UP IN THE CLOUDS, DOWN IN THE DITCH

On a visit to Bali in 2019 we decided to take a Bali Nature one day tour. We chose the ‘The

Eternal Pathway to East Bali’ and it certainly lived up to its name. It was escorted by Desi, a

guide who I’d met on the first day and we were surprised to find that we were the only ones

to take the trip other than her and her driver Nengah.

This is a day that I think I’ll remember for the rest of my life. It started at the hotel where

Deb and I were dressed up in traditional Balinese Temple costumes prior to commencing

the tour. This was necessary in order for us to enter the sacred Hindu temple on Mount

Seraya, our first major stop. On the way we came across a family of monkeys who were very

grateful for a feed of peanuts that our driver, Nengah was able to provide.

The spectacular coastal road of eastern Bali is an adventure in its own right with tall

mountains on one side and stunning cliffs and raw ocean views on the other. Climbing in the

cloud at Puralempuyang, the temple is situated just below Mount Seraya. The lower temple

offers a stunning view of Mount Agung through a unique split gate. Mount Agung is an

active volcano and its most recent eruption was late November 2017 causing thousands to

evacuate disrupting air travel and creating environmental damage from the ash. Because we

were dressed appropriately, we were able access the higher temple whereupon we were

invited by Desi to participate in a Hindu prayer ceremony usually performed three times a

day by the followers of the religion. A great spiritual and peaceful experience.

On the way down the mountain we were invited by Desi to check out a rice paddy. We

didn’t realise however that we were actually going to have to walk all the way down

through the rice field. The rice fields are a bit like a maze with a mix of grass and concrete

walking tracks which we had to navigate by choosing which ones would take our weight.

Which brings me to the part where I lost my footing and ended up head first in one of the

irrigation ditches. A moment earlier we had seen a dead snake. Desi pointed out that there

were probably some live ones around and with that in mind I got myself out of that drain

double quick. I ended up however with several cuts and bruises. Without any bandages to

stop the bleeding Desi resorted to mulching up some leaves from a nearby tree which did

the trick until we caught up with Nengah and the first aid kit.

A quick walk across the road to the Water Palace at Tirta Gangga took us to a lovely

peaceful spot where we were able to walk around the gardens and have a swim in one of

the pools if we so wished. I decided not to as I had already had plenty of water for one day.

Our lunch at the traditional Balinese restaurant within the complex was superb and was

further heightened by a great panoramic view of the beautiful garden.

The best thing about this tour is the fact than whenever the guide sees something

interesting along the way they will stop the car and allow you to explore that passion.

The last stop on the tour was a honey centre. There we were introduced to the black bee

which as the suggests produces black honey. I’m sure it is an acquired taste but like all good

things that don’t taste great it’s probably very good for you.

Back at our hotel room we were just freshening up for dinner when we felt a strong gust of

wind rattle the heavy doors leading into our bathroom suite. It seemed strange considering

we didn’t have the balcony door open and soon came to the realisation that we were

experiencing an earthquake. It lasted only a short time and did no damage. A quick word to

one of the staff members confirmed what we had gone through. We were later to find out

that it was a 5.4 category earthquake centred off shore near the island of Lombok.

Rossco