Monday, January 5, 2009

Temples of Doom

Day 300
The day before I had tried to book a tour to several sites in the area. All they wanted to do was give me a very expensive car tour when I just needed a guy to drive me around on a motorbike. There are tons of guys asking if you need transportation and I asked one of them to take me to the temples. It was just some guy on the street though and I had no idea if he would actually show up. I was surprised when over breakfast he came into the hotel, he was not only there, but early. I got myself together and in no time I was out the door.

The first place we stopped at was Goa Gajah, the elephant cave. This was proberly a buddhist hermatage a few hundred years ago. It's not large, but the carvings on the entrance to the cave are quite good. My driver decided to try and play guide, but he didn't speak much English and I wasn't able to figure out what he was telling me.

Next up was Yeh Pulu. This was a small temple with some interesting carvings on the rock wall. There was an old woman who decided that she wanted to point things out to me and to bless me with holy water from the well. Her top wasn't properly buttoned and she was falling out. She then told me to take a picture of her. Luckily she clasped her hands to her chest and covered herself up. I really didn't want there to be nudity on this blog, although it appears that there is quite a bit of it in Bali. Perhaps she should get together with the naked man from the day before.

Our third stop was Pora Penataran Sahih. This was meant to be a 2000 year old drum. It wasn't that good. In fact, if my driver hadn't pointed it out to me I would have walked right past it. Lonely Planet called my fourth stop, Gunung Kawi, "an astonishing group of stone shrines cut into the cliffs." That person has clearly never been to Petra. It was nice and picturesque, but mostly because it was set in a scenic valley with a lot of rice terraces. There is a mystery about why it was built, but I wouldn't call anything about it astonishing.

The last stop of the day was the best. Tirta Empul is a holy spring and temple complex dating from 926. There were about a dozen people bathing in the holy water. The temple was the most ornate one that I had been to all day.

During the walk back to the parking lot my driver confesed to me that after spending 4 hours with me and all the attention I get he could understand how people constantly asking if you want a transfer could get annoying. Perhaps he will stop doing it then!

When I got back I was famished and pretty gross, it was a really hot and sticky day. I went for lunch though before showering and taking an accidental nap. When I woke up I went to a few internet cafe's and actually managed to upload some pictures. After a while this got boring though so I went for dinner. The heat had snapped all of my energy and I fell asleep sho rtly after returning to my hotel.

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