Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could have been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here:
Sana, one of the young guys who work at Wawa Wewe II, offered me a ride inside the motorcycle Amed area on Friday. On the program: rice fields, temples, markets and ... cockfighting (yes, I went back to an arena of gallinaceans, like in the Phillippines !).
Rice fields and market
So here we go, under a gray sky, to the heights. For the first time since my arrival, it is a little less beautiful. But it's not bad for driving.
It's amazing, just dig a few miles inland to find yourself in a greener, more humid area. With pretty rice terraces, bits of fresh and lush forest.
First stop and detour to start on the road to Tulamben, to refuel at the gas station (the liter of gasoline here is currently 6000Rp, about 0.42 euro cents, which is huge for Indonesians, they also saw prices at the pump fly, there were even big demonstrations in Jakarta because of the price of oil, in short ...).
Second stop at the Culik market where I buy a scarf belt, to go with the sarong that I will have to bring to the temple. People are, as always, very nice and laugh when I draw my camera to shine on their stalls.
Prayer at Pura Lempuyang
We stop first at Pura Lempuyang, actually made up of two temples, a little one with just a sacred pond and a big one with huge stairs adorned with dragons.
On a clear day, the view must be spectacular. Unfortunately, with all these clouds, difficult to appreciate the panorama at its true value.
We knot the sarongs. Then I imitate Sana, who buys offerings, and lights the sticks of incense.
Once sitting cross-legged in front of, uh ... the altar, with your hands turned to the sky, you have to take a flower three times in another small basket of offerings at our feet, make a small circular gesture, then lay the petals in the hair, then behind both ears. After that, pause time, clasped hands, for a prayer. Then we get sprinkled with water ... uh, blessed, by the priest on duty, all dressed in white.
We finish the prayer by having water poured on our hands, which we must drink or pretend to drink, three times, then sticking grains of rice on the forehead and the temples.
Even if it does not have great significance for me, I enjoyed it, this little time of prayer in this great quasi-desert temple. On the way, we met only Balinese in sarong, with their offerings. Not a single pale face.
Lunch and shopping in Amlapura
Lunch break at the marketAmlapura (26 000 Rp for two, less than 2 €!). I also take the opportunity to change my euros to a better exchange rate here, because it is the big city of the region. Here I am again millionaire in rupees!
Small shopping stop at the market, then the big supermarket of the corner, Harry's, where I slam a few tens of thousands of rupees (in fact, € 5) for a jacket and a pair of new flip flops ...
Sana took the opportunity to flirt with the girls on the parking lot, with an unstoppable tactic: direct exchange of mobile numbers with the promise of SMS.
At the age of 21, my young guide explained to me in his approximate English that his friends are making fun of him, because he was dumped by his previous girl ... It is therefore necessary at all costs that he found another, quickly!
The palace of Tirta Gangga
We take the road to visit then, a few kilometers away, the water palace of Ujung, built around 1920 by the last king of Karangasem.
There are few people, just a few Asian tourists and locals. It is an amazing building by the sea, in the middle of a large park with pretty lotus basins, soothing.
Then we stop at this other palace, not far from there, built by the same king, much more frequented and better known, the palace of Tirta Gangga(photo opposite).
I already knew him, having visited him during a previous stay in Bali. It's a bit of the must-see site in the area.
The place, certainly very touristy, is really pretty and rather pleasant. I am delighted to rediscover it. I particularly like the big pool filled with huge fish, which we cross by jumping from slab to slab.
A little fight of roosters?
Finally, Sana can hardly believe me when I tell him that the Filipinos, like the Balinese, enjoy the cockfights a lot and organize lots of them. And they bet too? But yes but yes !
Same scenario as in Siquijor, Philippines (read: The roosters are fighting on Sunday, last February article). Only men around the little arena clay and everyone who gets excited at the time of paris.
Sana put a few thousand rupees, which he will obviously lose ... He is disappointed. He thought that my presence would bring him luck.
Stroll along the coastal road
The next day, I go explore alone on my bike the beautiful little coastal road to the south. With each lace, from the top of a promontory, we discover a new cove of black sand, with its small boats lined up, and the sea, as far as the eye can see ... It's beautiful, it's beautiful! I then stray far beyond the village of Aas, long after the scrap lighthouse, far down the road, somewhere between Seraya and Ujung.
Wherever I go, I am still the Queen of England, greeted and enthusiastically challenged by the locals. "Hello, mister! Hello, mister! " (In Indonesia, all foreigners are given "mister", whether they are men or women.) I distribute small gestures to the right and to the left, as I know how to do so well, and I continue on my way.
Just before a rickety bridge, vague imitation of that of the river Kwai, I opt for the small road on the left, which goes down to the "Pantai", the beach, affirms a guy to whom I ask my way. And I discover there, down a tiny village full of goats, cows and children, a village where no one speaks English, a beautiful, perfect beach. A bow of black sand, real sand, without any stones in it, surrounded by small cliffs.
There are the fishing boats, and a busy family emptying the nets, watching me curiously. The exchange will be limited, given the small extent of my Bahasa Indonesia. The teenager who puts the net in the big bag that holds him two little children speaks English as badly as me Indonesian.
Discharged batteries ... no pictures!
I take a long break on this beautiful beach, which is called Pantai Soan or Sohang, I do not know. I transcribe approximately the name given to me by the teenager of the fishing family ... This beautiful beach, from where you can see both the Lombok Islands and the two Nusa (Lembongan and Penida), well, I can not even show it to you! I ran out of batteries!
The spare batteries I took were unloaded. And in the area, not a warung had no batteries other than those cursed local ABC batteries, not powerful enough for my camera.
Never mind. If one day you follow me like this splendid little coastal road, fork off the yellow scrap bridge, follow the bad road with little speed, hurry to the children, do not crush the hens and stop at height a flight of steps on your right. It's here.
Update from 19.08.2009 & #160 ;: Discover images of this beach (Pantai Songean, his real name) in this article, posted a year later: → Bali: they found "my" beach