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  TABANAN, BALI - INDONESIA  

Tabanan Regency Tour

Sept 23

We left the anchorage early and moved the boat to Bali Marina in Benoa Harbour. Once settled in at the dock we caught a taxi back to the anchorage in time to board a bus for a full day free excursion put on by SeaBali. There were not many yachties in attendance for the tour but 4 modern, air conditioned buses with giant viewing windows and reclining seats awaited us. We climbed on the second bus, which seats 50, and there were only 8 of us aboard!

Police Escort

Pulling out of the parking area we could hear a siren and there were flashing lights ahead of the bus in front of the convoy. We suddenly realized that we had a police escort. The “polisi” led our procession of buses through the streets at a hasty rate of speed as other vehicles pulled over for us to pass (or were sometimes just pushed off the road!). Mostly we drove down the middle of the road and often on the wrong side, people and motorists scattering in our wake. Each intersection had police posted, who had stopped the traffic and we whizzed through the red lights, never stopping or even slowing down.  It was a rather frightening drive but one I will always remember. I supposed they were trying to assure us of the maximum security but it more made us feel more like a target of dignitaries!

Our first stop was at Hardy’s Supermarket, which is a 3 story building full of clothing, crafts and groceries. The prices are fixed but they automatically give you a 15% discount and they have almost every item that you see in the streets and shops downtown but all in one location. We found some great shirts for Gord and I picked up a few small baskets.

We were all ushered into a staged area, given Bali coffee and escorted to chairs for the entertainment segment. Several girls with elaborate costumes and makeup danced for us. Their extremely long  fingers moved gracefully and looked like they bent backward, they were so flexible.

Next the audience was invited to join in and the dancing became quite provocative, considering the conservative culture of the Hindu people. There was lots of suggestive hip and pelvic motions supplemented by the exaggerated head and eye movements that make the dancing so unique.

Before boarding the bus again, we had a very tasty lunch…rice, chicken, beef, vegetables, noodles ….all for 4000 rp ($50 cents!) each.

We continued on the bus, through absolutely gorgeous tropical scenery of endless and intricate jigsaw of spectacular carved rice terraces, and very neat and structured farmland of coffee, beans, corn, tomatoes, and many other crops. The Tabanan regency is the primary agricultural area and our drive took us into the mountainous regions also.

Pura Ulum Danu

We stopped at Bedugul where there is a lake situated 1240 m above sea level in the northern area of Bali. Here there is a Hindu/Buddhist temple called Pura Ulum Danu, dedicated to the goddess of water. It has eleven tiers of thatched-roof merus.

We stopped briefly at Subak Museum, which had displays devoted to water management and irrigation which has been practices for thousands of years in Bali. The exhibits included traditional equipment of the Balinese farm.

Tanah Lot Temple

Our next venue was Tanah Lot Temple built by a Hindu Holy priest in the 16th century. Set on top of a black lava rock 200 meters off shore it is viewed from a high escarpment above.

We were greeted by a group of officials and offered drinks, peanuts, chips and fruit. We wondered around the grounds waiting to photograph the most famous temple at sunset.

 

Brice had just been "riced" at the Temple.

Famous Sunsets

Our wait for the sunset was victorious and we were rewarded with some amazing sites.

Dinner in the Temple Grounds

We were invited to dine with the government officials from the Tabanan district. Dinner was served to us in a restaurant on the temple grounds, elaborately decorated with beautifully set tables.

We dined with Martha and Brice (Silver Fern) and John and Amanda (Ocelot). The buffet meal was exceptionally delicious, rice with peanuts, chicken, pork, satay, vegetables, soup, salad and dessert. Our drinks of beer and wine were even gratis!

We were entertained by a local Gamelan Orchestra with a group of bronze instruments, met allophones, gongs, cymbal and hand drums. Each traditional dance and performance has its own special combination of instruments to build the nature of the ceremony, Bamboo flutes, four string violin type instruments and jew-harp like instruments are used to provide special effect.
A group of dancers performed for us and they were insistent that the yachties join in and learn the dance steps. I found that I just didn't have the long, long fingers required to make the moves!

We arrived back at the marina about 9 pm and joined the party on Tactical Directions with Stardust and Gone with the Wind. It ended up being a late night as we caught up on news since our last meeting 3 weeks before.

 

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