Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 17 December 2009 • Itinerary
Another exhausting lag of the trip and it was Bali, the land of Gods, the land of God it’s time to relax! That morning we slept in, checked Puspita in the shop, and just got ready in a low tone fashion. We decided that Lombok was out of the question this time, so we’ll save it for the next journey. Some of us, who chose to be nameless, had a thing for malls. It’s been a while since we went to a mall so we decided to head to Discovery mall that afternoon to start the day. It was THE mall in Bali. Yeah!
Destination: The mall and Uluwatu
Agenda: Kecak Dance Performance
It’s a very nice Mall. The products are focused on local handicraft, and good quality items. It’s well selected I say, and Batik Keris dominates the floor for sure. The food court was kinda the winner for us. It had a balcony facing the beach. A great way to have lunch! After having lunch and window shopping, which ended up as shopping actually, we head to the VW shop to again check Puspita. She was almost ready. Bondy was kind enough to take care of Puspita and bring her home.
This time Sally made the call. She wanted to see the Kecak dance in Uluwatu. They say it’s beautiful and is held at sunset. Must be some scene, huh? Tis the month of summer and the sky was cloudless. Sunset outdoors would be perfect! So we took the rented Karimun and headed south. A simple Balinese map can easily help you to get to the venue. And just follow the road signs showing to Uluwatu.
I love driving in Bali, many of the area is well planned, not too dense in the outskirt, maintained to be green, hilly, and not so many cars on the streets. We passed the Garuda Wisnu Kencana complex which is to be the historic place of the giganctic Wisnu statue. It’s not finished yet, but you can still have a great meal and look of the developing art. I happen to see it in the past, and I tell you, it’s very much worth the visit. Following the road, it automatically heads to the car park. Entering cost a mere Rp 1,000.
After parking, you would enter the Uluwatu area which cost about Rp 12,000/person. Uluwatu is actually a temple and holy ground. Here you would have to wear a waist band provided when paying retribution. If you are wearing shorts or skirts cut above the knee like me, you would have to wear the purple cloth to cover it up. The area is just breath taking! Standing on cliffs that drop to beaches and facing the horizon of the south ocean is just the thing to get lost with your own thoughts. It is crowded though because of this reputation, but believe me it is a beauty that should be enjoyed by so many. The temple located on this south coast I imagine is to worship Gods in the south end of the island. Many Javanese in the south coast still believes that the Gods of the south sea are extremely powerful even though they are also religious. I think the Balinese have the same wisdom having several temples in the south coast.
Now here is a hard warning! The temple is filled with monkeys, and since it’s been a tourist attraction for so long, these monkeys know what to ‘look’ for. Again, in areas with lots of monkeys, don’t wear anything dangling and unsecure. Keep your belongings close. Here, the monkeys are more aggressive. Hats, cameras and glasses are the main things you should be aware of. They will take it from you if they can! In my case.. I lost my prescription sunglasses when standing too close to the wall that had a monkey on it. He bit my glasses, bent it and chewed on it! What a monkey!!! Another price to pay for such a great time (last time I took my phone for a dip). But here’s a tip. If these monkeys happen to take something from you, you can call the local Balinese and ask them to help you get your item back. They are trained to do this. If you’re lucky, you can get it back; and if you’re super lucky, you can get it back without a scratch. You can offer the Balinese a reward if he gets it back for you.
Coming in to 5 pm we headed to the main stage located on the east side of the temple. Entering this venue, you would have to pay Rp 50,000/person. Besides a ticket, the organizers will provide you with a pamphlet telling you what the dances are about. This amphitheater faces the west so you are facing the sunset.
Before starting, a priest will come in and start praying for the well being of the ceremony. No matter what the purpose of the dance is for, it’s still part of a religious tradition and all must be blessed.
There were 4 short dances the day we were there. The four were taken from the famous Ramayana story. I loved every second of it: the fact that these men and women do this everyday and they are members of the surrounding community, the dancers, the costumes, the performance which was interactive, the fire, the sunset finally creeping in, the blue sky, the ocean in the background, and the whole tourism package held by the temple. They truly understand the importance of managing everything well. My favorite dancer was Rama (leading male), which was played by a woman. She looked very masculine even though you could see clearly that she is a woman. She had very masculine gestures and is very very different to Shinta (leading female) which was very feminine of course. I can definitely see that these dancers are dancing for the sake of the job. They don’t really have the full heart to do this, but even with this decreased spirit, their dancing was FAB! I can’t imagine what it would be like when they really mean it.
When the dark creeped in, the timing was right for the last performance. Hanoman burned in fire, bus as legend said, it did nothing to this holy creature. He was a happy monkey man as always.
It was dark and it was time to head back. Especially, since we had to return the car back to the rental. We headed back feeling all inspired after seeing and enjoying such beautiful ambience. I never felt like a tourist in my own country before, but this time I have to admit, I understand why tourists pay so much to see Bali 😛 But I still believe that there is much more to Indonesia than just Bali.
We went home to find Puspita already there. We picked up Bondy and Ami to grab dinner. This time Bondy took us to Nasi Pedes or Hot Rice. After this, me and Tari decided to return the car since I signed the papers and the due time was closing in. The others headed to Kuta beach to hang out and have a can or two of beer.
After returning the car, the rental guy, Pak Kadek, happened to nicely drop us back at the Bali Bombing monument at Kuta. Since me and Tari love to drink coffee we decided to hang a bit before joining the others. One place that we did plan to go to before arriving in Bali was Apache Bar. This bar has a reggae vibe to it. On certain nights they have reggae night. But reggae or not, the house band sounds great compared to many of the other venues in the area. We stopped by to listen to the band play and check out the cute band players. They were good, they hit the notes right, and they rocked out. They can play your request too! Now what else should a band do?
After arak and honey and a cup of coffee (ooh that rhymes), and a drunk Papua man hitting on me, we called it a night!
The next night we chose to eat at Nasi Pedas or Hot/Spicy Rice. This venue is located on Kuta Raya street in front of the Supernova square. This rice is solely bought for one reason. It’s spicy a.k.a pedas! All the side dishes are hot. And just to live up to their name they even put an extra chili paste on the side … just in case you didn’t think it was hot enough!
Nasi Pedes is like a buffet, you stand next to the seller which will scoop up what side dish you want with your rice. There is chicken, chicken skin, chicken insides, veggies, soup, fish, meat, etc. The dishes actually aren’t bad, they’re moderately good for the Indonesian tongue. Nothing specifically special either than the fact they use more chili. A dish can cost about Rp 15,000.
In Bali we rented a car from the rental we used during new years eve, which was Nyoman Car Rental, and can be reached at +62-85237884852. This time we got a Karimun Estillo. This car cost Rp 150,000/ day. We asked for another car, but the only one available was a Honda Jazz which cost a whopping Rp 350,000. Umm… not for our budget!
Around Kuta and to Uluwatu only needed about Rp 50,000 or about 11.11 liters worth of gas. The Karimun Estillo saves a lot of gas.