Our afternoon tour left at 3PM and took us on about an hours drive to the interior where the sanctuary was. While the coast line of Bali is white sweaping beaches the interior is mountainous and lush. On the way our guide explained some of the aspects of the Bali culture. We passed through a number of various sized towns so were able to see much of their way of life. Unlike the rest of Indonesia, which is mainly Muslim, the main religion on Bali is Hindu. To the Balinese every living thing contains a spirit; for example if the pick a flower as an offering to the gods they first say a prayer to the flower.They are a very peaceful & quiet people that incorporate their religion into all of their daily functions. As it turned out today was the last day of the 42 days of a festival celebration so we saw some interesting sites. All along the road there were huge bamboo poles that hung out over the road, some decorated elaborately and others not. He said these had all been put up at the beginning of the celebration but would all be taken down over the next couple of days.
Every home and business has an offering temple at the entry --- here they daily put offering out for the gods to give thanks. The temples are often covered in cloth as a sign of respect to the gods. You see many of them covered in black and white checked cloth -- representing the balance between good and evil. This theme shows up frequently.Maintaining this harmony is the life work of the Balinese people. As it was the last day of the festival we saw lots of preparations for the final ceremonies about to take place. Women were carrying huge fruit sculptures on their heads to be presented at the temples and the men were in white from head to foot. It was interesting.
Along the way we also saw many displays of carvings, both wood and stone. The carvers have shops along the side of the road and there are hundreds of statues on display. Another of their well know crafts is Batik -- absolutely beautiful hand crafted works that take hours to create. We also saw a number of processions heading out to the temples for the final day of prayers and dancing for the celebration.
We arrived at the elephant sanctuary- a beautiful park like area home to a number of elephants, where we could wander about, feed the elephants, take in a demonstration and then going on a “Night Safari” riding on an elephant through the woodland area of the Sanctuary. Once the ride was finished we enjoyed a wonderful Indonesian Buffet then returned to the ship to see the end of a dance performance by some local dancers. A good day even without the beach!
Arrived in Bali early this morning. We are staying here for two days. Our tour today was supposed to be a few hours at the beach and then later on they are taking us to an Elephant Sanctuary. Missed the beach tour as we slept in and did not wake up until 5 minutes before we were supposed to leave. Oh well -- used the time to catch up on my blog and relax on the ship.