Friday, August 18, 2017

SE Asia 2017 - Day 3 (8/16/2017) - Uluwatu and Tanah Lot

Despite waking up a few hours before the scheduled meeting time (I had gone to bed early the night before and couldn't sleep any more), I was not quite ready to depart at 9am.  I asked for 15 more minutes so that I could grab a quick breakfast, and the driver graciously granted it.  It was only me and him today.  I also found out that his name was Ketut Karsa, not Wayan like I had previously thought I heard the hotel guide say the day before.  He apologized right off the bat for his supposedly bad English, but I understood pretty much everything that he said the whole day (plus I know zero Indonesian and Balinese, so I couldn't really complain).  He was pretty chatty throughout the day, which I liked because it helped give me more insight into Bali culture.

He knew that my primary destinations for the day were Pura Uluwatu and Pura Tanah Lot, and we pretty much stuck to that simple plan (the charge was Rp 900,000 for this transit plan).  We first went south to Uluwatu, arriving at 10:20am.  As he dropped me off he advised me to be careful around the monkeys on the temple grounds, as they have been known to steal tourists' hats and glasses.  I did see at least 2 monkeys with stolen sunglasses while exploring the grounds, so it was some pretty good advice.  I was on extra guard when I was near any monkeys, even taking my glasses off and holding them a couple of times (other guides provided kind warnings as well).  The monkeys were more of a nuisance than anything, though a couple of the males did provide some sketchy entertainment by "forcing themselves" on hapless female monkeys.  Besides that, the temple, cliffs, and surrounding grounds were pretty fantastic.  I walked around for a little under an hour before returning to the car to leave for Tanah Lot.

We braved the traffic back up north and arrived at Tanah Lot around 1pm, where I was pleased to find that this temple was even better.  The main temple itself is out in the water (though reachable by wading during low tide), but is still a treat to admire.  There are a couple of other smaller temples along the cliffs on the same grounds as well.  I spent about 75 minutes walking around, taking pictures, and (unsuccessfully) looking for a figurine souvenir to add to my collection.

When I eventually left and found the driver, he took me to get lunch at one of their affiliate restaurants (Warung Gueek) that looks out to some rice fields.  The view was nice, but the food I ordered was not; the Vegetable Red Thai Curry was both not very Thai and not very good.  The melon juice that I ordered to accompany it was thankfully much more palatable, though not quite stellar either.  After I ate lunch we fought through some more traffic and made it back to the hotel at 4:15pm.

I took a bit of a rest in the room, and then headed to the beach to take in the sunset on a short walk.  After that I attempted to find the restaurant that the driver had recommended to try some gado-gado.  I didn't find the place, but settled for a restaurant close to the hotel (Sendok Emas) after the greeter said that they could make me some gado-gado even though it wasn't on their menu.  The meal turned out to be pretty solid (but, then again, peanut sauce makes everything good), though the Coco Loco drink was forgettable despite being served in a young coconut.  After eating it was back to the hotel room to get ready for a super early morning trek.



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