Thursday, June 11, 2015

Day 13, Bali: What's a trip to Bali without a trip to the beach?

We awoke to another beautiful morning view over the rice fields.

Morning view from our upstairs verandah 
With Allie feeling much better after a good night's sleep, we decided to go ahead with plans for a day trip to East Bali, including the beach. We arranged for Dewa to meet us at 10:30.

About an hour and a half later, he dropped us at the top of the staircase for the Blue Lagoon, asking us to go down and take a look. If we didn't like it, he'd take us to a different beach. If he didn't see us come back up, then he figured he'd see us in a few hours. We liked it.

The Blue Lagoon is a quiet little cove with apparently some good snorkeling, as boats come in and out of the area and drop their snorkelers for a bit of time in the water. It's not a completely pristine beach (you'll occasionally see a little non-organic material floating in the water), but the water is crystal clear: We chose not to snorkel but did see fish just by walking out into waist-high water. We were practically the only ones there when we arrived just after noon. When we left two hours later, there were a couple of dozen people enjoying the sun and water. We watched one couple spend their entire stay at the beach posing for photos.

It was a very relaxing couple of hours (aside from the few touts selling scarves and woven bracelets), and just what we had in mind when thinking about a trip to the beach in Bali.

The Blue Lagoon...almost no one else there (except the woman at far right, who did an excessive amount of posing for her companion)
Lounging in the sand for awhile, listening to the waves 
View down on the beach from the cafe
Our second stop was the market at Klungkung, one of East Bali's biggest markets and one primarily devoted to the local textile trade. Indeed, that's what we found there (very intentionally, I might add)--textiles and some food, and not a lot of other tourists (actually, no other tourists). We could have shopped for hours, but we did make a few small purchases in our short time there. Now, what to do with those several meters of fabric....

Our final stop on the day trip was Goa Gajah ("elephant cave"), a sanctuary that dates to the 9th Century. There's a lot to see here: a cave with an elaborate elephant carving on the facade, a bathing area, some fascinatingly huge trees, and a "broken" Buddha temple at the bottom of the valley. There was also a woman hawking cold drinks, including bottles of Bintang, from a cooler alongside the staircase down to the Buddha temple. We thought that was a little odd. I mean, you probably won't find anyone selling Nastro Azzuro inside St. Peter's.

Mouth of the elephant cave 
Just a small part of the roots of a seriously old and large tree 
A better look at the roots of one of the trees 
The Buddha temple down many steps in the valley; a "volunteer" there told us it was "broken"
Back in Ubud, we contemplated all the possibilities for dinner and decided Thai food sounded good. We'd seen an interesting Thai restaurant several nights before. It was a bit of a hike, but we found Warung Siam, slipped into a table, and proceeded to have one of the best meals of our entire trip--several beers, a green papaya salad appetizer, and three entrees for the grand total of about $16. Outstanding choice!

Red curry with pumpkin at Warung Siam
Our nightcap of liquid dessert at a bar along Monkey Forest Road cost more but was still enjoyable, with a front-row seat on the live music right across the street.

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