Late Friday night at 10:30 pm, we drove to a pura dalem (temple of the dead) in a nearby village to witness a Calonarang ritual. After mistakenly landing at what seemed to be a carnival, then finding a Calonarang, but at the wrong temple, we arrived and settled in to watch. It was a little hard to follow, but it deals with white and black magic, and honoring the balance between good and evil. We got home around 2:30 am. To the pictures!
The next morning, five of us went to a water temple in Tempaskiring. It was a really awesome place.
A spring billows up through the sand in a rectangular pool populated by some plants, a few minnows and an eel.
Not far away are a couple of pools featuring many spouts from the spring, each with it’s own spiritual function in a purification ritual. The first ten are for cleansing the undesirable aspects of character, the next two for death and cremation rituals (most necessarily skip these), then one for cleansing bad dreams, one for supplying wisdom, one for erasing unkept promises, one for bad memories, and the final seven for cleansing the seven chakras of the body. It’s a special experience.
Afterwards, a trip to a coffee plantation last weekend was also pretty amazing. We were lead through a path containing a couple kinds of coffee plants, vanilla vines, cinnamon and clove trees (the leaves smell too!!), ginger flowers, cocoa pods, lemongrass, citronella, and snakefruit.
We reached a small hut where another fellow was slow roasting (2 hours) a small batch of coffee next to another small cage where the luwak (civet) was kept.
For those unfamiliar, this small weasel-like mammal has a taste for ripe coffee cherries–but it can’t actually fully digest the bean. A delicacy (and purported aphrodisiac) is the coffee made from the beans collected from the poo of the luwak. At our subsequent coffee tasting, some elected to pay 50,000 rupiah (about $4) to try the luwak coffee. I elected to to stick with the other complimentary and poo-free varieties. Call me unadventurous if you will, but there was nothing but a tepid response among those who dared.
The Wonders of Klungkung
I began the last day of our only full weekend looking at the murals at Kertha Gosa (the Hall of Justice) at the Klungkung Palace. These grounds were largely destroyed in conflicts with the Dutch in the early 20th century. The grounds were renovated in the 1960s.
In addition to the morally instructive depictions, there are also series of panels telling the Balinese story that parallels A Thousand and One Nights as well as instructions for marriage… or at least our guide told us. We weren’t sure how much he was making up and how much was accurate. We also visited the museum nearby.
It is a small trek to get to this white sand beach, but the reward is worth it! The water was an amazing blue blue blue and it was so warm and buoyant. I even went snorkeling for the first time!
As someone who grew up in a landlocked place, I’ve always found the prospect of purposely immersing yourself a location where simply anything can eat, sting, or drown you to be mortifying. But after a few mistaken gulps of salt water, it wasn’t too bad. Seeing a school (I almost typed “herd.” See also: Midwestern) of medium-sized black fish swim through the coral was fantastic. I actually look forward to the chance to do it again!
The day rounded out with a dusk visit to Goa Lawah, the Bat Cave Temple. As we waited for the evening exodus of the bats, we watched the evening offerings being made and chatted with some Hungarian ex-pats who were showing the sights to visiting relatives.
When the bats started leaving, it was a real sight—not quite like a horror movie, but a pretty dense cloud of flying mammal. I wasn’t sure how long to stay, but the bats let me know with an offering of their own placed on my head. As I was in full temple gear, I was mostly relieved it didn’t get on my udeng—and really grateful for the packages of baby wipes my boyfriend had packed for me.