Bali Day 6: Besakih Temple, Mt Agung (the volcano that just erupted), Jambul Hill Views, Bat Cave Temples, Black Sand Beach, and Traditional Salt Making

12/21/17

Another amazing breakfast prepared with perfectly cut fruits with my newly deemed love language! Ogie (the person who prepares breakfast and cares for the villa) does a phenomenal job! Today he indicated that he would be preparing for the ceremony tonight, as he is getting married (next year). Marriage doesn't happen on just any day, it's all based on the Balinese calendar, so planning and preparation goes into these things.
Looks like I have some time to find my husband before the next marriage day rolls around, ha!

Ogie told me over breakfast today that the Besikah Temple (first stop on the agenda) is on Mt Agung (the volcano that just erupted). Say what, come again?! Ok, if I've learned nothing, it's that things are NEVER what you think, to expect the unexpected, and to be prepared for absolutely any possible shit show! Ogie also said that this temple is very famous as it is the biggest temple in all of Bali. How can I not go to something like that?!

The drive took quite some time, finally winding up and around a mountain (which actually felt like we were driving up the volcano, maybe we were!) along the way you could catch glimpses of Mt Agung peeking through what I thought was clouds but Made quickly told me that no it was smoke, from the volcano. When you got higher up there were several yellow warning signs (volcano, danger do not enter type signs, we kept going naturally). After about 3 of these Made pulled over and spoke with a local, he was worried it might be dangerous higher up. We got the go ahead from the local but were advised to not stay up there too long (fine by me, I like to live on the edge, but also don't want to die by magma).

We pulled up to the top/parking area for the Besikah Temple and the trees all around were brown, Made informed me that this was from the volcano/heat, it had burned them. Also every single one of the little vendors huts were closed down. People were walking around trying to sell things but the stalls were all empty, an evacuation from the volcano. I probably should have had those little tingly feelings on the back of my neck, but I didn't, I was all in on this one. Paid the fee, got my sarong and tie, and local guide, and started the trek up. Immediately after turning the corner I knew I made the right decision to carry on with this adventure. This temple is not only huge but it's breathtaking.

The guide was probably 80 years old, missing half of his teeth, attempted English but I understood maybe every 3rd word he said. I panicked when he asked a question and I would have to come up with an answer and try to figure out what said question was. He was very concerned with photos and wanted to make sure that there was one taken at basically every inch of the temple...and for 80 he wasn't too terrible with the picture taking.
He did say that the middle staircase (when you first look at the temple) is the bad staircase, in my pic the one the dog is using, and that you should use the left staircase, as that is the good one. I made sure to double check for comprehension on this one because let's be honest I don't need anymore bullshit in my life so if it means taking a different staircase, this bitch will do it!
Some time was spent here at this temple, it's really quite large and there is a lot to see. Many of the areas are for Balinese people only (for prayer) but the guide was sweet and would take my phone in to take some pictures for me.










After Besikah Temple it was back down the mountain/volcano for a quick stop off at the Jambul Hill views. This is basically a pull off on the side of the road with some seriously picturesque views. Rice terraces, the sea, huts in the distance, you name it and you can pretty much see it here.





After the hill views it was back in the car to head to the Goa Lawah (Bat Cave Temple). I was confused about this, if it was just called bat cave, or if there were actual bats. I had tried to clarify with Made the day before to no avail, and this morning with Ogie but was only left confused. It wasn't until I entered the temple that I realized, yes, there were definitely bats. I could hear and smell them. The temple is set back into  the side of a hill, with the cave there, the bats live in the cave, and the temple alter is part of that cave, literally there are shrines/offerings covered in bat shit and bats flying around above. It's insane. But the bats stay in the cave, and the prayers/blessings occur outside of the cave. Up until this point I've respectfully declined prayers/blessings (except the holy water temple) as I don't really feel fit for it. I'm not a religious person and I don't want to offend someone else's religion. Today I just felt urged to do it and Made was so welcoming with it. He took his prayers/blessings then performed them on me. Despite bats being really gross creatures, I actually forgot that they were there with the beauty of that prayer/blessing conducted by someone who has really become a good friend and adventure buddy and such a gentle spirit.




Goa=cave, Lawah=bat (Bat cave)




After the bat cave we went (basically across the street) to the black sand beach. I had been wanting to go to one of these as I've never seen sand of a different color. It was pretty cool, I put my feet into the water (but definitely didn't feel inclined to swim). There is so much trash everywhere in Bali, it's so sad to see. This beach was no different, and while it wasn't loaded with trash, there was still enough. On this beach there are several salt makers, they use the sea water and the black sand (and sunlight) to make salt. The process is way more tedious than I ever imagined and I had a chance to try part of it out.






Another really amazing day here in Bali. Every day (not just in Bali but in life in general I try to recap my day mentally with rose, thorn and bud (highlight, lower point, and what I'm looking forward to tomorrow). Today the rose definitely was having the chance to experience the traditional Hindu prayer ceremony at the hands of such a sweet and caring human, Made. I've said it before and I'll say it again, you can never put enough value on the importance of human interactions and connections. There truly is no thorn other than with each passing day I'm one day close to leaving Bali. The bud, what I'm looking forward to tomorrow, is the unplanned, the adventures that pop up, the laughs, the quality time, living in the moment, and continuing to love this life that I have.

As always, here's a photo/video recap of the day. I hope it gives you a little taste of Bali, perhaps enough to book your own trip!


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