Thursday, October 23, 2008

From the volcano to the beach

From the Gunung Batur area I rode down to the Pura Basakih Temple. I did not enter the temple. I had worn shorts and they wanted me to rent a sarong and were just really pushy about it. I would usually just pay the money and wear the sarong but they started asking for more money to rent the sarong than the price people kept giving to buy one. The guy that was really pushy said to me “don’t disrespect our culture”. I said “I respect your culture but you are trying to take advantage of me so I don’t respect you”. The guy did not say another word to me. I have seen so many temples on this trip I really don’t mind not going into a few and I really think I surprised them by just turning around and riding away.

I just headed east from Pura Basakih sort of staying on what I thought was a back round and just enjoying some of the rice fields.

I stopped in a really small place that had a sign up for internet and checked my email. I think I really shocked the people that run the place and not sure if they had ever had a foreigner use the internet before. Not sure if I have talked about this before and if I have sorry about repeating myself but it is something I have seen all over Asia. There will be these little stands with bottles filled with fuel. I found it really funny to see all of these Jack Daniels or Jonny Walker bottles on the side of the road and really it took me a while before I figured out what was going on. Since the liquor bottles are glass and hold one liter they must be perfect for holding and measuring fuel. I ended up using these little stands a number of times riding the motorbike around Bali. It was really strange the first time trying to buy fuel but with the small tank on the bike and the amount of riding I did I used these places a large number of times. I think they charged about 1000 more per litter than the gas stations but I was a lot less concerned about the extra 10 cents per litter than about running out of fuel.

I had planned on spending the night at Tirta Gangga but when I got to this little town it was still early in the day and I was not that impressed with the look of it so kept on riding. I went up to the coast and visited the area about Ahmad. The coast here looks just beautiful.

From the prices in the guidebook and after talking to one person I thought I would not be staying in this area but figured it was worth asking a couple of places. I was just driving slowly down the road and got asked if I was looking for a room and said yes but I said I was not sure I want to pay the prices here. They told me the room is normally 300,000 but they would let me have it for 150,000. The cheaper price was without breakfast and I could not say what I was paying to any of the other guest. It was one of the nicest rooms that I have stayed at on this entire trip. A pool was right in front of my room and the ocean just on the other side of the pool.

The hotel let me use snorkeling stuff and I tried to snorkel in the water right in front of the hotel. It was sort of interesting but I am not good at snorkeling and the water was a little rough. Since the water was moving it was not really clear but what I did manage to see seemed really impressive. There was a lot of coral really close to the beach but the water was not really deep enough for me to keep away from the coral. I gave up on the snorkeling after a short time and returned to the beach.

The place I was staying was a family business and it was really interesting talking to some of the family. They seemed to be really friendly and one of the things that they told me was about their names. It seems that all children are given a name based on which child they are, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and so on. I now know my name is Mani Keith. Mani is the name always given to the 2nd child in a family.

I found the coast around Amed really pretty and rode all the way south down the coast road the following morning. Here is one of the photos I took along this spectacular drive.

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