. Finally, I think, I know what Bali is about.

Goa Gajah

Goa Gajah

Goa Gajah

Sawah Indah

 Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary

 That bottle of water belongs to my Dad!

Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot
seafood meal at a warung 
 Turtle Conservation and Education Centre

 Turtle Conservation and Education Centre

Keila and her adopted sea turtle

Crawl! Baby! Crawl!

Naughty Nuri's


Dinner at Taipan again
Sanur beach

Rescuing a sea turtle

Sanur beach

Sanur beach

Liga Warung
Laze around in Kuta Beach
Dinner at Taipan
Highly recommended place for dinner
Our driver (Toto)

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ End of Bali Trip ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~