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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Pura Lempuyang

INDONESIA | Thursday, 31 January 2019 | Views [89]

Gateway to Heaven

Gateway to Heaven

Oksana and I went to Batur yesterday, and today we'd do an excursion to Pura Lempuyang and the rice terraces of northeast Bali. First, I'd like to talk about another travel lesson regarding something that (nearly) happened to me yesterday. When I went to swap 100 Australian dollars, the money changer tried to rip me off using a sleight-of-hand technique. He counted out two sticks of ten 50,000 rupiah notes and when I counted them there were only 16 notes when there are supposed to be 20 ($100 AUD is roughly equivalent to one million rupiah). After I pointed out that I was short, he counted them again and then I counted them again, and I was short again (my $100 AUD was still on the table). He got frustrated and then threw my $100 AUD back in my face and said "you go elsewhere." I went to the same money changer a few days ago and he asked if I had a big note, so now I know it's suspicious of him to ask that. When I went to a different money changer five minutes later, the lady politely counted out one million rupiah and then there was no drama when I counted them. In Bali, small kiosks offering better rates are likely to be a giveaway that they're dodgy. 200,000 rupiah is about $20 AUD or $14 USD but that actually goes a fair way in Bali especially if you don't drink. The lesson here: always count your money before leaving the money changer and always be the last to count your money. I was fortunate but others won't be, and I've taken a photo of his kiosk so people know not to use it. 

Suster and her husband have made great tour leaders, so Oksana and I would go to a place I've been looking forward to: Pura Lempuyang. Joining us today would be a couple named Andrei and Liliya. Originally from Lithuania, they live in London and speak English fluently. It has really surprised me that so many people from the former Soviet republics visit Bali. 

Over the course of three trips to Bali, I've seen a hell of a lot with various people using various transport methods to go with various types of accommodations. Many of the places Oksana suggested I'd already been to but Pura Lempuyang I'd yet to visit. As one of the holiest temples in Balinese Hinduism, We were fortunate for there to be ceremony at the temple today, and as such we had to dress Bali style. The hat was a bit uncomfortable but this get-up made for some interesting photos. Dancers in traditonal dress... 

From what is known as the "Gateway to Heaven" is a dramatic view of Mount Agung, which began erupting again in 2017. These volcanoes are notorious for disrupting flights into and out of Bali. 

The ceremony was spectacular, but meant there were loads of people and not many good photo opportunities. Someday I'd love to visit Lempuyang at 7 AM when there are no other people. Not far from the temple, we stopped at another set of rice terraces. Juliett didn't disappoint... 

These rice terraces are flatter than those at Ubud. 

After yesterday's spectacular buffet, lunch was rather lacklustre today. A pizza was one that I could have made for a dollar. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw our vehicle wth nobody in it (although it was locked) and Juliett, my drone, sitting on the seat. I had to ring Suster on Whatsapp and get her to come back straight away because people will smash windows for drones, iPods, phones, and even things like a pair of sandals! I met a couple in NZ several years ago who were on their honeymoon in Costa Rica, and somebody smashed the window of their rental car and stole only a pair of sandals. They ended up having to pay more than $600 to fix the broken window. It can and certainly does happen! 

Our next stop was Tirta Gangga, a former royal palace built by the king of Karangasem. Ponds full of fish, lillipads, and a lot of lush green make this place feel special. 

From there we went for a swim. Liliya is a former gymnast and posed majestically:

The beaches of Bali's northeast are far less visited than those at Kuta and Legian. For me it was a combination of swimming, photography, and flying Juliett. With her I was able to reach a tiny island otherwise unreachable. 

 

I shot so many nice photos today that I can't fit all the ones I like into my story. The only thing I didn't do well with today was geocaching, as I visited with zero finds in three attempts; disappointing in a place with very few caches. Our final stop of the day was a view of Balinese macaques and unlike at Pura Uluwatu, they won't steal your glasses but you still have to be careful. 

He appears to be the wise old man of the group. Just like yesterday, we managed to fit a lot into one action-packed day. In all, we visited two different temples, saw monkeys, went swimming, and I flew Juliett for some majestic photos.

When I think about it, I'm happy that Oksana chose a destination I've been before; had she chose Sri Lanka or somewhere I haven't been, I'd be absolutely itching to get out there, go for a walk, see things, and take photos. After all these years I've had a nice trip with a companion. It has been an absolutely wonderful time with her, and to me she says "spasibo, moy dorogoy" and I say "spasibo, moya dorogoya." That's "thank you, my dear" in Russian to a man and a woman, respectively. More Balinese adventures await...

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