On our 4th day in Bali, we met up with our friends (and co-workers) from China, and hired a private driver to take us touring for the day. Unfortunately Elijah was not feeling very well, so we had left it to the morning to decided whether or not we should go on with our exploration plans for the day. It was hot and humid and he was running a fever, but we decided to go when we realized that he was not happy lying around at the villa. He wanted to move about, and this meant that he spent most of breakfast crying and frustrated. When we are out and about he tends to relax move and go with the flow, so we knew that a day out might provide some good distraction for him. Little did we know that we were heading to the far south are of the island where it was much hotter and way more humid!
Our first stop for the day was a traditional Barong Dance in Ubud. More on that experience in a blog post later this week. Next up we got on the road and headed south to Tanah Lot. It sure is nice to doing island explorations with a motorcycle, but we were thankful for a comfy, air-conditioned car in which we could all spread out, and enjoy some good conversation. Elijah and mommy took the very back seat so that Eli could lie down, and the rest had the middle and front seats to spread out over. Tanah Lot is about 45 minutes by car north west of the main southern tourist areas of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak and is en-route for those heading to West Bali. From Ubud it can reached in about 30 to 40 minutes by car. The view on our drive from Ubud to Tanah Lot was dominated by beautiful rice field terraces, coconuts and rain forest.
Above, A normal sight in Bali, hundreds and hundreds of motorcycles. And below, a local family eats lunch together along the side of the road. After years of living in China, and becoming used to families with only one child, it was refreshing to see that most families here had 3-4 children.
The approach path to Tanah Lot temple is a maze of souvenir shops and not a bad place to fill up your bags with trinkets – if you are so inclined. By the time that we had reached the entrance of Tanah Lot, Elijah was really tired. He was due for a nap and Justin felt like it might be better to keep him in the cool car. Since there is a decent walk from the parking area to the actual temple, and we had heard that the temple area might be crowded, keeping Eli somewhere quiet and comfy seemed better. In fact, Justin is not one for crowds either, so the Esser boys hung out with the driver while Kevin, Charity and myself headed into the temple grounds. On our way through the maze of souvenir shops we got our first glimpse of the famous Luwaks. The Luwak or Asian Palm Civet, also known as the Toddy Cat, is a cat-sized mammal in the family Viverridae native to South-east Asia and southern China who is the responsible of the fame of the Kopi Luwak or Luwak Coffee. Luwak is the Indonesian name given to the Asian Palm Civet. Kopi luwak, or civet coffee, refers to the coffee that includes part-digested coffee cherries eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet. In laymen terms, it is basically “Poop coffee”. Justin and I were faced with the opportunity to try such coffee, but more on that later!
Yup – those are the coffee beans that have been eaten and then pooped out by the Luwak.
We also came across these giant bats. Pteropus, also know as “Flying foxes”, have a wingspan of up to 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) and weigh roughly 0.65–1.1 kg (1.4–2.4 lb). This bat is commonly found in the forests of Bali. It has become an attraction at Monkey Forest and the Temple of Tanah Lot, where even you can take a picture next to them because they are somewhat domesticated and don’t seem to mind people standing all around them.
Back on the road. After our viewing of Tanah Lot Temple we grabbed an ice cream, and then jumped back in the car and made own way to Taman Ayun Temple or Mengwi Royal Temple, which is located in Mengwi Village, Badung regency and about 18 Km north side of Denpasar town.