Wayan picked us up at ten to visit the Royal Palace at Menguwi. It is a beautiful compound, long abandoned. Now it boasts decaying structures and intricately carved statues of gods – photos to follow. I sprinkled Eberhard with holy water and then myself. We continued to Bedugul, a lovely mountain lake town, where we had Indonesian tea and visited the Floating Temple called Candi Kuning. Then on to a truly remarkable Botanical Gardens – a spot largely devoid of tourists. We learned that the wild orchids that beget the lovely flowers we buy are really gnarled and hideous tubers, but without them all flowering species would cease to exist.
In this mountain area, the Muslim minority of Bali seems to reside. We passed many road side markets selling fresh strawberries (Pick Your Own) and adorable little bunnies in small cages which, we later learned, were sold for eating not petting. This day is a high holiday for Hindus. The house staff came to work in traditional dress with rice and flower decorations on their faces and necks, like colorful tattoos. We gave all but our driver the day off and let Wayan go as early as we could. We had dinner at The Meridien hotel, on the terrace overlooking the sea and Tanah Lot, a gothic-looking temple on the beach carved from lava stone. We visited Tanah Lot earlier but found it overrun by holiday visitors and tourists, souvenir hawkers and scammers, such as the man in a cave selling tickets to see the “Holy Snake,” which looked an awful lot like the garden variety we see back home. The view from the Meredien of Tanah Lot and the sun setting behind its primitive Gothic outline was much more interesting.
There are fantastic kites here, resembling Rama, Sita, The Monkey King and other creatures of Hindu myth plus eagles, bats and other animals.
It is a beautiful Day in Bali.