Letter from Bali – V
We’re all sitting around here waiting for a king to die. Actually the king in question is already dead, and wrapped, and hopefully put on ice too; but he isn’t quite finished yet. Our king, late of Peliatan-Ubud, kicked the royal bucket a couple of weeks back and tomorrow he is getting the biggest and best and most expensive cremation in living memory. Living memory! And Bali loves a good cremation. So while we wait for the family event of the century to unfold, why don’t we catch up on recent comings and goings along the ring of fire?
The country has been in the news a bit. Volcanos here and tsunamis there. For the record we are above 500 ft and ten KM from the nearest coast so any wave big enough to get us will likely be in your living room soon. Unless that is we’re at the beach of course! I can see our nearest volcano early in the morning before the clouds settle in but she hasn’t gone off in a big way for centuries and she isn’t due for weeks and weeks. Relax! The only people in Indonesia who haven’t learnt to relax are the Papua folks, and for good reason. You can catch up with all your latest Indonesian military abuses here.
None of that is going to stop us from enjoying ourselves so we girded our loins and stepped forth into the local wilds to what is known as Goa Gajahajabitahaha… or something of the sort. In Goa Gabjijabawa lay our destination, the Elephant Cave, and since you say it in a loud and scary voice we should really try that again… the Elephant Cave! Much better. It is explicitly accurate too. One elephant. One cave.
Now Indiana Jones had mysterious tombs, steamy jungles and dart blowing tribal assailants to navigate to his prize. The darts have been put aside in favour of T-shirt stalls and Coca-Cola pedlars but much of the feel remains.
The great god Ganesh was said to have hung out here in times past (it dates from 1000AD) – He is our lone elephant.
If you dare the tunnel you will find it gets hotter the further you venture. It isn’t far but it is appropriately dark, and low, and it is at about this point where you stop being flippant about the chances of an earthquake, and you hurry to get your camera out and get a shot of what the fuss is all about. You, dear reader, need not go to all the fuss. In glorious technicolour you can revel in the treasure of Goa Gajahahahaha: The three testicles of Ganesh! So now you know why they call him great! Apparently it is lucky to rub them but the instructions detailing the correct order were only posted in Indonesian. Perish the thought if you stroked him the wrong way!
I had an unaccountable need for a wash following this last outing, so a trip to the beach was in order. This is Bundalybooboo beach, south of Denpasar and the airport and off to the right on the way to Monkey temple (classic Bali directions), which makes for fine surfing when the tide is up and good snorkelling on the reefs at any time.
For those of you in the Northern hemisphere, console yourself that the weather is only going to get worse for another four or five months. Cheer up, winter is practically over!
A Bali experience I’ve been pinching to squeeze onto this page is the curious design of the ‘Western’ toilet. The details of this mystery are under investigation but for now we are content to blame the Dutch for its short fall. Incidentally, this is not a ‘normal’ Bali toilet. A ‘normal’ Bali toilet can be found here (censored till polls close). A ‘special’ Bali toilet is a what you usually end up finding when the time left to you is measured in seconds. If you want to see a ‘special’ Bali toilet you can risk clicking here (censored till polls close). What you see above you is deluxe. It is the Hilton Ritz Seasons Michelin Star Hiawotha big smokin’ Chief of Bali toilets… the ‘Western’! And it is all Holland’s fault.
Can YOU see the problem?
I’m being slapped around the head and neck. I’m being told that some things are not fit to publish. I will leave this in your hands then, gentle reader, and please make sure to wash yourself afterwards. Would YOU like to know more about the Bali toilet conundrum? Speak now, or forever hold it in.
And finally, to calm us down before the big royal ‘off’ tomorrow, a soothing picture to show you how the next crop is doing. It is ploughing day on the farm. Good on you, girl! The king would have been proud.