Gunung Kawi was not too far anyway down the road, “The Mountain of the Poets” is a much more different affair drenched in history and myth
. 315 steps lead you down through rice fields and jungle to a large ravine of where the temple site had been cut out of the rock. Inside lies the burial temple of King Anak Wungsu and his four wives who would have thrown themselves onto his burning pyre as he was cremated, now thats what i call a funeral!
One thing that strikes me of the people here is that they are extremely conscience to keep things clean, i mean they may be a little ram shackled and tatty some of the places but there is always someone there to keep them neat. There are so many offerings left that they must be tidied at one point or they will simply rot to compost but you rarely see anything like that. Gunung was no exception with people working away at the early hours keeping all things shipshape even to the point that the leaves were swept away. It was said that a hermit lived at Yeh Pulu, the place we visited yesterday, in a cave just to keep the place neat and tidy, i mean that is some peoples life to give all to the faith.
At 11 we were back on the bus heading down to Pandanbai on the coast line to where we were greeting by the usual swarms of hawkers as we got off the bus offering us rooms at "special prices". I am not sure if it is human nature or just that people take time to trust again if they have been stitched up in the past, which is inevitable, as these guys usually get no one interested at the station, even if they end up there in the end anyway i think people just like to have a look around at the options first not trusting things on face value. In fact the only place where it did work was Argentina where they would meet you and offer you not only a room but a meal and taxi ride there with a welcome drink, these balenise should take a leaf from the argis if they want to get a slice of the backpacker action
. I mean its not being rude but sometimes you can end up in some right shit holes if you are not careful, with people just putting a shower head, make shift toilet and bed in a sweat pit of a room and charge you for the pleasure... i am not exaggerating that much believe me we have stayed in such places in cental america and i think i still have the mosquito scars. So during one of our reccy missions through the town lugging our back and front packs around in the heat we heard the familiar accent of “perdidos?¨ as a Spanish guy asked us if we were lost. Fernado was there with his girlfriend Pepi travelling around Indonesian Islands. They were were as spanish as you could get with a sharp sense of humour, happy go lucky outlook and knew how to tell a good story. We ended up having something to eat with them as looked after out bags so we could secure a room. They had been in Asia for about five weeks and were now travelling Bali after being in the philopeans and malasia. Fernados luggage had not arrived with him and had been forced to wear clothes from the street vendors that were either two big for him of clung to him in spray on fashion. At the time he had a almost ponco type tye - die t shirt with "Bali" emblazoned over the back and some very figure hugging shorts that forced him to curse every now then every time he had to readjust himself ¨joder macho!” It would have been nice if they were staying in the area but they had an hotel about 20 kms to the north so when it looked as if it was about to rain they headed off but leaving us with their contact details for the next time that we were in their home time of Almeria. or even on the rest of our trip as they planned to head to back up to Thailiand of were they had enjoyed it the most something we are getting used to hearing.
The hotel we found was pretty nice with a big terrace over looking the ocean so we chilled on there for a while as the daily storm passed, watching the world go by with a hindu give doing his daily prayers below us and some street kids trying to get a cock fight going on, which appears to be quite the sport out here
. In the afternoon i went to check out the ferries for the next day over to Lombok and also the hidden beach that the guide suggested. The beach was pretty nice with white sands and light blue ocean in the shallow areas but was slightly detracted from by the large construction site that was happening behind it, clearly building the next super resort to look down on it. Its a sad yet inevitable site in an area such as this and almost ironic as the local village you have to pass through to get there is so far away from what is going to be it makes you wonder how the locals feel towards it all. I tried to speak to one in his little shop that he had infront of his house as i walked back into town but as ever the theme was treated in the balienese way, with a smile. Its hard to work out if i should envy or pity him?
We had the bike until 9 so to take advantage i wanted to squeeze in another temple as i was getting well in the mood. We ended up getting two as we took a wrong turn so we saw Tirta Empul and Gunung Kawi. The first was another holy place with a natural spring said to have healing powers. Set over three large court yard surrounded by shrines and statues lie two pools which were the best i have seen. The water was crystal clear and had petals floating on the top from all the offerings that were laid around. The many spouts are each said to have different "powers" with one being for spiritual purification and so on. There were several people bathing and i wish that i had my bathers to join them having not planned to visit the place and a didnt need that much purification in the buff. .