Mr Made (his company- Bali Creative Tours) came and picked us up at 8am from the supermarket on the main road. He was lovely, chatting away to us about Bali and giving us loads of information. We got to know him and him us too and he made us feel comfortable. He had a nice big people carrier car so we had loads of room too. Made told us that around 90% of the people in Bali were Hindus and had strong religious beliefs. We could already see this in Ubud and understood more as we went along the trip. Their main strong beliefs are to be good people, be hardworking and to be respected in the community. Their communities and values were also very strong. He told us about their religious beliefs about good and bad spirits.
As he had picked us up a bit earlier as he had come from Denpasar where he lived, to Ubud, we did things in a bit of a different order in the morning as we had to go back on ourselves. Our first stop was Tohpati, which is known as the Center of Balinese hand-weaving. We stopped at a hand-weaving factory and shop where many women hand made the items such as scarves and clothes and other souvenirs. It was amazing how they did it. It had so many layers which they had to draw, colour, outline to make the final product. It must have took such a long time and they were so precise with their colourings. Next we stopped in Celuk where we went to a factory and shop where they created silver jewellery and ornaments out of fine strands of silver. We went to go and see a Barong and Keris Dance show in Batubulan, which was a traditional Balinese dance show delivered in story form. It was really interesting and gave us some insight into Balinese traditions and culture.
The show lasted an hour and then we drove north to Batuan where we visited a traditional Balinese house compound where a family of around 6 lived. Made told us that Balinese people lived in large villages which were then split down twice into smaller villages. Within a family compound there were various buildings- everything wasn't all in one house like ours-such as a building for the kitchen, a separate building for bedrooms and a separate toilet room. If grandparents were still alive they would have their bedroom is an open building so they were sleeping under a shelter outside. Every building was positioned in a certain way to reflect their religion. A toilet building had to be the furthest away from the kitchen and within a certain position in the compound and of the temple. All family compounds had their own temple and the size of it depend on how rich or poor the family is.
We next stopped in Mas where we saw men hand carving figurines, some huge, from ebony, jackfruit and coconut wood. It was very impressive what they could carve and they made some very interesting (and some very rude) ornaments that you could buy. We then went to the 11th Century Elephant Cave Temple (Goa Gajah) in Bedulu. This was a famous temple and cave in Bali and had fountains with holy water there too. There was a cave that had an elephant face carved into the outside. Before lunch we stopped in Sribatu at a spice garden where they grew many different things; coffee, clove, vanilla, fruits and other spices. We saw where they grew these items and then how they picked them and used them for the end product to be sold. We were given different teas and coffees to try, which were all very interesting and most very nice. We could pay extra to try a cup of Luak coffee, which was a very expensive to usually buy- it cost £60 for a small jar in their shop! Luak coffee was made by giving a Luak- a small cat like animal- ripe coffee beans to eat, which they loved. In the Luak's stomach the fermentation process took place and when the Luak went to the toilet it s*** out the fermented coffee beans still whole, which made them rich and full of aroma. They then cleaned these beans and used them for Luak coffee. We decided to try a cup to see what it was like but it really wasn't that nice. Plus when drinking it all I could think about was the Luak s***ting out this coffee!
For lunch we stopped at a restaurant in Kintamani overlooking the active Mount Batur Volcano and crater lake, Mount Catur and Mount Agung, the biggest mountain in Bali at 3500m high. The views were amazing! We kept going to get some lunch from the buffet and coming back outside to our seats on the balcony and being shocked by the sights! On the way up to Lovina after lunch we stopped in Sangsit at the old Beji temple, which is one of the most important irrigation temples in the north of Bali. The temple was beautiful and was very old but well preserved. At all the temples both men and women have to put on a sarong to cover their legs.
The end of the day was in Lovina where we checked in at our hotel for the night. The hotel was nice and it was right on the beach front. The room was nice for the night and had it's own balcony. Lovina didn't really have many tourists but there were still people on the beach and in the town walking around trying to sell things to you. Lovina was a bit strange and the men were blatantly pervy which was weird. Made told us later in the trip that a lot of men from other islands in Indonesia come to Bali to see tourist women as they are from islands that don't see any and the women who live on their islands do not dress like tourists.
It had been sunny and boiling all day but as we got to Lovina, the clouds came in so we couldn't see sunset over the sea. After dinner we headed back to the room as we had an early morning ahead of us setting off on the dolphin trip at 5am. At 10pm we had a power cut for a couple of seconds and the weather had got really bad. The thunder was so loud and the lightening was so bright over the sea! It doesn't sound good for the morning!
Today has been a first great day of the trip! We couldn't have asked for more and for a better guide. We found out loads about Bali- cultures, religion, people- everything. We could ask Mr Made anything and he would tell us honestly. He told us about corruption in Bali and was always very straight forward. He was very friendly and helpful. He wasn't always talking though and we didn't feel the need to fill silences. Just how we liked it!