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I have been in Bali for about a month now and somehow, I haven’t written anything about it yet. Truth is, I couldn’t move myself off the couch for long enough to come up with something interesting to say. In my imagination, I had been hoping that I would spend my days on beaches and doing beautiful day trips into the back country, which then in turn would inspire me to write about it – but reality turned out to be a bit different. In hopes of having a good enough internet connection to be able to do some much needed work, Brendan and I decided to settle down in the heart of things in the middle of Kuta, probably one of the dirtiest and most touristy towns in existence and my own personal little hell. Additionally, it rained. A lot.
Trying to escape Kuta on one of the few consistently sunny days, Brendan, Lauren and I headed out to Uluwatu on our scooters to have a look at the Hindu Sea Temple there, one of several that form a chain around the coast of Bali (Tanah Lot being another one). The Pura Luhur Uluwatu is also one of the nine directional temples of Bali, the temples that are supposed to protect the island from evil spirits are revered most by the Balinese. It is perched on the rocky cliffs of the Bukit Peninsula, 80 meters or so above the deep blue sea below.
Prepare your camera, the view alone is breathtaking and the area would even be worth a visit, if the temple wasn’t there.
Since the proper attire for the temple requires that the knees are covered, purple sarongs are handed out for free to visitors at the entrance. Additionally, a bright yellow ceremonial sash is tied around everyone’s waist. All dressed up in the vibrant fabrics, you are then allowed to enter the temple area. We visited the temple in the morning, mainly to try and escape the worst of the heat and to avoid the crowds that swarm the place during the afternoon and evenings, when the traditional dances are performed.
We did manage to escape the tourists and have the temple almost to ourselves, but the heat and humidity was ever present and clinging to our skin. As usual in Bali, the temperature rose steadily as the morning progressed, until we were absolutely drenched in sweat, baked red by the sun and in danger of fainting if we didn’t get any liquids fast. We eventually had to give up exploring in favour of heading towards the nearest restaurant. Although the temple sits high on a cliff, the air was perfectly still and all praying to the monkey gods for even the tiniest of breezes turned out to be futile.
And then there are the monkeys that infest the area. As soon as you drive into the parking lot, you can see them hanging around the perimeter, resting on trees and sitting on the walls. They look kind of cute when they are picking the fleas off each other and scratching their private parts, but as soon as you get too close, they turn into little demons from hell. As usual, I couldn’t resist trying to get that perfect picture, which – with Brendan using the zoom lens – left me trying to slowly inch closer to the monkeys with my regular lens to get a few close up shots.
My bravery rewarded me with a few beautiful photos, but soon enough, the monkey decided that it didn’t want to play model any more, bared its teeth and jumped at me. Quick reflexes and a lot of squealing saved me, while Brendan and Lauren just laughed their asses off. Usually, the monkeys seem to keep to themselves, as long as you don’t provoke them, but everyone is advised to not dangle any shiny objects in front of their eyes, since the little kleptomaniacs will snatch anything that gets too close without hesitation.
While the prayer zone was closed for visitors and the temple itself isn’t that spectacular, it was still a nice place for a little day trip. Enjoy the photos! But get yourself a cool glass of water, even the pictures are radiating heat.