The Island of Gods 

Yesterday we decided to go along with our plan to visit some more of Ubud surroundings, despite the poor state we are due to the lack of sleep the previous night. High fever, headackes and barely able to move are not reasons enough to keep us immobile; stubbornly we decide to move along.                                                 

The day was interesting and rich as much as the rest of them, yet extremely tiring.    It started with a traditional balinese dance which for some reason made me think of Romanian traditional dances (especially during these days with the Christmas and new year celebration). The resemblance is mainly related to the masks of the protagonists.The narrative, the usual battle between good and evil, is represented here by Barong and Rangda, where Barong is the king of spirits, leader of the hosts of good, and enemy Rangda – the demon queen of Leyaks (group of mythological figure in the form of flying head with entrails), the child eating Rangda leading the witches army against the Barong. 

The dance is very dynamic and the music mesmerising. The masks and colourful outfits of the protagonists promise you access to a hidden, fascinating world. The expression of religion and popular traditional beliefs, Balinese take their dances seriously and there is nothing that can bring me closer to the exotic Bali island. I loved it!!

On our way to the Tegenungan Kemenuh waterfall our guide stops briefly at the Butterfly Park of Bali which is a facility that preserve rare species of this beautiful wonder: Kathrin is fascinated and seems that the butterflies like her, I don’t dare touching them (yes, I am afraid of butterflies).

The temperatures are high and combined with our fever makes us feel like zombies. We stuff in a lot of aspirin and painkillers, yet we are sleepy and we move slowly. We cannot stop now; we go further to see the promised wonder of Tegenungan – the amazing waterfall. I must say that I was disappointed . After descending couple of hundreds stairs (! I promise that was true, I didn’t imagined because of the high fever) we are in front of a waterfall indeed; the location is commercialised to the point that you can book a chaise-long and buy a drink while in your bikini – much like a beach except that seems quite inappropriate. The water is dirty – the explanation is that due to he rainy season all the dirt is moved along and reflects in the water here, the place itself is full of plastic everything and full of tourists ready to pin this location on their stupid selfies. We decide that we need to find a better one to wash the memory of this one.         

We have to stop, it’s lunch time and we are happy to stop for some reinforcements. At this point everything is quite blurry and I hope that food will help me move further. Our guide is taking us to a traditional restaurant (Sawah Indah resto Ubud) – the food is perfection and the location on a terasse that you can watch the beautiful rice fields. Meanwhile I learn from our local guide about the offerings to the Gods. The daily “chanang ” -the Balinese term- are made by women (not men) -small, square, woven baskets made from cut coconut leaves and filled with flowers – accompanied by an assortment of gifts for the Gods and topped with a single stick of incense. In their simplicity, these modest but beautifully crafted banten – offerings – encapsulate Bali’s unique expression of Hinduism. 

After lunch we move along to the Holy Spring Water Temple – it takes 40 minutes to get there, we use this time to rest,  in the car, as we get more and more tired. 

Arriving at the temple, we learn that have to wear a sarong if we want to get in: At this point, it’s only me and Kat left, Andrei capitulated and sleeps in the car. This old Temple (cca 962 AD) is, considered by the locals, the place to purify from the bad influences, to clean your body and soul with the holy spring waters that are pouring from 30 fountains. Each fountain has its own meaning – serving to a different purpose (health, soul, spirit, death and life etc). Basically you can solve everything with this one holy water. You can consider that, I am now, pure of any evil (!). The transcendental beauty of the temple is simply breathtaking, luxuriant vegetation and the ancient architecture transport me in a different dimension. Either this or the fever, is now, taking a serious toll on me.By the time we reach the rice fields i am so knocked out that I cannot see straight. In addition, a tropical rain starts and I simply cannot go further. I managed taking this picture tough – I’ll have to go back there in a sunnier day – both outside and inside my head. Good night and good bye. Namaste!

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