Under the Sea

Yes, I did just make a reference to the little mermaid. But how can you not sing along to that soundtrack when you’re scuba diving? This post is a little rewind to scuba diving in Bali. Partially because I miss it and partially because it’s starting to get cold here. We went to Bali with the intention to scuba dive once or twice. That was before we found out how ridiculously cheap it is! At 30 bucks a pop we were able to go a whole lot more than we anticipated!  scuba diving, baliscuba diving, bali
Kind of kept expecting them to form animals or words.
scuba diving, bali
scuba diving, bali
If you open your mouth then these tiny shrimp start to clean your mouth.
scuba diving, bali
scuba diving, bali
scuba diving, bali
scuba diving, bali
scuba diving, bali

We were able to dive a ship wreck right off the coast. The USS Liberty was an american cargo ship that was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in WWII. Too expensive to haul back to the states, it was decided to beach the huge ship. Then in 1964, Mt. Agung volcano exploded, over 10,000 ft tall, killing a thousand villagers. the lava made it’s way to the beach and pushed the beached cargo ship into the ocean. It now sits at a 90 degree angle on it’s side and goes from 3 meters deep down to 30 meters deep in the water. We talked to our driver who was born and raised in the town and he said that his grandparents witnessed the volcano exploding. Not having any cars in the town at the time, they had to run to the next town to seek safety.They were also able to do a night dive of the wreck!

 

While the boys were diving one morning, Alissa and I sat and talked with one of the workers at the hotel. She gave us great insight into the traditional Hindu lifestyle of Bali. It started by her asking about Alissa’s baby and when she was due. We then found out that she had been trying to get pregnant for 10 years now with no luck. She said that it is getting more and more difficult in Bali to get pregnant, and many people have the same difficulty as she. She told us that she was starting to get worried because if a woman does not have a child or does not produce a boy, then the husband sometimes goes and marries another woman. He can continue to marry different woman until he has a boy. She went on to tell us that it is very hard to find work. Sometimes her husband works a few days in a row as a boat driver but then can go weeks without work. Many women carry water pots to earn money but at the end of the day they have to split the money they earned with their “boss”. She said that some bosses were so cruel that if you were cooking and did something wrong they would take the boiling water and pour it on you. My heart went out to this woman and her obvious day to day struggle. It made me so humbly aware of how good we have it. Not having to worry about hubs leaving if I can’t have a baby or if I have the wrong gender, having a good job with a great boss. There are so many things that we take for granted in our day to day life. Sometimes it’s good to get a little wake up call from others.

Tanah Lot-Bali

We rented boats to take us out for a sunrise boat ride on our last day.
sunrise boat ride, bali
sunrise boat ride, bali
sunrise boat ride, bali
sunrise boat ride, bali
It was the perfect view of Agung Volcano
sunrise boat ride, bali
sunrise boat ride, bali
sunrise boat ride, bali
sunrise boat ride, bali

Our second hotel that we stayed at with a full breakfast served in the alcove to the left. It was a scuba diver’s paradise with full service scuba training center and just a short walk to the beach for a dive.

Tanah Lot is claimed to be the work of the 15th century priest Nirartha. During his travels along the south coast he saw the rock-island’s beautiful setting and rested there. Some fishermen saw him, and bought him gifts. Nirartha then spent the night on the little island. Later he spoke to the fishermen and told them to build a shrine on the rock for he felt it to be a holy place to worship the balinese sea gods.

The Tanah Lot Temple was built and has been a part of balinese mythology for centuries. The temple is one of seven sea temples around the Balinese coast. Each of the sea temples were established within eyesight of the next to form a chain along the south-western coast.
At the base of the rocky island, poisonous sea snakes are believed to guard the temple from evil spirits and intruders. A giant snake supposedly protects the temple, which was created from Nirartha’s scarf when he established the island.

tanah lot, bali
At high tide you cannot see the strip of land connecting it to the mainland. It looks as though it is sitting in the middle of the water. 
tanah lot, bali
tanah lot, bali

 Pura Batu Balong, another temple in the same area. both temples are within eyesight of each other.

tanah lot, bali

tanah lot, bali

tanah lot, bali

The Mother Temple of Bali

Over a thousand years old, Besakih temple is known as the “Mother Temple of Bali”. Perched on the slopes of mount agung, at 1,000 metres (3,000 feet). besakih is the biggest and holiest of all the balinese temples. Named after the dragon god believed to inhabit the mountain, it’s said to be the only temple where a hindu of any caste can worship.
mother temple, bali
mother temple, bali
mother temple, bali
mother temple, bali
mother temple, balimother temple, bali
mother temple, bali
Lake Batur. As the mountain grows through frequent, minor or not so minor eruptions, it gradually enlarges its base at the expense of the lake, which is slowly shrinking in consequence.
lake batur, balilake batur, bali
You can still see the lava flows that go right into the lake and the small roads that were carved out in the lava flow.

Temples Temples and More Temples

It was another full day. We started out with the driver at 11 am, after the boys had a chance to go scuba diving that morning.  
kurtagosa bali
Our first stop was Kurtagosa, the former royal courts of justice in the town of Klung Kun. Kertagosa was the end of the line of the law system for serious crimes at that time in Bali. Criminals facing trial were kept in a building where the ceiling held gruesome murals depicting good vs evil and what happened to sinners.
kurtagosa bali

Some of the scenes depicting what might happen to the “sinners”

kurtagosa bali
kurtagosa bali

Good to know

kurtagosa bali
We met a group of boys that were hanging out inside the site. One boy was not shy about sharing his chocolate crepe with Jeremy.

 

After finishing at the palace we walked across the street to a market, which I doubt many westerners go to. We were met with gawking locals as we searched through the bolts of traditional indonesian batik fabric.
kurtagosa bali
kurtagosa bali

Our next stop was Goa Lawah bat cave. legend has it that the cave goes all the way to the mother temple, some 70km away. No one knows for sure if this is true because no one has ever been that deep into the cave. This is because the legend also says there is a large vicious dragon guarding the inside of the cave.

Goa Lawah bat cave bali
The temple at the entrance of the cave. If you were really wealthy, this is where you paid to have your funeral. Inside you could see bats covering every inch of the walls. It didn’t smell the best.
Goa Lawah bat cave bali
Goa Lawah bat cave bali

When driving in the country side it is common to see students of the nearby schools marching. We were told that they did this on a regular basis. 

We arrived at our hotel on the north side of the island in Tulamben just before night fall. It is a tiny town in the middle of no where that has only a few restaurants on it’s ½ mile main road. It was exactly what we were looking for. Seclusion. We ate at one of the 3 local restaurants and for a main dish, appetizer and drinks for both of us it came out to about $12usd. Something I could definitely get used to. Another thing I loved about the city and being in the middle of no where were all the stars. With so much light pollution in Geoje, it’s a rarity to have such a clear sky that you can see the milky way.  

On the way to the hotel we passed one of the many lava flows that lead into the ocean from Mt. Agung volcano

Drinking Coffee from an Animal

We started early in the morning and rented a driver for the day to take us around. It’s a great and often cheaper way to be able to cover a lot of ground for one day. Plus they like to suggest local attractions along the way that you may not have been able to see or know about, such as luwak coffee.
We stopped to have lunch over looking some rice paddies. Mixed in were fields containing different fruits. All throughout lunch we could see these ladies heading out to the field with empty baskets on their head. Within twenty minutes the baskets were full of watermelons and they were walking back to the pile to drop it off.bail farmersOur next stop was to a coffee plantation where they sold luwak coffee. This is the pathway to the coffee shop at the back. All along the path were different chocolate and coffee plants.
luwak coffee
Most of bali’s coffee is microground so it can be drank just by adding water. We were also able to see how they make luwak coffee, some of the most expensive in the world. Long story short: a palm civet (the weasel looking animal above) eats only the best of red coffee beans. While inside the intestines, the beans undergo chemical changes. They then poop it out (tasty). The poop with the coffee beans is collected, roasted and stripped of the outer layer and cleaned, then finally ground into coffee.
luwak coffee
luwak coffee
luwak coffee
luwak coffee
luwak coffee
 We had a taste test of lemon tea, bali coffee, cocoa coffee and ginseng coffee (our favorite)
luwak coffee
Next up on the list was the Bali zoo which we picked mostly because you were able to get up close and personal with several different types of animals.
bali zooFruit bats. If you swung them back and forth they would open their wings and try to fly.
bali zoo
bali zoo

Me and Alissa trying to prove we were tough by holding an alligator. Tt was surprisingly squishy. Right after we gave it back the calming drugs that it had to be on seemed to be wearing off. Good thing if was after we held it!

bali zoo
bali zoo

Everyone makes fun of me for this but this is my dream car. vw thing. Just in case you were wondering what to get me for christmas this year.

Our last stop of the day was the monkey forest sanctuary in the city of Ubud. You had to be careful not to wear anything shiny or have food on you. If you did, the monkeys would climb on you to find it and grab it.

monkey sanctuary ubud bali
monkey sanctuary ubud bali
monkey sanctuary ubud bali
monkey sanctuary ubud bali
monkey sanctuary ubud bali

The temple had a lot of morbid sculptures of demons trying to eat babies

monkey sanctuary ubud bali

monkey sanctuary ubud baliRice paddies line every open area in bali. they make the most of the land they have by terracing all of the mountains and hills.

bali rice paddies
bali rice paddies
bali rice paddies
bali rice paddies