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Wednesday 15 May 2013
Kalibaru, Indonesia

Bats before breakfast and snakes by the sea

After a 7 hour journey, we arrived in Kalibaru around 4pm feeling stuffy and sticky, but found ourselves in a beautiful hotel with lovely gardens.  Our rooms were in rows of bungalows dotted around the garden.  Regardless of the black and ominous sky, we dumped our bags, changed and headed straight for the pool.  It was wonderfully refreshing to swim in the pouring rain! We followed up the swim with a nice massage by the pool.

On my way up to breakfast, I found Jim standing by one of the trees with his camera making friends with two flying foxes.  The fruit bats were happily hanging there helping themselves to small chunks of papaya in a hanging box next to them.  They live in an open cage in the corner of the garden.  Jim had gone over to take a photo and the gardener had brought them out into the garden for him.  We were able to hold the bats ourselves and feed them papaya chunks.  Their wing spans were huge - about 80cm across when they shook them out - feeling like very soft leather.  I told the others when I arrived at the restaurant and they all dashed out to have a look. It was definitely one of the more surreal pre-breakfast activities of this trip.

I had planned to skip the plantation tour and have a couple of hours to myself - as much as I have loved having Ailsa travelling with me again, it's quite exhausting to be with people 24 hours a day, especialy after travelling by myself for several months.  However, the plantation was on our way so I didn't have the option of skipping it.  It was more interesting than I had expected, as in addition to the usual coffee, fruit and spices, the plantation also had a rubber manufacturing plant which still used the original Dutch colonial machinery.  We saw how they processed the rubber, rolled it into sheets, heat treated it by hanging it in smoke rooms and then cut and packaged it for shipping.  The hand operated presses which squashed the rubber sheets into cubes for shipping were particularly fascinating, which had absolutely nothing to do with the shirtles, fit, toned guys operating them... Honestly!

From there, we had a 90-minute journey to the Bali ferry, which we boarded as foot passengers.  It was a short hop over to Bali, where yet another minibus took us down to Tanah Lot.  Although this journey wasn't too far in distance, it took us nearly three hours because the road was the main link between the port and Denpasser, the main city in the south of Bali, so it was very busy. By the time we arrived, we had to have dinner at the hotel restaurant as everything else was closed.  This was a covered area out the front which merged in with the rest of the touristy shops along the main road.  With nothing else to occupy us we had an impromptu pub session, drinking expensive Bintangs, while I introduced everyone to the fun of Perudo (liar's dice).  Back in Burma in January, while getting Ailsa's advice on what I did and didn't need, Ailsa hadn't understood why I had brought 8 sets of 10 dice with me.  After playing Perudo tonight, she did.  It is a great game, especially with a big group, and we had a great evening.

Tanah Lot has a famous Hindu temple perched up on a rocky outcrop, which can only be reached at low tide.  Instead of a beach, the rocks have been worn down and flattened into a wide platform.  After breakfast, Ailsa, Jim, Sukio and I wandered down there and had fun dodging the waves which bash against the rocks, sending plumes of water into the air or running over everyone's feet.  The area was already quite busy and we were again caught by lots of school groups wanting to take photos of us.  We followed the path up along the cliffs to a couple of smaller temples that sit out on rocky prominences and watched the surf crashing in below us.

The road down to the sea is lined with tourist shops selling clothes and souvenirs.  We had a browse on our way back and I bought a dress and a Bintang top.  Continuing with the creature theme of the holiday, Ailsa and Jim had their photos taken holding a long python with spectacular markings.

We then headed down to the gorgeous swimming pool and cooled off in the water.  Ailsa had another massage while I stayed and chatted to Jim and Klaas.  I didn't realise until later how strong the sun had been.  I had managed to burn my shoulders, neck and face.  I've been so careful on this trip so far, so it was annoying to catch the sun so much.  It turned out everyone had done the same thing so we were a rosy-faced group that evening!

The main attraction in Tanah Lot is sitting in one of the terrace bars along the cliff top to watch the sunset behind the temple on its rock. Unfortunately we didn't get a particularly good sunset as it was too cloudy on the horizon, but it was a nice place to sit for a drink and look back over the last two weeks.  Tomorrow is the last day of the trip! It has gone so quickly and has really been a fabulous introduction to the eclectic country of Indonesia.

 

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Zobeedoo's Big World Adventure, Part I

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