Selamat Baagi!! apaakabaa? ( Good morning! How are you) That was the Bahasa I learnt on Day 3 from none other than Wira himself. You did not expect me to stay more than 48 hours in Bali and not pick a smattering of Bahasa!
The dreadful part of the mornings in the resort is always the machine made coffee. I cannot for the life of me understand the concept of creamers instead of good old milk. Well the morning at the patio of the room more than compensated for what the machine made coffee lacked. Refreshing breeze, lovely sun, scenic views, and the cheerful bougainvillea that seemed to celebrate every time the breeze blew. The ocean looked a color that was a stark contrast of the blue that it was on day 2!
Our destinations were up North of Bali today and so we needed to drive long hours. Our first stop was a beautiful 16th century temple in the Indian Ocean called Tanah Lot. This temple is dedicated to the God of the Sea, Varuna.
Sometimes when the tide is high, you cannot walk upto the rock. Today we could. Even though only Balinese Hindus who wear their traditional attire, head gear, kebaya and the works are allowed inside the temple. There were a few pretend holy men at the bottom of the rock temple, smearing raw rice on everyone’s forehead and inserting a frangipani on everyone’s ears and collecting whatever funds came their way. What is truly amazing is the fresh water spring from the rocks in the middle of the salty ocean water, that the Balinese Hindu believe is holy. It was piped and pouring freely, but I did not dare to sip it to test if the water is indeed fresh.
Between the resort and Tanah Lot was an hour and twenty minutes of drive time and what but casual banter with Wira was the order of the day. Wira showed signs of exhaustion, with the wealth of info he possessed . It seemed to him that there was no respite to the question bank I had for him and how long could he keep refreshing content for me?
My husband had heard of the tooth filing ceremony in Bali and asked Wira about it and that gave something for us to start the days conversation with. Wira said that the ceremony was called Matata ( like hakuna Matata from Lion King) and it was a ceremony that was still practiced by some Hindus. It is believed to be conducted for boys when they grow to adolescence to remind them that they were not wild like animals and so needed to control their animal instincts! (Don’t we all know of some people outside of Bali that need such treatment? )
The hubby was on a roll! He began another gory subject- death ceremonies. We had already talked in detail of the birth and marriage ceremonies and so why leave is untouched? He had watched a documentary about some sect in Bali, who left the dead in the open without a burial or cremation and allowed to decompose. To my ears, it sounded like a bad subject to discuss! But Wira being the sport he is, confirmed that it was still a practice but in a remote village called Trunyan.
We passed a board that said Ketut and I immediately recalled Eat Pray Love in which the author, Elizabeth Gilbert, spends some time in Bali . I asked Wira about the Medicine man whose name was Ketut something. It led us to the next topic – The naming conventions of Balinese names. All first borns in Bali Hindu families are named Wayan, the second Madey, the third Nyoman and the fourth, Ketut. Now you would want to know what the fifth would be named like I did. Wayan again! All men have common first names as I (ee) and women are called Ni (née). An I Wayan XXX, will be a first born son and a Ni Ketut XXX, will be a fourth born daughter! Wira’s name is I Wayan Wira. He has two kids. Ni Wayan Putri and I Madey Mahatma Rajendra. Go figure!
We had reached the beautiful Mt. Batukaru vicinity meanwhile and the weather had turned absolutely windy and pleasant. We stopped for lunch at a mountain side restaurant yet again and the splendor of the ambiance even made Balinese vegetarian food, after three days, seem like a delicacy! We drove up to Lake Bratan to see the beautiful Ulun Danu temple.
Our final stop was at Taman Ayun temple, which was a 16th century relic of the Royal family that ruled the Mengwi district. The remains of the royals are till date preserved in these premises and it recently became a UNESCO heritage site.
That concluded our day 3 at Bali!