I walked from my hotel to Samil's 5 star Hotel Paradiso (10minute walk). Here are some snaps from my route from the Hotel.
Samil's hotel is pretty posh and has a fountain in the centre inside the foyer with sculptured men worshipping the water. It looked funny so I took a pic. I can't explain what amuses me ;)
The tour was a car with a driver and Samil planned out the route with the driver including some things he thought I should see :)
Bali is known as the Island of the gods and the reason why becomes clear when you know that Bali is a Hindu country and in Hindu there are 330 million gods (according to all that is wiki)!!! Holy moly! There are 3 million people on Bali. Therefore they can each take 110 gods and still not have to share ;) Maybe this is why there are so many temples and shrines. Getting gifts for the gods sounds like a lifetime task and I certainly wouldn't want to host them all for the holidays ;)
Joking aside, I read a bit about Hindu today and I was suprised. It sounds like you can be polytheist, monotheistic, agnostic or atheist and you can still be Hindu? "How so?" you may ask?! - I would - The Hindu gods can, if I have got this correct, be viewed as aspects of ourselves. Therefore the number of gods just reflects the number of permutations of aspects of ourselves. To worship that God is to personify and then reflect on that aspect of ourselves. The soul being the Brahman, the ultimate reality in the universe.
Wiki quote about Brahman: "It is the pervasive, genderless, infinite, eternal truth and bliss which does not change, yet is the cause of all changes. Brahman as a metaphysical concept is the single binding unity behind the diversity in all that exists in the universe."
Anyway I think this is important to know as today I went to see some temples and on one section of the trip I counted how many temples and shrines I saw while timing the period of counting - if only I could have graphed it ;). Even way up into the hills, after a journey of over an hour, I saw a temple or shrine out of one side of the car every 6 seconds on average. :) We would have been travelling at 30-40mph at that point. There are a lot of these things :)
The first temple we visited was in a place called Mengwi and was host to what is know as The Royal Temple or Taman Ayun locally. The gardens surrounding this temple are beautiful and were featured in around the world in 80 gardens.
Since the temple is really for the religious stuff we are only allowed to look and now go in but here is a little temple we found outside that I had a go at praying in:
The shrines around the main temple was complete with offerings for the day. Here you can see the traditional pretty flowers and a sweet as the food plus a nice cigarette for the deity to have a good smoke on. I thought this was amusing and likely a one off but I saw this all over the place after than. The gods are smokers it seems :)
The black thatch you see is rare and as such is only permitted to be used in Bali for temples. If it's black thatch it's a temple but the main giveaway is that temples really look like temples :)
I think the key attributes for a status in Bali is big bulgy eyes, buck teeth, boobs and a pot belly. Why though I have no idea.
We drove up into the hills to see the rice fields. Most food is imported in Bali but their rice fields are pretty darn cool to look at and also protected as a world heritage site.
It was then that rainy season in a tropical climate delivered and the heavens opened. Luckily I had an umbrella with me (being a Brit and all). We took photos and then started to move on to the next place. Then it started to really rain...
... And rain...
Luckily it's a funny one place and one area can be drenched and others completely fine so by the time we arrived at the Monkey Forrest we were out of the rain! Plus now we had monkeys!
Monkey and baby!
Monkey and smaller baby underneath...
Statue of scary monkey behind two lovely people. This is Samil :)
These monkeys were much nicer than the Uluwatu monkeys and you could get quite close without upsetting them. They'd still steal your stuff though... Cheeky monkeys!
Monkeys on a wall...
Monkey cleaning himself...
Hindu monkeys praying...
Monkeys deciding who to throw poop st next (I assume) ;)
10yr old monkey. They can live up to 20ish but this old fella is still considered an old monkey. He looks like very grumpy!
They also had bats and I've never been great with bats... They freak me out. Therefore when asked if I wanted to hold a bat I thought "goodness, no!" But said "yes I probably should" ;) Their fur is sooo soft! Their wings feel like bones in very thin leather.
See now how much I have already matured on this trip... Not a single bat pun!
... Bat now onto the next place (damn it, still a child).
Next stop is the impressive sight of Tenah lot. Tenah lot is essentially a temple that was built on a big piece of rock in the sea, separated by the mainland by sea erosion. Ages ago some dude went there and thought "this place feels kind holy and might be a good place to worship the sea" and so a temple was built to worship Dewa Baruna or Bhatara Segara 'God of the sea'.
Me with a statue that has a Wallace & Gromit style 'cheese' face!
Now we have visited a lot and Samil is going to head to Uluwatu. Since I went there yesterday, Samil drops me off in an area called Seminyak where I have arranged to meet another new friend :) This is a rather long blog post so I'll follow this up with a part II :)