Friday, June 18, 2010
the first morning in ubud we wandered into a temple to check out the architecture. no one was around and it felt sort of strange to walk into a holy place without being invited. but later that night we went back to the same temple to see a traditional kecak dance and fire trance ceremony, which were both incredible.
i ended up sitting next to the most adorable couple from malaysia on their honeymoon.. in fact, as BEAUTIFUL, gorgeous, idyllic as bali was, i almost enjoyed all the travelers we met more. earlier in our hotel we met a couple from new zealand who were on their way to india to visit their daughter who had founded an organization there like this one. he was also an energy healer and had imported organic vegetables to NZ before his retirement. after we hashed out the oil spill and economic crisis with them, the topic turned to aliens and having children.
we also had three taxi drivers named norman and met this guy when we went down to the beach... apparently he's a pretty big deal in the world of tropical architecture. he was 32 sheets to the wind when we met him sitting in a local bar in sanur. he told us stories of bob dylan, the eagles, surfing in hawaii, and his multiple indonesian wives. we thought about inviting him to dinner since we were enjoying his stories so much, but he seemed pretty content to sit and drink with the locals in the place (who he said were in the balinese mob). The day before we met him we'd traveled around the island with one of the normans. first we visited pura titra empul, a holy spring where local people bathe.
then we came across the temple at gua gajah, or the elephant cave... not only is it a hindu temple dedicated to ganesha, but also is the site of a destroyed 11th century buddist temple.
inside this cave where little crevices for meditation.
our "guide" who slept above the cave and also claimed to be a guardian of the site led us to the site of the Buddhist temple. it had been destroyed and covered by a rice field until the 1950s when it was rediscovered. gua gajah was my favorite spot on the island... the combination of the green moss, lush trees, bodhi tree, and flowing water really gave me the feeling we were in a holy place.