Thursday, 11 July 2013

Balinese Culture!

The next day, we awoke early as Jeff had booked us a car and driver to take us on a small sightseeing tour around Bali at 9am. Chandler decided to stay back as she wasn't feeling it so in the end it was Jeff, Devyn, Loes, Dezi, Felix and I. Our driver Wayan was exceptionally nice and so informative, Jeff the little travel enquirer he is asked him tons of questions and we found out so much about the Balinese culture just between pickup and breakfast. We found out that Wayan means, first child, and that all children in Bali are named depending on when they were born, so, first child, second child, third child and fourth child (which is Ketut). The fifth child is then named Wayan again. So in Bali you will meet many Wayan's and Ketut's, boys and girls (it must get sooo confusing in classrooms - Wayan! Stop talking! and half the class turn their heads, unsure which Wayan the teacher is referring to lol.)

He told us that in his village, if a girl is no longer a virgin, she cannot enter the temple for quite a few days. And in Balinese culture, to lie is to lie to god, so they take honesty and truthfulness VERY seriously. When a guy loses his virginity, his father cuts his hair in a small ceremony, Wayan had very long hair as he didn't have sex until he was married at 21. He was made to marry by his parents, he married a girl he was friends with at school, but after marriage and a baby, called Wayan, they are no longer friends he says!

He took us to a small warang for a local breakfast, which was spicy nasi goreng, pulled pork, vegetables and some other things. It was all very delicious for only $2.50. We then made our way to the first temple, which was the first Balinese temple I'd seen so far, and a stunning one at that. There were beautifully kept gardens, a temple area with stunning tall 'what I would call' mushroom towers where there was a ceremony going on, a lookout tower and cockrills everywhere, which we'd guessed were for the gods or something but were actually prized cock-fighters and so were kept in the temple grounds for good luck and blessings so they'd win more fights!

After this we then took a short journey into the mountains, via a coffee plantation. Here we were given a tour of all the plants, fruit and herbs they grew, then it was coffee tasting time!! We must have tried about 20 different teas and coffees, including luwak coffee (weasel shit coffee). My favourites were Rosella tea, Coconut coffee, Mocha and the lemongrass tea.

We then made our way to another temple, which was a temple on a lake in the mountains stopping at a viewpoint on the way. The views were stunning, hills full of rice paddies, strawberry farms, corn farms, banana and palm trees and mountains. At this viewpoint was also some snakes you could hold and 2 MASSIVE bats eating bananas! Definitely not expected!

We arrived at the temple and were instantly drawn to a large group of Balinese Musicians in traditional costume. Us being foreign, they were instantly drawn to us and insisted we have some photos taken with them, so naturally we did, and even got to play with the pretty instruments. We were all a bit gutted when Jeff got handed a massive drum, when all we had were measly symbols! We then went into the temple itself, which again was utterly beautiful. Set out on small islands just a little into the lake was 2 main temples. Their backdrop was of luscious green mountains covered by low cloud. It really was atmospheric!

Our next and final destination was Tanah Lot, a very famous temple, set out on jagged rocks in the sea on the south west coast of Bali. On the way we stopped for lunch in a local warung, where we had rice, some kind of broth and a selection of meats and vegetables separate. It was all very tasty again and we ate watching over rice paddies.

We reached Tannah Lot around 4pm and we had an hour here so we could get out before the rush hour traffic.You first had to walk through a market and then we stumbled onto the beach, where a magnificent rock and a temple lay. We walked across the rockpools to get a closer look but realised the actual temple was better viewed from the cliff just to the right of it. So we climbed to the cliff and sat here for a while admiring the temple view on one side and the magnificent jagged rocky coastline to the right.

After returning to the hostel, ma Devyn and Jeff went for a meal, I had roast peking duck. Then we all relaxed in the living room and us girls along with Diana and Dezi decided to watch Eat, Pray, Love and saw in my birthday hour, in Bali, watching the part of the film based in Bali, about a woman changing her life through travel. Quite fitting, and hopefully my 26th yr will be just as life changing as my 25th has been!!

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