_My belated Indonesia travelogue continues…_
We took two “tours” of Bali. The first one was organized by a commercial venture.
2552We were picked up at our hotel in the morning, and together with perhaps a dozen other tourists were driven around the island. First stop was a temple dance, at which we arrived a little late and thus didn’t have seats. Which was just as well; sitting down we would not have seen much. For my Indonesian hosts, this was a pretty boring piece, I think, and I must admit that I had the impression that there must be nicer examples of this kind of thing. The archetype would be cute girls doing these dances at night with a fire or torches providing the light.
Anyway, after the show we got routed through the souvenir shop and of course had to deal with the [street vendors](/2006/07/26/balinese-street-vendors/) as we tried to get back to the bus.
The bus drove on for a bit. The guide did talk a bit about Bali, I think, but it was in Indonesian, so the content was lost on me. The next stop needed no explanation. It was a souvenir shop. Hm. Well, the guides probably get a cut of the profits from any tourists they drop off here. And there were many more street vendors here as well who all sold the same stuff as the guys at the dance temple.
On the tour went, through the Balinese countryside. This was the interesting part for me, just to look out and see what the land’s like. Eventually the guides drove us up on some mountain, where we had the opportunity to fight our way through – you guessed it – more street vendors to a buffet lunch.
2573The next stop was finally very interesting, another temple. Sure, sure, stereotypical. But it’s what you got to go to see when you’re on Bali. This one had pretty neat ancient trees – and a volcanic spring which is supposed to have healing powers. We had to wear colorful sashes to enter the temple premises; it might sound odd but it’s really no different then getting out of your shoes or covering your head. The whole place was quite serene and beautiful, and I even succeeded at not to take any photos of the people who went to bathe in the miracle spring. When we finally left we were piloted through – you guessed it – a small village of tents that had been set up after the exit, and where the locals again tried to sell us goods.
The final stop was really no different. It was a sort of flea market, full of a huge crowd of people, where all kinds of tacky goods were offered (especially big, weird looking paintings). Even my Indonesian hosts, who had responded with the patience of a rock when confronted by the streets vendors, didn’t like this place. We ended up waiting in a way too hot bus until we were finally taken back to the hotel.
In retrospective, the trip wasn’t worth it at all. We had to pay the guys who drove us to touristy spots that were prepared to rip off, I mean, lighten the financial burden of the tourists. It wasn’t relaxing, it wasn’t really fun, and the only bit I did like was that spring temple. In the end, we ended up renting a chauffer and car for a day for our next excursion, something that proved to be a much better deal. But I’ll post about that trip in my next travel update.