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Monday, March 25, 2013

Adventures to Tirta Empul... and America!

Last night I left a banana out on the patio table of our hotel so I could get a good look at one of the many monkeys who frequent our hotel in the morning!  It worked, although I didn't have my camera settings right before I snapped away, so this is the only decent photo I have.

Anyone out there a fan of Anthony Bourdain's TV show NO RESERVATIONS, where he visits places all around the world and samples various foods?  Well, he visited Bali a while back and went to THIS exact place where we had lunch today!

Turns out, after watching the episode a couple minutes before writing this blog, I realized that not only did A and I sit at the exact same table he did when he filmed the show, but we ordered the SAME thing!  ... and  no we didn't get sick after eating this - only by the grace of God and the fact that Korea has made our stomach's strong as steel with all the spices they use there!

Here's part of the episode if you wanna check it out.

After lunch, we jumped on the scooter and headed 18 kilometers north east, through palm tree covered 1 lane roads...

...that wound through tiny rural villages decorated for Galungan...

and more stunning rice fields...

 to check out Pura Tirtha Empul, built in 926 AD and famous for it's natural hot springs and it's holy water, which Balinese people come to purify themselves in. 

Don't forget your free sarong!

These are the two bathing areas.  There were some Balinese people, along with some foreigners, bathing in the larger pool, and then a woman and her daughter doing some sort of ritual including flowers, bottling of the water, prayers and bathing in this more private pool tucked behind the larger one.

The hot springs were pretty cool. There was a temple worker scooping up all of the green film on the top of the water and throwing it over the wall here, nearly hitting people every time he slung it over!  I could have sat there and watched, all day, as people unassumingly walked by and got slimed with this nasty green goo being hurled over the wall!  lol 

The pools were stunning in themselves, but the Balinese people bathing in the water, who believe to actually be bathing in holy water, was a really special thing to watch. 

We ended our temple adventure with a walk through the market back to the scooter. 

We had such a great drive back to Ubud and stopped along the way to see how the smaller villages were decorated for the big festival!

We even saw these guys running down the street with their 200 pound pig, which will soon become their main dish for the galungan festival.... ouch!

Just in case you wanted another look.... sad

We decided to drive west to see the sunset over the ayung river...

... which you have to hike 400 steps down too.  We got about 1/2 way and realized there wasn't going to be much of a sunset since it was an overcast and cloudy day and turned around and hiked back up.  You can't tell, but we're about 20 stories above those rice terraces down below at this point.

On our way back up the steps we ran into this guy who had deflated a whitewater raft (from a whitewater rafting trip) and was carrying it up all 400 stairs to take it back to his office... and he does this TWICE a day!  We also spotted this foreign couple riding on a scooter with no helmets while the woman breastfed her baby!  LOL Only in Ubud!

We left Ubud the next morning (sad!!!) and headed to Seminyak Beach, which is UBER touristy, but the Galungan Festival (Bali's biggest festival of the year) begins in 2 days and it's also the day we need to get to the airport and we were worried we wouldn't be able to get a taxi to the airport from Ubud, since most Hindu's are at home all day with their family.  So, with our feet dragging behind us, we'll sadly headed to Seminyak.... Luckily, we found a FANTASTIC deal on and got 60% off a room at Arana Suite!

We LOVED this place and barely left, except to attempt to do a little shopping.

The next day we caught a flight from Denpasar to Hong Kong and had a 6 hour layover, which we spent in the airport.  Then we went from Hong Kong to Korea and spent 24 hours back in Busan, eating Dolsut Bi Bim Bap, picking up our luggage from my school and bidding farewell to the only place we've called home for 4 years, then, we took a flight from Busan to Shanghai and spent 24 hours in Shanghai.  We had great intentions of checking out Qibao, but I was really sick, so we stayed in the hotel the whole 24 hours... sad.  Then, the next morning we flew straight from Shanghai to Los Angeles.

That's 5 countries and 5 flights in 5 days! 
 ... and alas, after 4 years, we're home in America for good!