Rose to drizzling rain, it has been raining pretty much since dinner last evening, and the rain continued on and off all day. We were picked up by our guide Subaga, again and a new driver and we drove out to Pura Taman Ayun Temple – which translates to beautiful garden. It was much quieter than our previous temples, perhaps because of the rain? We got to see the priests daily blessing, as well as follow and photograph some temple cats. There is a cockfighting ring, purely for religious sacrifice (gambling is illegal in Bali).
We drove past and briefly stopped in traffic right in front of the Ogoh Ogoh museum, it is kind of like Bali’s Day of the Dead, they make these huge edifices and mostly burn them to ward off evil spirits in a purification ritual. These images are a little blurry (as the car was moving), but a worthy addition here.
We then drove in torrential rain to Tanah Lot Temple (famous for its sunsets, although there would be none today), we saw lots of roads flooded and had to drive through many of them ourselves. Huddled under umbrellas Subaga took us through the throng of people and hawkers (now selling raincoats and umbrellas) to the temple. Only accessible at low tide, this temple sits on rocks out in the ocean, with raging surf waves crashing against its rocks, even though it is considered one of Bali’s most noted and important landmarks, I was, to be honest underwhelmed and under impressed, perhaps it was the rain, but everything was grey and boring and far too many people. I really hate to see what this place is like when it is busy, you may have to queue for ages just to get a glimpse of the temple, even as quiet as it supposedly was, it was teeming with people in brightly colored raincoats and umbrellas…..making things dangerous to add to the mix. We wandered from place to place to get slightly different views and aspect and catch a few photos of waves crashing against the rocks, which according to Lonely Planet are mostly fake, as the originals have long since crumbled into the sea, the whole temple is no more than a staged set, but that doesn’t discount the importance of this temple guarding the west coast of Bali along with two other temples, we never got to visit. They formed a coast guard from West to South.
We made our soggy way back to the van and then continued in the pouring rain and flooded streets. On the way up to the mountains, our van kept overheating & broke down, we had to stop and find a mechanic for repairs. The mechanic kindly drove us in his deathtrap jalopy to a spot we could wait and have lunch. This ‘car’ could only be a mechanics car, the doors were held closed with rope and there was no dashboard, the seats had no padding and I am sure he started it with a screwdriver, the fact that it started at all was met by amazement from everybody, including the mechanic! It wasn’t too long and they had us back on the road again, I have no idea what was wrong, I don’t speak Bahasa.
We continued up to Bedugal and to Ulun Danu Temple on Lake Beratan (Bali’s second largest lake). Built in 1633 in adoration of the Goddess Danu, on the shores of the Lake, as well as worship of the main Hindu trinity, Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva, there are actually five temples here in total. This is a popular place for Balinese people for weekends and holidays to escape the heat, as it is usually much cooler at these altitudes (1000m). With all the rain and the wind and the drop in temperature, it actually got quite cold, and we brought no jumpers with us. It rained and rained and a mist came in off the lake, we could not even see the other side of the lake. We wandered the grounds and saw lots of flowers, we even saw two small antelope in a mini zoo type of thing.
We then drove the long trek back to Ubud, we spent a lot of time in the van today, with much colder temperatures and lots of rain. We made a brief stop at a Chocolate factory, where we saw how they still make chocolate by hand and we got to taste many samples of different white, milk and dark chocolate, we also bought some for ourselves, as well as a long-awaited coffee stop. When we finally made it back to the hotel, we showered and put on dry clothes and then went looking for dinner. We went to a cafe across the road but did not fare well, but it’s the first really bad food we had, so I guess we really cannot complain. We stopped by the MiniMart on the way back for some chips and nuts to nibble on. Early night.