Day 6: Denpasar, Tanah Lot and Uluwatu

Trip Start May 14, 2009
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Trip End May 24, 2009


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Where I stayed
Hotel Melasti Legian Resort & Spa

Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Another day with Mr Yium Yium today.  I really wanted to visit the markets in Denpasar, Bali's capital.  These are local markets, not really on the tourist route and a far more authentic experience of Asia.  First though we had to get across the road.  It was heaving with Scooters and Trucks.  The solution, I decided, was like in Vietnam - just slowly walk across the road, eyeballing the oncoming vehicles, and let them go around you.  I don't think my Mum has gripped my arm so hard since I was 4, but it got the job done. 

I thought the produce market was ace.  It was full of noises, smells and sights that you simply don't see in the west.  I saw a huge Tuna being chopped up, and couldn't get over the size of it.  Live Chickens strapped upside down from Scooters, or in cages waiting to be sold.  I guess a sight like that can be upsetting for some, but I can tell you now it's a lot, lot worse in the west - you just don't see it.  See my upcoming blog on my recent "Around the UK on a Whim tour" for more details about Battery Farms, for example.

To avoid my Parents getting miffed off, we went outside to the vegetable and fruit sections, which was a bit less noisy and more colourful for them.  My only regret was that Helen wasn't there, as she always buys the oddest item and then eats it, and always, and I mean always, enjoys it. 

We also had a quick scoot around the clothes market across the river, but was a bit disappointed really, it being full of tie-die t-shirts and not much else.  Saying that, we did find some very nice Sari shops, and it was only time constraints (as you will read later) that stopped my Mum getting fitted up with one.

After an hour or so we headed back to the car and made our way to the coast again, to Tanah Lot, the temple that I didn't quite make it to a few days previously.  One of the most heavily visited of the temples in Bali, it's easy to understand why - it's gorgeous in every way.  It sits on a large rock in the ocean.  It is also home to a fresh water spring where Hindu's can be blessed, which is a great thing to watch.  I'm not a religious guy in anyway, but I do enjoy visiting religious places and watch the activities going on. 

I'll let the photos do the talking, as I don't know much about the place, and Wikipedia is probably open in another window on your PC, so go look for yourself.

With mid-afternoon lurking, we had to put our foot down, as we had to get down to Carrieann's hotel in Uluwatu.  This was the first time everyone had been there, and naturally my sister wanted to show it off.  I know I would.  My Brother had gone ahead in the morning with Andy's family, so we would be meeting him there too.  We got there about 4pm, which pissed everyone off as we were meant to spend time around the Pool and then shifting it up to Uluwatu temple.  We skipped the Pool part and went straight to the Temple, after a quick tour of the Villa.  We sent Mr Yium Yium home with a nice tip, as it was unreasonable to ask him to wait for us to go there too.  So Andy had to ferry two car loads of people to Uluwatu and back!

Pura Luhur Uluwatu temple is probably the most visited place in Bali, as it's on a high cliff top, and the Sun sets behind it, meaning plenty of photo opportunities.  It's also home to the most intelligent Monkeys I've ever witnessed.  Let me explain....

Tourists are stupid people.  They carry all sorts on themselves, and are fairly ignorant of dangers.  Monkeys are clever.  They know they could steal food and drink off people - that's simple.  What these ones do is steal your Sunglasses, Cameras, handbags etc and will wait for you to feed them before giving the stuff back to you.  Every few minutes we heard another scream, another Monkey up a tree with a very expensive phone in their hand, waiting for some food.  Yet again, I can't see how people don't believe in Evolution...

Somehow we ended up being protected by a local guide there.  Kinda cheesy, but it benefited us in a number of ways: 1) He had a big stick, and those Monkeys didn't get my prescription Sunglasses off me. 2) He told us all about the place.  3) He knew the best photo spots.  A couple thousand rupiah in his pocket, everyone is happy.  Except the Korean couple going home without their iPhones.

We also stayed around to watch the Kecak Fire Dance.  Performed by 70 men who make the music (by voice) it tells the story of something or other.  Did you really think I would pay attention when there are Monkeys/Cute backpackers around?  I'm sure it's something to do with evil people being defeated by Monkeys.  Either way, it involved a Monkey kicking fire, lots of blokes making noises and myself, my Brother and my Dad arsing around at the back.

Back to the hotel in Uluwatu, we had a large, lavish meal as a pre-wedding dinner.  A few hours later, a number of the party had fallen quite ill.  5* restaurants 0, local Warrung 1.  No one listens to me.
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