Monday, May 9, 2016

Wednesday May 11 – Made’s Compound – Orchid Garden – Titi Banda Statue – Sari Ananta (Glass Maker) – Garuda Wisnu Kenyans Cultural Park – Pit Stop for lunch – Pura Luhur Uluwatu - Sultan Beach and Padang Padang Beach – Big traffic jam in Ungasan

On Wednesday morning we set off with Made once again. This time on a journey to see Uluwatu on the south west tip of Bali, down past Denpasar and Kuta.

We had asked Made if he would take us to his residential compound again, and he was quite delighted to do so. So Laura had the experience of seeing a Balinese person’s home compound. I think I have previously described this, so I will just add that the buildings have been built over the years, and all of the work on the throne for the deified ancestors was done by Made and his brother. It was gorgeous.

 Our drive was entirely through little streets lined with craft shops, restaurants, and all things “tourist”. The exception is the exotic design of even the poorest home. All have their temples, and beautiful roofs and architecture adorned with delicate carvings of Balinese cultural stories and colourful flowers and trees. We drove to the Bali Orchid Garden which I had really wanted to see. However, when we got there, despite entreaties to view beautiful flowers, we decided that since orchids were out of season, there may not be too much colour to view in the gardens, and on looking through the gate, the flowers looked pretty dry and worn out. But I am sure, it is a beautiful place to visit.

We came to a huge magnificent statue and display at the outskirts of Sanur which filled the centerpiece of a triangle connecting four roads at the entrance to Denpasar. Made told us it was the story of Rama and his wife Sita. It turns out that this is the Titi Banda Statue. It shows Rama, the seventh incarnation of the Hindu God Vishnu with his 18 monkey troops and some monkey generals fighting (or building a bridge to go and fight) Ravana, a monarch of Lanaka to rescue Sita who was kidnapped by Ravana. It is quite exotic and we only wished we had the courage to cross the fast moving lanes of highway that separated it from us to explore it some more.

While looking at the monument, Laura discovered a glass manufacturing business, and within minutes had disappeared inside to see if she could buy something! It turned out to be Sari Ananta, specialists in Balinese Art Glass Stone Carving & Water Fountain Products for Garden Landscape ( Their pieces of carved glass panels, and garden ornaments were beautiful and of course, inevitably, both of us bought something to bring home with us!! Luckily, I remembered at the last moment about the Canadian customs regulation about importing unfinished wood! Laura asked them to seal it!!

Our next stop was the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park. After Made mentioned it, I took a quick look at the guide book. It said “it is best avoided unless you have a lot of time!” We had a lot of time!!! It was actually an interesting experience. It is about the story of Garuda and was started at the beginning of the 1990s….and is nowhere near finished!! It is built in the desolate wasteland surrounding an abandoned limestone mine. There are two statues finished, those of Lord Krishna and a statue of Garuda is planned. They have “artists impressions” available on view and promises that it will be finished next year (2017), however, everyone believes that will never happen!!! In the meantime it is used for large scale parties (such as was being held that evening), and cultural events. There was a lovely water feature at which a Balinese dancer offered to have her picture taken with visitors. She was stunning, and spoke really good English. I think she said she was 22. There was also a cultural outdoor theatre showing a performance of the Barong. The views over the ocean were amazing and all in all it was an interesting experience. The carving on the statues and the immensity of the project is overwhelming!!

After this, we headed to the ocean. En route we found a “Pit Stop” to grab a hamburger at. Yes!!! It was gross!! Tasted really good though….just like Harveys!!!

Pura Luhur Uluwatu is built on the front edge of a promontory of limestone rock 825 feet above the Indian Ocean – the Bukit Peninsula. Behind it lies a richly vegetated forest. It is said to have been first built in the 11th century and then rebuilt in the 16th century. It is also said, that a high priest attained “moksa” or conscious death here. Sacred monkeys roamed the temple and the cliff side walk leading up to the temple. We were not allowed inside part of the temple, but could walk around the outside. There were some gorgeous views over the ocean, and as I stood looking out, I imagined the tranquility the priests must have felt waking up in the early morning to such a breathtaking view.

Evening was wearing on by the time we left, but we managed to slip in a visit to Sultan beach. Although the ocean was gorgeous in the setting sun, the area was brimming with young tourists and the surf crowd. We acknowledged what everyone had told us about staying away from the southern part of Bali….but, it was still beautiful!!

We headed home from the South Kuta area, over the Mandara Toll Road a beautiful highway that snakes over the Gulf of Benoa for about 12.7 k. It was opened in 2013 and connects, South Kuta, Denpasar, Nusa Dua and the airport.  We got stuck in a massive traffic jam in Ungasan, skirted Sanur, and arrived back at the villa saturated with beauty around 7:30/8:00  p.m. Time for dinner, and bed.

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